By Janet Bond Brill, PhD, RD, LDN
Three Rivers Press (2011)
Reviewed by Ximena Jimenez, MS, RD, LDN
If you're one of the 13 million Americans who have survived a heart attack or been diagnosed with heart disease, Janet Bond Brill offers a delicious and foolproof plan that can lower your risk of a second heart attack by up to 70 percent.
Synopsis of the Diet Plan
Brill bases her book on the prominent Mediterranean diet, a gold standard and favorite of registered dietitians. In addition to the diet, she promotes exercise combined with smoking cessation, weight control and medication as the top techniques to prevent a second heart attack.
The book is primarily written for those who want to learn the risk factors, development and treatment of heart disease. She discusses eight super foods from the diet; extra virgin olive oil, green vegetables, figs/other fruits, lentils/other legumes, salmon/other seafood, walnuts/flaxseed, oatmeal/other whole grains, red wine and dark chocolate. By including these foods in your diet and limiting saturated fat, trans fat and dietary cholesterol, you will defend your heart.
The author makes distinctions between different types of red wine, olive oil and dark chocolate that one should buy to obtain the most health benefits. She emphasizes moderation with red wine and mentions instances when alcohol could cause more harm than good. In addition, the book includes a 14-day meal plan and healthy recipes with a nutritional fact panel counting calories, fat and sodium, among other nutrients.
Nutritional Pros and Cons
Brill's book is not another fad diet. It is for individuals who want to understand the progress of heart disease and execute lifestyle changes to prevent a second heart attack. To make her point, Brill incorporates pictures and illustrations to make clear how atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease develop. Her recommendations are not about nutritional deprivation; they are about selecting foods wisely and improving one’s health. Her nutritional advice to improve cholesterol levels, blood pressure and health in general is based on strong scientific evidence.
I would recommend Prevent a Second Heart Attack for consumers as well as health-care professionals. It has many medical references, illustrations and graphics, making it a great resource. The recipes may not be for every reader, but for the health-conscious and adventurous individual, it might be appealing.