Why prevention rules
When we take a look at prescription medication data, it becomes clear there are three main reasons why men end up on prescription meds:
- high cholesterol or blood triglycerides
- high blood pressure
- stomach ulcer and/or acid reflux (known as GERD)
And even though medication is meant to help, overreliance on medication can lead to a host of other issues. But it doesn’t have to come to that. Happily, there are more natural means to help prevent needing medication in the first place and, in some cases, to help minimize the medication required for any given issue.
Keep in mind that this advice is meant to complement, rather than substitute for, the guidance and supervision offered by your primary health care professional.
The portfolio diet—cholesterol
The portfolio diet, developed by a physician, is known to lower cholesterol with a similar level of potency to common statin medications. It also works synergistically with those medications, such that the cholesterol-lowering effect has been shown to double.
What does the portfolio diet include?
|Food group||Examples||Suggested daily intake|
|nuts||almonds, peanuts, nut butters, pistachios, walnuts||45 g|
|plant protein||chickpeas, peas, tempeh, tofu, soybeans, lentils, beans||50 g|
|viscous fiber||apples, corn, eggplant, psyllium, strawberries, oatmeal, barley||20 g|
|plant sterols||plant sterol-fortified foods such as oils, juices, and yogurt; soybeans; corn; squash||2 g|
Potassium—high blood pressure
High blood pressure can be caused by a variety of factors, including excessive sodium intake. From a physiological perspective, potassium can help counterbalance the effects of sodium, which explains why potassium supplementation has shown to be helpful in blood pressure reduction.
- pumpkin seeds
- Swiss chard
- kidney beans
Although melatonin is traditionally considered a supplement used to aid in sleep, there is some evidence to suggest it may help with the symptoms of acid reflux, otherwise known as gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD). Although not as effective as traditional prescription medication for this issue, melatonin does appear to offer some symptom relief.
GERD prevention options:
- Avoid trigger foods such as coffee, alcohol, chocolate, spicy or fatty foods, and carbonated drinks.
- Replenish lost nutrients such as vitamin B12, calcium, and magnesium.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoid lying down after large meals, and give yourself several hours to digest before bed.
- Try yoga.
Lee Errett, MD, professor of global surgery, offered two final principles to consider.
- Eat real food, don’t eat too much of it, and try to have it largely plant based.
- Exercise is generally to move, which means something quite different for a 30-year-old versus someone in their eighties. The important principle is to do something, preferably for 30 minutes a day, but at least three times a week.