"The Heart Health Bible" is by John M. Kennedy, M.D.

Editor's note: This is one of several cookbooks and other informational books that cater to specific medical issues have crossed our desks recently. While books like these can help supplement a diet or treatment, they should be coupled with the advice of medical professionals.

"THE HEART HEALTH BIBLE," by John M. Kennedy, DaCapo Press, $15, 286 pages (nf)

John M. Kennedy, a clinical associate professor of cardiology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, feels passionate about educating people about heart disease prevention. His new book, “The Heart Health Bible,” introduces a five-step plan that focuses on preventing heart disease and related illnesses.

The book presents Kennedy's acronym "H-E-A-R-T "(Heal your blood pressure, Energize your heart, Act on fat, Reduce blood sugar and Tackle triglycerides), which is his plan to make lifestyle changes that will prevent heart disease and improve overall health. The book is organized into three parts — a two-chapter introduction and then seven chapters that present the H-E-A-R-T plan. The final section offers chapters on helping children have healthy hearts and maintaining a healthy-heart lifestyle. Both chapters are particularly helpful for parents or spouses of those suffering from heart disease.

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Kennedy certainly knows his medicine. Each chapter is replete with citations of studies and descriptions of procedures, and the book contains several pages of references and notes, as well as an index. He engages the reader by presenting patient case studies that correlate with the information presented. Several of the patients presented are young and seem relatively healthy. Their personal stories are a wake-up call and make the book approachable for the lay reader.

The H-E-A-R-T plan is simple to follow and remember. After an initial read-through, this "bible" is meant to be used as a reference. Readers might find it useful as a workbook of sorts, referencing chapters that focus on each step of the healing process.

Amy M. Peterson, a former high school English teacher, currently lives in Oregon with her husband and four children. She spends her days writing, reading, exercising and trying to get her family to eat more vegetables.