Before I became a physician, I was a chemist. And in chemistry, one of the most important things is oxidation and oxidative damage. And when we look at biochemistry, aging is basically progressive oxidative damage. And when you have a diet that's rich in chemicals that increase oxidative damage, you're going to age faster, but more importantly, your arteries are going to have progressive buildup of plaque because plaque progression is mainly driven by oxidative damage. This is why a diet rich in antioxidants reduces that oxidative damage and prevents plaque progression or plaque onset. For example, the Mediterranean diet is rich in antioxidants. That's why when you see a person from Mediterranean that eats healthy, that doesn't smoke, which actually increases oxidative damage, they tend to look younger and more healthy. And a diet rich in antioxidants has been shown to reduce onset of recurrent heart attacks in patients that have already had a heart attack. So that's why diet is an important mechanism for patients to prevent heart disease.
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