I have high diastolic blood pressure, and often get quite stressed at work, so I was curious what their advice would be. I had researched hypertension and learned that a good number of foods have minerals and phytonutrients that help lower high blood pressure. But reading how an hour of fast walking, 3-5 times a week, lowers blood pressure by 5-6 points made me more determined to include that exercise every day, since it's a sure-fire way to reduce stress and hypertension. Fast walking also raises the level of HDL (good) cholesterol, among other good things it does for you. It also helps you lose weight, and the benefits are great even at 12 pounds lost (out of 198 pounds): LDL cholesterol lowered by 12% and HDL cholesterol raised by 18%. That's huge. And yet too many of us don't do that minimal exercise of one hour of fast walking a day. What's ironic is that I love to walk and to find reasons to go out, but too often think that other things are more important.
Well, some people may find themselves truly stuck indoors. Any exercise helps, and so does small changes in diet. Walnuts are a food for the heart and cardiovascular system. According to a study cited by Reader's Digest, 7 walnuts a day for 6 months lowered LDL cholesterol by 10% and raised HDL cholesterol by 18%. Apparently, alcohol can also help, if enjoyed in moderation. This book doesn't say what kind of alcohol, only that one glass a day can lower LDL cholesterol by 8 points and raise HDL cholesterol by 7%. Obviously a glass of vodka is different from a glass of red wine, so I wish the authors were more specific.
Oh, and if you have high cholesterol and are still eating fast foods full of trans fats, maybe now is the time reduce your intake of such foods. These partially-hydrogenated fats raise the lousy (LDL) cholesterol, lower the good (HDL) cholesterol, raise your triglycerides levels, and make you more susceptible to a heart attack. (Fast food isn't that great for high blood sugar either. And the list goes on.)
Among the great ideas, there's avocado, for one. A Mexican study showed that women who ate an avocado a day for a week lowered their total cholesterol by 17%; also raised their good cholesterol. I am a believer in avocado too, and I noticed it lowers triglycerides as well – a benefit also documented scientifically.
You may not be aware that when they say smoking is bad for the heart that's also because it reduces the good cholesterol by 7-20% and can raise the lousy cholesterol by 70%. Again, I'd like to know more figures from this study: how much smoking does that, and what were the particulars of those in the study group? The results of these studies seem to be used rather loosely.
Nevertheless, it's a book worth reading. It covers acne, allergies, anxiety, arthritis, Alzheimer's, several types of cancer (colorectal, cervical, skin, prostate, stomach, breast cancer, ovarian, pulmonary, bladder), macular degeneration and glaucoma, knee pain, back pain, eczema, gastroenteritis, insomnia, STDs, obesity, fatigue, colds, the flu, snoring, tinnitus, and many other conditions.
The book Disease Free also includes some great recipes.