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Source: ISTOCK

NYC's New Plant-Based Medicine Program Is Healing High Cholesterol and Obesity With More Plants and Less Medicine

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"Every single piece of fruit and vegetables is like medicine." Just listening to Dr. Sapana Shah share her philosophy on the medicinal powers of produce is enough to make any kid (or adult) want to eat more fruit and veggies. Dr. Shah is one of four lifestyle medicine physicians working at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue's Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program, where she specializes in the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases with one prescription: plants. Green Matters recently spoke with Dr. Shah over the phone to learn more about the program, which is the first of its kind to be instituted at a public hospital in the U.S.

Bellevue, the country's oldest public hospital, formally launched the Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program in mid-January. According to its website, the program is open to people living with: type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, excess weight, and heart disease. Over the course of the program, patients meet with three professionals: a physician, a dietician, and a health coach. Since the program kicked off in January, 64 patients have enrolled.