Changing the conversation about health

DEAN ORNISH: ‘We should remember that simple lifestyle changes can be as effective as advances in medicine…’

Dean Ornish, a clinical professor in medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute, has been speaking about the role that easy-to-implement lifestyle changes can play in preventing disease.  

Dr Dean Ornish, a clinical professor in medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, says decades of research is proving how lifestyle changes can prevent disease

Speaking on streaming channel HealthFlix, in an episode entitled ‘The Transformative Power of Lifestyle Medicine’, Ornish said people look too often to scientific advances rather than the more simple solutions that are often easier to implement.’

He said: ‘We often tend to think of advances in medicine as a new drug, a new laser or something really high-tech and expensive.

A whole food, plant-based diet that is low in sugar and fat can contribute towards a healthier lifestyle, alongside other factors including stress reduction and exercise

‘We often have a hard time believing that these simple changes in lifestyle, such as what we eat, how we respond to stress, how much exercise we get and how much love and support we have, can have a big effect.

‘Eat well, move more, stress less and love more – boom, that’s it.’

Speaking on how to eat well to prevent disease, Ornish said: ‘Eat a whole foods plant-based diet that’s predominantly fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes in their natural forms, that is low in fat and sugar.’

The US-based doctor said decades of research had shown how important a healthy lifestyle is.

‘The more diseases we study and the more underlying biological mechanisms we look at, the more scientific evidence we have to show what a powerful difference these changes can make and how quickly people can feel better in ways that really matter.’

‘Over the years we found that these same lifestyle changes could reverse a wide variety of chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hyper-tension (high blood pressure), elevated cholesterol levels and obesity.’