One cold winter night in December of 2012 I laid in bed wide awake.
My brother had taken my Dad to the hospital earlier that night.
My Dad had a fever for 3 days straight and over the counter medication wasn’t doing anything.
Then the phone rang around 11 pm.
My brother was at the other end of the line to give me an update.
The doctor had explained to them that my father had an infection between his vertebrae and his aorta.
The infection was pressed against an AAA (abdominal aortic aneurysm) which was large and therefore he was a perfect candidate for surgery.
Except that he had that infection.
I couldn’t fully understand what my brother was saying, this was all new language to me.
I had heard of aneurysms before, but not the one my Dad had.
I was also puzzled about how he could get an infection in that specific area of his body.
To spare you the excruciating details of the high stress my family lived between December 2012 and April 2013, I can tell you my Dad successfully recovered from the 45-day stint at the hospital.
He also got a stent put in to prevent rupture of his aneurysm.
Why is this story important?
During this entire process, we discovered he was suffering from high blood pressure.
His cardiologist recommended him to take high blood pressure medication daily, so since March 2013 he has been doing that.
Fast forward to today: I am so happy to share with you that my Dad stopped taking his high blood pressure medication since December 29th 2017.
Why is this exciting for me to share?
Because this was all done with changes in his diet and in a relatively short amount of time. Two months to be exact.
My Dad is still struggling with other health issues and it couldn’t have come to a better time that he got off this medication. During our last visit to his Dermatologist, the doctor switched his treatment. One of the side effects of his new medication is an increase in blood pressure.
We are obviously closely monitoring his numbers 3 times a day, but we know how to control it.
When I say Food can cure chronic diseases, I truly believe this.
Not only have I been able to lower my cholesterol by more than half (read the full story here), but my Dad is now living proof that diet can also help regulate blood pressure.
Here is how it happened:
After about a month of my Dad moving in with me, his blood pressure started stabilizing.
He will take the medication one day and then not need it for another 2 or 3 days. Slowly, his blood pressure started to get back to normal values.
Before his diet changed, his Dystolic number (higher number of the blood pressure reading) would get above 175, while his Dystolic number (lower number of the blood pressure reading) would be closer to 90.
Almost 5 years after he first started taking this medication he is off from it. His numbers range from 96/60 to 134/80 (with the higher number happening very seldom).
What did I change in his diet?
Here are 5 things that have changed with his diet that helped regulate his high blood pressure.
- We completely eliminated red meats from his diet. Even lean red meats may impact blood pressure.
- We increased his vegetable intake. My Dad’s meals include at least ½ his plate filled with vegetables (yes, this is for breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
- He eats a large plate of fruits first thing in the morning before eating breakfast. This results in a high fiber intake.
- We reduced his processed food intake. I dare to say 90% of the foods he eats daily are cooked at home and made with fresh and high-quality ingredients.
- We significantly reduced his oil and processed fats intake. His daily fat intake comes from avocados, small portions of chicken or turkey, coconut yogurt, chia seeds, and very small portions of cheese (less than 1oz per day).
Although I would love him to be 100% on a “whole foods plant-based” diet, I know culturally he is reluctant to it.
The next best thing I can do is then to significantly reduce his animal protein intake. And based on his latest results it seems to be working!
Eating this way has not only help with his blood pressure but also with his high cholesterol and triglycerides.
Read more about the 5 easy strategies to help you lower your cholesterol in this article.