If you're familiar with Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., world famous and renowned author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, then you're familiar with the term "edothelial cells" and the role these cells play in the prevention of heart disease. The video below is a two-minute clip from the powerful documentary Forks Over Knives.
Scientists discovered in 1988 that these cells manufacture an important gas called "nitric oxide." This gas keeps our blood flowing smoothly; preventing it from becoming sticky. Additionally, nitric oxide is also responsible for dilating constricted blood vessels during physical activity and protects against the formation of plaque. Scientific studies confirm that consuming the typical American diet damages our endothelial cells. Dr. Esselstyn adds, "Nitric oxide is a "powerful force that eliminates inflammation that is associated with arterial plaque. After many decades of slaughtering our endothelial cells with the typical American diet, we don't have 6-8 tennis courts worth of cells when we reach our 40's-50's and 60's. We may be down to 1-1/2 or perhaps 2." The few cells that are left are no longer able to protect us. However, the moment we stop consuming foods which injure these cells, we not only stop the damage, we can reverse the damage as well.
The health and performance of our endothelial cells is determined by the types of food that we eat. High-fat meals containing meat, dairy, refined vegetable oils and processed sugars damage these cells and promote inflammation. Damage can occur to the vessels after consuming just a single high-fat meal. Consequently, blood vessels are vulnerable to spasm, and can become inflexible and/or paralyzed, which impairs the flow of oxygenated blood. This condition can last for 6 or more hours.
Dr. Esselstyn conducted a 20-year ground-breaking study on 17 patients who had advanced coronary artery disease. The results from his study clearly demonstrate that heart disease is reversible when following an aggressive diet and lifestyle program. It must be remembered though, that the benefits received by using a nutritional approach are directly proportional to the changes that are made. Making only small changes, while continuing to eat injurious foods will not offer any significant protection.
The clip below explains how diet "produces actual reversal of heart disease; something that medication and surgery has never been able to do." The biological mechanism that's responsible for heart disease reversal centers on a single-cell, one-layer thick lining consisting of endothelial cells. These cells cover the interior portion of our veins and arteries. Dr. Esselstyn calls these cells the "absolute life jackets of our blood vessels." He says that if we spread these cells out end to end, (when we are young and healthy) we would be able to cover the area equivalent to 6 to 8 tennis courts.
(2) Save Your Endothelial Cells (Animated 5-minute video)