There are tons of “diets” out there promoting health. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) was developed as a nutritional plan to improve blood pressure. The Traditional Mediterranean Diet (TMD) has tons of data validating its health benefits.
Then there are keto diets, Paleo, South Beach, and the list goes on and on. There are benefits to each of these nutritional approaches.
So what should you do?
The Revolution Nutrition Plan
Step 1: The most important thing you can do is clean up your sugars. So, first, eliminate sugars and refined carbohydrates. No more than 50 grams per day and less is better. No sweetened beverages of any kind – this includes artificial sweeteners. No pastries either.
Also, be sure to eliminate High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). It isn’t natural and it isn’t good for you. Eliminate it by avoiding processed, packaged foods and sugar sweetened beverages.
Step 2: Eliminate Trans-fats. They are evil. Thing about margarine & vegetable shortenings.
These are naturally formed by bacteria in the stomach of cattle, sheep, and goats. CLA is a natural, and healthy, trans-fat. This one is a good one!
The artificial trans-fats are a product of a process call hydrogenation. They take vegetable oils and, through a process, add hydrogen atoms to them creating a “partially hydrogenated” oil. These are evil. Don’t eat them. Ever!
By law, if a food contains less than 0.5 grams of trans-fats they can label them “trans-fat free.” This is very misleading because if their product contains 0.9 grams of trans-fat per serving they can simply cut the serving size in half which would drop the trans-fat levels to less than 0.5 grams and meet label claims.
Sources of trans-fats include: microwave popcorn (some), vegetable oils & shortenings, margarines, bakery products (pasteries), non-dairy coffee creamers, fast food (especially fried foods), potato and corn chips, meat pies, sausage rolls, sweet pies, pizza, canned frosting, crackers.
The best way to eliminate trans-fat is to limit your intake of processed, packaged, or fried foods.
Step 3: Avoid long-chain saturated fats. This includes coconut oil. They aren’t good for your cardiovascular system. This includes butter and cream.
In this case, it is all about balance. Your cell membranes are composed of fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids pack in tightly and create a more solid, less flowing cell membrane. That is a bad thing.
Too much saturated fats increases CVD risk.
Too little SFA intake increases risk of hemorrhagic stroke.
Step 4: Omega-3s – Take enough of a high-quality Omega-3 fish oil to get your Omega-3 Index greater than 8%. We measure this on our labs. For
Another option is Vital Choice sardines. I have a few patients who don’t take any Omega-3 capsules but eat a can of these every day and have Omega-3 Index levels well above 8%. Vital Choice also has wild caught salmon and several other fishes as well. Their shrimp is EXCELLENT! This is where I get nearly all of my seafood.
Step 5: Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA) – Use a high-quality Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) abundantly for cooking & seasoning dishes. Be sure to get at least 2-4 tablespoons per day (40 grams per day) or olive leaf extract 500mg twice daily. Be sure to get your olive oil from a GOOD source. I recommend (& use) Nika’s Olive but most of the southern California varieties will be good.
Step 6: Eat 12 servings per day of fruits and vegetables. It should be broken down to 8 servings of veggies and 4 servings of fruit. This should be the foundation of your diet. Virtually every diet plan agrees that the foundation should be fruits and veggies.
Step 7: Get 50 grams of mixed fiber every day. However, you will likely be getting nearly this amount if you are eating sufficient fruits and vegetables. If you aren’t getting enough then simply supplement with some additional fiber.
Step 8: Sodium: less than 2 grams per day. To give you an idea, 1 teaspoon = 4 grams.
Step 9: Potassium & Magnesium: 5-10 grams of potassium every day. Magnesium should be 1000mg per day. Divide this up 2-4 times a day so that you are taking 250mg 4 times daily or 500mg twice daily as an example. Look for chelated forms of magnesium such as Malate, Glycinate, or Taurate.
Step 10: Consume 1.5g/kg of protein. The data shows that it doesn’t matter if you are eating animal sources or vegetable sources. The point is to make sure that you are getting enough. Several studies show that getting enough protein decreases blood pressure.
Focus on white meat (chicken, rabbit) and clean beef. Sources for these meats absolutely matter. Red meat is NOT a problem IF you get high-quality, natural, grass-fed sources. The problem comes in with the addition of toxins in these meats which are more common in animals grown using industrial methods (confined animal feeding operations [CAFOs]). Also, avoid processed and cured meats as well as sausage.
Eat at least 3 servings per week of fish or seafood including at least 1 serving of a fatty fish. Ideally, these meats will be the foundation of your protein.
Step 11: Pomegranate seeds – 1/4 cup 1-2 times daily. Northwest Wild Foods is a great source for these year round. 6 ounces of Pomegranate juice works as well but may temporarily increase your blood sugar.