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Book Review: Blood Pressure Down by Janet Bond Brill

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Blood Pressure Down: The 10-Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks Without Prescription Drugs is a new book by Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN. Not only does the book have the potential to save lives, it could possibly win the longest title award.

The author starts the book off describing the ways in which this topic has affected her personally. She lists family members who have died from stroke, kidney failure due to complications of high blood pressure and she includes details about her father’s heart attacks.

Brill delivers a couple of messages with this book, “High blood pressure is the most preventable cause of premature morbidity and mortality in the United States and the world, and that lifestyle therapy is the cornerstone of treatment of the disease.”

The author offers a lifestyle therapy that she believes can lower blood pressure in conjunction with prescription medications or without. At the heart of the book is the 10-step plan that, Brill writes, can work in four weeks.

Readers will have to admit that this10-step plan is one of the easiest plans to implement that’s been offered in so many other self-help books. Here is a list of five of the 10 steps recommended by the author:

1. Lose five pounds
2. Cut the salt out of your diet
3. Eat bananas
4. Eat spinach
5. Eat yogurt

A few of the other steps include eat dark chocolate every day and drink red wine. She recommends readers have two tablespoons of natural, unsweetened cocoa powder or eat one or two squares of dark chocolate every day.

While cutting out the salt may be the most difficult step, it would be tough for any reader to argue with those kinds of steps to lower blood pressure. The author does include warnings with some of the steps such as eating chocolate. She writes that chocolate is an “energy-dense food, meaning it carries a lot of calories in just a few bites.”

Many of the suggestions have been widely published by other physicians in different forms including online, in magazines and in other books. What sets this 10-step plan apart is the simple way the author lays it out for the readers. Brill gives the step, the why for the step, any necessary warnings, tips for implementing each step and methods of attacks or how the step lowers blood pressure.

Besides the recommendation to eat bananas, yogurt and chocolate, the book also offers many helpful charts for things like a list of foods that offer magnesium and a list of “potassium power foods.”

The author also includes extremely helpful tips on implementing the steps. The steps and the implementation are presented so that readers can easily start tomorrow. Brill says the plan works in four weeks but with a little effort, readers can start to make positive changes in their eating habits immediately.

This is a great, great book that is well written in the average reader’s language. Brill includes information such as the history of chocolate or the difference between salt and sodium. There are a couple of lists in the salt chapter that tell readers which foods salt is hiding in and she lists the 10 salty foods that people love to eat.

This is one of those books that should be kept on the kitchen counter or in one’s car if you eat out a lot. Along with the charts and tables in the chapters, the Appendixes offer many helpful tables and recipes. Brill also offers two weeks worth of meal and exercise plans and she includes 50 recipes in the back of the book.

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