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New York State hospitals must now make plant-based meals available to patients upon request, thanks to a law that goes into effect on Dec. 6.

The law helps reinforce advice that I give my patients every day: Eating more fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans can help prevent and, in many cases, reverse heart disease.

This lifesaving law supports calls from both the American Medical Association and the American College of Cardiology for plant-based hospital meals. The American Heart Association also recommends “eating a mostly plant-based diet, provided the foods you choose are rich in nutrition and low in added sugars, sodium (salt), cholesterol and artery-clogging saturated and trans fats.”

As the director of Cardiovascular Prevention for Northwell Health and the director of the Women’s Heart Program at Lenox Hill Hospital, I couldn’t agree more and know that the need to educate patients on the role nutrition plays in preventing and recovering from heart disease is critical.

Nearly 5 million adults statewide have high blood pressure, with more than a quarter taking medication to control it. More than a third of New Yorkers who have had their cholesterol checked have high cholesterol. And both of these conditions contribute to 40 percent of all deaths statewide from cardiovascular disease.

Patients may be advised to eat a whole plant-based diet by the more enlightened doctors but may not be willing to change their eating habits, at least in the hospital environment they will find it easier to accept as they don’t have to prepare their own food.