This editorial marks a milestone in medical thinking and is highly significant. It stresses without equivocation that, contrary to popular opinion, faulty diet and not stress is the major cause of heart and blood vessel diseases.
Diet is certainly the main factor in achieving protection or in predisposing to early disability or death from clots in veins and from clots and plaques in arteries, the editorial states.
The editorial does not minimise the effect of stress in these diseases. It makes it clear, however, that while stress can cause a great deal of damage to those whose diet is rich in saturated fat, cholesterol, and alcohol, it has little or no effect if the diet is poor in animal fat.
Continuing further, the editorial points out'-that stress hastens the use of ascorbic acid (depleting the system of this essential vitamin), that it lowers resistance to infection, and that it leads to the accumulation of cholesterol and other fatty substance that damage the walls of the blood vessels and cause the formation of clots in the veins and arteries.
It accelerates the progress of a disorder, it may make the difference between latent and lethal [deadly] manifestations of many diseases, but it is not the cause of any of them, is the way the editorial finally puts it. It should be some consolation to those who like their work and its rewards more than they do ice-cream, butter, and eggs, that frustration may do them no harm if they can learn to live on fish, lean meat, fruit and the low calorie vegetables.
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For those who have or who dread heart disease, it would seem that avoiding food which nature provides for infants, calves, and embryonic birds might be far more effective than tranquilisers, or slinking out of the race, unexercised and unbreathed‚ in an attempt to avoid frustrations.
This merely confirms that a well-regulated, wholesome nutritional program is the prime requisite for protection against heart and blood vessel diseases. It does not condone or minimise the effect of stress; nor does it write off the effect of any of the other harmful influences such as the use of tobacco, alcoholic beverages, etc. It leaves no doubt, however, as to the role that nutrition plays in the onset of these diseases.