Have you had a blood test recently and were surprised to learn your cholesterol was high? Are you concerned at how elevated your blood pressure reading was at your last doctor's appointment? Sure, you say to yourself, your diet isn’t perfect. And those numbers have been creeping up lately, so it isn’t exactly a huge surprise, but still, it is a shock to finally hear it.
Your doctor probably offered some advice about cutting back on certain foods like butter, ice cream, cheese and meat, and lowering your salt intake. Most likely medication was discussed. This is how it usually starts. But how it ends is up to you.
A diagnosis of high cholesterol or high blood pressure is a serious issue. It reflects an elevated risk for heart attack and stroke. It is a warning sign and should not be ignored. But medication is not the only answer. It is not even a very effective answer.
Nutrition is the Prescription
My approach to lowering high cholesterol and hypertension is nutritional therapy, not medication. Focus your diet on nutrient-dense plant foods like colorful vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and fruit. Reversing your high cholesterol and high blood pressure through nutrition is more than 100 times more effective at preventing future heart attacks and strokes compared to drugs. Nutrient-dense eating does more than address one or two heart disease risk factors (unlike taking a cholesterol-lowering medication, or one or more drugs to lower blood pressure). It addresses the root causes of those risk factors and starts reversing your high blood pressure and cholesterol and healing your blood vessels immediately.
For example, the inner lining of the blood vessels become less inflamed, the vessel walls become more elastic, and more oxygenated blood is able to fill the coronary arteries better. And critical to your life, your LDL cholesterol is no longer oxidized which leads to artery-clogging plaque formation.
A nutrient-dense, plant-rich or Nutritarian diet floods the body with antioxidants that radically lower oxidized LDL so that you become resistant to heart disease, diabetes and cancer. It also improves your immune function thereby giving you protection against dangerous infections.
A diet comprised of nutrient-dense foods fills you up, leaving little room or desire for foods of lower nutritional value. This type of diet yields many other benefits, too, including sustainable weight loss and an ability to improve your overall health and increase your life expectancy.
This method has been proven to be the most effective. A study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine showed dramatic reductions in weight, cholesterol and blood pressure for those following these recommendations. It also demonstrated the reversal of advanced heart disease. Respondents who were not taking cholesterol-lowering medication experienced an average 42 mg/dl decrease in LDL cholesterol. Those who were hypertensive had a 26 mm Hg average reduction in systolic blood pressure.1
A 20-Day Plan to Address Elevated Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
Yes, a diagnosis of high blood pressure or high cholesterol can be surprising. After all, these are typically symptomless conditions. But it is important to normalize your readings to prevent serious future health problems. Nutritional therapy can lower high cholesterol in less than three weeks.2 You might question why you haven’t heard of this before. Although this type of therapy is highly effective, it is largely ignored because it is not as easy as taking a pill.
I know making a radical change in your diet can be challenging. So I developed a guide to help make it easier. Transformation 20 explains how to significantly lower your blood pressure and cholesterol in 20 days without drugs. It isn’t so much a 20-day diet, but a new lifestyle plan. If you strictly follow my meal plans you will reset your palate to savor the natural flavors of real food, making junk foods less appealing. It is a sustainable, sensible plan. And it is effective. It will restore your health and help you to lose weight. It is meant to be a start to a new lifestyle of thoughtful eating.
Following my guidelines will help you drastically reduce processed foods and animal products from your diet and replace those calories with more vegetables, beans, fruits, nuts and seeds. But it is anything but boring. My recipes include delicious meals such black bean and butternut squash chili, and a bean enchilada bake. Terrific soups like spicy corn and red pepper, and herbed split pea. I give you better-than-ordinary breakfasts, from quinoa breakfast pudding to scrambled oats. I also include an assortment of drink and dessert recipes that are healthful yet satisfy.
The Only Thing You Need is Commitment
The Transformation 20 plan is a quick guide to get you started. It includes meal plans, shopping lists, recipes and a support group through access to a private Facebook page to interact with others following the plan. Use Transformation 20 to begin the process of changing your diet. The full program, the science behind its effectiveness, the full details of my Nutritarian method and more recipes and meal plans can be found in my book The End of Heart Disease.
By focusing on nutrient-dense, plant-rich eating, you will see a radical improvement in your health. All you need is the commitment to see it through. You will find in Transformation 20 that most decisions about what you eat are made for you – which is easier since there is no room for error. The most important decision, though, is yours alone: The first step. That is up to you.
1.Fuhrman J, Singer M. Improved Cardiovascular Parameter With a Nutrient-Dense, Plant-Rich Diet-Style: A Patient Survey With Illustrative Cases. Am J Lifestyle Med 2015.
2.Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Popovich DG, et al. Effect of a very-high-fiber vegetable, fruit, and nut diet on serum lipids and colonic function. Metabolism 2001, 50:494-503.