I was diagnosed with a heart valve problem late last year and also with 2 out of 3 coronary arteries being blocked by 20%. The latter was not enough for the specialists to intervene but a wake up call for me! One cardiologist wanted me to lower my cholesterol levels  through medication. When I said to him I would like to try it through diet the answer was: "That is not easy, I wish you good luck".  I really had the idea that there should be a natural way through diet.

Seven months later my conclusion is that a vegetable based diet very low in fats with some grains and legumes is at least as good as being on statins for both the cholesterol level and protection against heart attacks. Taking the side effects into account, I think it is actually much better since the side effects of a healthy diet are much more far reaching than heart disease. Hence I’m no longer using statins and the cardiologist is quite happy with my cholesterol levels.

Apart from achieving good cholesterol levels, improved energy, much better skin and a clearer head, I discovered that the rates of heart disease, strokes, diabetes type 2, cancer and even autoimmune diseases like arthritis, lupus, MS, Crohn’s and more are actually heavily influenced by what we eat. Strangely enough this does not seem common knowledge, not among our specialists either. Currently it is not reflected in our dietary guidelines.'

Update after 14 months on the low fat plant based diet, avoiding all processed foods:  My total cholesterol has come down by 27%, the LDL by 38% without any medication (total/LDL was 5.3/3.4 on 1 Sept 2012 mmol/l = 205/131 mg/dl and on 6/11/2013 this was 3.9/2.1 mmol/l or 151/81 mg/dl); my dry and cracked sometimes bleeding skin is gone; my excess weight has come down about 7 kg. I feel good and energetic and never hungry. I know that salicylates affect me with IBS and severe amplification of feelings, so now I eat any veg but stay away from fruits and garlic and that seems to be OK for me.

 -  Peter, by email. See the full story at http://users.tpg.com.au/freestro/The_Ideal_Diet.pdf