Former U.S. president Bill Clinton is winning the war against cardiovascular disease after losing 30 pounds on a vegan diet, ABC News reported.
“His doctor told him that his heart today is much younger than it was even 10 years ago,” said Bill's daughter, Chelsea Clinton. "He’s probably the world’s most famous vegan. He walks four times a week diligently wherever he is in the world."
Clinton, 67, began following a vegan diet in 2011 after undergoing heart surgery in 2010. Bill, who has a family history of cardiovascular disease, underwent a quadruple heart-bypass surgery in 2004 and in 2010 had two stents placed in his coronary artery.
The surgeries led to a dietary epiphany when the former president realized that his poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyle had ruined his health.
Clinton isn't a strict vegan because he occasionally has organic salmon and eggs, but his daily diet is largely plant-based. After changing his diet, he also began exercising daily, and now walks two or three miles a day, lifts weights and plays golf.
The 6-foot-2 Bill said his vegan diet is responsible for his 30-pound weight loss and his boundless energy. He said eliminating animal protein from his diet was surprisingly easy.
Clinton's veganism has inspired other celebrities to embrace a plant-based diet, including actress Michelle Pfeiffer and "MSNBC" host Al Sharpton, who has lost 176 pounds. Bill, who was addicted to fast food for decades, said being healthy is a reward onto itself, but also a gift we give to those we love.
"A lot of people who are busy and stressed feel that eating and being comfortable is their reward, [but] you have a responsibility to try to be as healthy as possible [for your family]," he said.
Clinton's improved heart health on a vegan diet is not surprising to medical experts like Dr. David Katz, author of Disease-Proof. “If you shift to a diet more about plant-based foods, you are likelier to live healthier and experience less chronic disease," said Dr. Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center.
Dr. Neal Barnard, author of 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, agrees. "A vegan diet takes care of most of what we need to do [to stay healthy]," said Dr. Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.