All you need to know about the Ornish diet

What is the Ornish diet? The Ornish diet is a holistic plan that was created by Dr. Dean Ornish; a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California and the founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute. This diet was developed with the goal of helping people become healthy by adopting healthy habits, instead of making drastic changes to their lifestyle. It is a comprehensive diet that includes necessary nutrients, filling meals, and excludes harmful foods. The plan also promotes regular exercise to optimize the overall health. About the diet The Ornish diet encourages people to eat more fruits, vegetables, lentils, and beans. While following it, the person is supposed to avoid eating an excessive quantity of fatty foods and stick to healthier options. People are advised to stop consuming meat (both red and white), and also to stay away from processed foods. Regular dairy products are replaced with low-fat or non-dairy products, and refined carbohydrates are replaced with whole-grain options. It is advisable to eat smaller quantities of meals at frequent intervals. Alcohol consumption and smoking are not recommended.

The focus of the diet Unlike most diets, the focus here is on more than just losing weight. The motive of the diet is to help people achieve complete physical wellness. Dr. Ornish describes the goal as “feel better, live longer, lose weight, and gain health”. The idea is that there are no “good foods” and “bad foods”, and it’s the moderation that matters. Another main focus of the diet is maintaining heart health. If the diet is followed meticulously, you can also succeed in reversing heart diseases. Exercise Following the diet is a major part of the plan, but is insufficient for holistic improvement. Dr. Ornish states that regular exercise is compulsory. You have to exercise for 30 minutes, six days a week or for 60 minutes, three days a week. Stress is another major factor in disturbing the physical as well as mental wellness. Dr. Ornish suggests people take up yoga and meditation to control stress. Pros 

  • The diet provides the right amount of fiber, fruits, and vegetables that adults might have been missing out on in their regular diets.
  • The plan suggests a lower consumption of sodium — which is good for weight loss and maintaining normal blood pressure levels.
  • Better bone strength is developed from eating foods high in minerals and low in acid.
  • Habits such as alcohol consumption and smoking are brought under control.


  • The diet can be hard to stick to as it limits the consumption of certain foods that most people are used to.
  • The diet restricts the consumption of nuts and seeds. Doing so will prevent the body from receiving the required amount of omega-3 fatty acids which are essential.

The Ornish diet is as healthy and balanced as diets can get. The biggest advantage is that there are multiple plans within the diet that people can choose from, according to their needs. You may not experience drastic weight loss, but following the diet guarantees a healthier and a more proactive lifestyle.