Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally by Sari Harrar

This is a very well written book with great recipes and a thorough plan to help reduce blood pressure in a very short amount of time. Although the focus is on limiting sodium intake, there is of course the added benefits of weight loss and better health, especially to combat problems such as diabetes and risk of heart disease.  As such, the diet plan is also great for those who have decent blood pressure but also want healthier eating/dieting help.
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The plan is a combination of eating better, monitoring your blood pressure, and light exercise (mostly walking). As such, it is a very do-able program. The author/editors of Prevention have gone to great lengths to make the book extremely easy to use: from easy to make recipes, simple exercises to do at home in addition to the walking, and forms in the back to track your progress. Since there are no super rare or uniquely hard to find ingredients, the shopping is easy too!  Shopping lists are broken down into parts (first 2 weeks and then weeks 3-6) and the ingedient list is very manageable. As well, the recipes are not set and you choose which to use (so you are never stuck with a day where you don’t like one/some/all of the ingredients of a dish). Allergic to sea food? Skip the tilapia fish recipe and use a different one with pork or vegetarian only entires.  There are quite a few recipes and you pick and choose which one you want when.

The book is broken down as follows: Part 1: Better blood pressure and a slimmer you!  Part II: Eating Plan.  Part III: Exercise. Part IV: More Tools (extra strategies for blood pressure, what works and what doesn’t, total cardiovascular health: beyond high blood pressure, forms/tracking your success, maintaining the new you beyond week 6).

Examples of recipes include: open-faced tuna melt, BBQ shrimp and veggie kebabs, pear-ginger kale smoothie, egg salad sandwich, roasted chicken sandwich, kale-ginger ice cream cookie cups, cheesy potato hash, and several ‘seasonings’ that bring taste without the sodium (Indian, Mexican, etc.). Most of the recipes have very easy 1 sentence, numbered steps that are extremely easy to follow. I had no problem at all preparing meals for myself and the family in this 6 week period and didn’t feel hungry.  I really appreciated that we rotate in meals as desired and aren’t stuck with a certain meal a day.  There is a lot of flexibility in everything, including the exercise. Even several types of meditation/yoga are included to help combat stress that raises blood pressure.

In two weeks, I noticeably dropped my blood pressure from 159/99 down around 145/94. I am looking forward to continuing this plan to see if I can get down to more normal readings. Of course, a simple home blood pressure monitor ($20) is recommended.

As expected from the magazine, the plan is well researched, proven, and very effective. Although only a short 6 week goal, principles and information is meant to be used to create a permanent healthy diet and lifestyle change to add years and live a healthier lifetime.

Reviewed from an ARC.

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