The 4 Key Elements of Ornish Lifestyle Medicine™ Explained


heart healthy dietHeart disease is the leading cause of death across the globe, but in many cases, it can be prevented by making positive lifestyle changes.

The focus of the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine™ program is to help men and women adopt and sustain heart-healthy lifestyle habits to significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by optimizing these four key elements.

1. Nutrition

Developing a heart-healthy diet consists of much more than simply counting calories. In fact, Ornish Lifestyle Medicine does not recommend specific calorie restrictions, but rather focuses on three important aspects of your diet:

  • Whole foods, including high-fiber whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts and lentils
  • Plant-based, which reduces cholesterol
  • Low-fat, with only 10 percent of your daily calories coming from fat

2. Exercise

No matter your starting fitness level, Ornish program exercises can be custom-tailored to meet your needs and help you get on the right track to a healthy heart. This program encourages participants to get 20 to 60 minutes of exercise most days of the week, gradually working up to exercising at least 3 hours per week.

[quote]Ornish Lifestyle Medicine fosters a friendly, supportive environment to help you reach your fitness goals.[/quote]

3. Stress Management

Chronic stress can lead to heart disease and other health complications. Thus, learning to better cope with stress is an important element of the Ornish program, which uses yoga-based meditative and breathing exercises to reduce stress.

4. Support System

Everyone needs a little encouragement and emotional support, especially when striving to make significant changes to their lifestyle and overall health.

Through the Ornish program, participants are connected with a network of others who share similar goals, which can have a positive impact on not only your heart health, but also your emotional well-being and quality of life.