The start of a new year is often a good time to take stock and plan out beneficial lifestyle changes. Here are 22 tips for making 2022 your healthiest year yet. How many have you incorporated so far, and which ones can you add to your toolbox for the coming year?
Optimize Your Vitamin D
Vitamin D optimization is an absolute foundational strategy for fighting infections as it bolsters the first line of defense of your immune system. Ideally, test your vitamin D level twice a year, in the winter and summer, to make sure you’re in a healthy range of 60 ng/mL to 80 ng/mL year-round. (A compelling body of research suggests 40 ng/mL is the cutoff for sufficiency.)
Vitamin D can reduce your risk of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections by reducing the survival and replication of viruses, reducing inflammatory cytokine production, maintaining endothelial integrity and increasing ACE2 concentrations, which helps lower COVID-19 severity.
If your vitamin D levels are not optimal and you come down with COVID, it is best to take 0.5 mcg of calcitriol on the first day and then 0.25 mcg for a week, as this is the active form of vitamin D. Merely swallowing regular vitamin D capsules will not help with COVID for one to two weeks, which is why you must add calcitriol.
Up Your Intake of Key Immune-Boosting Nutrients
Many nutrients are known for their immune-boosting properties and ability to ward against encapsulated RNA viruses such as influenza and coronaviruses. A number of them were identified and listed in a February 2020 article in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases.
A number of nutrients have also shown promise against the atypical symptoms associated with severe COVID-19, such as excessive, out of control inflammation and blood clots.
While these symptoms have become increasingly rare as the virus has mutated into milder strains (Omicron being a prime example), some early COVID-19 patients are still struggling with long-term symptoms, colloquially known as “long COVID.” For them, such nutraceuticals may be particularly helpful.
Here’s a summary of the nutritional supplements identified.
Treat COVID at FIRST Sign of Infection
Should you develop COVID symptoms, you simply MUST start treatment immediately. We now know early treatment is key for successful resolution of the infection. It could literally be the difference between life and death and I can’t stress that enough. It is far better to overtreat a cold like COVID than ignoring the symptoms and dismissing them.
There are several early treatment protocols available, most of which focus on similar remedies. I believe the Frontline COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance’s (FLCCCs) protocol is among the most comprehensive. You can find a listing of doctors who can prescribe necessary medicines on the FLCCC website.
Optimize Your Health With Systemic Enzymes
Enzymes are proteins composed of individual amino acids necessary to speed up cellular functions and biological processes. Some of the bodily processes that require enzymes include energy production, oxygen absorption, toxic waste removal, breaking down fats in your blood, dissolving blood clots and fighting infections.
Proteolytic enzymes such as lumbrokinase and serrapeptase act as blood cleansers that combat inflammation and rebalance your immune system.
In the era of COVID, an enzyme called lumbrokinase may be of particular benefit, as it helps break down blood clots. If you’ve had COVID-19 in the past, and/or received one or more COVID injections, lumbrokinase may be helpful to prevent blood clotting issues.
Proteolytic enzymes such as lumbrokinase and serrapeptase serve to digest unwanted proteins in your blood, like blood clots. They also help combat inflammation and rebalance your immune system, facilitating the removal of inflammatory proteins, removing fibrin (a clotting material that restricts blood flow and prolongs inflammation), reducing edema in inflamed regions, and boosting the potency of macrophages and killer cells.
If you want these enzymes to work on the potentially damaging proteins in your blood and not the food in your stomach, you will need to take them on an empty stomach, either one hour before or two hours after a meal. Otherwise the enzymes will be used to digest your food and not work in your bloodstream.
Boost Your Liver Health With Choline
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common condition caused by an unhealthy processed food diet. Aside from cutting out processed foods high in sugars and seed oils, adding in more choline can be helpful, as it appears to be a key controlling factor in arresting the development of fatty liver.
It does this by enhancing secretion of very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) particles in your liver, which are required to safely transport fat out of your liver. Choline deficiency may result in excess fat and cholesterol buildup. Choline also aids in DNA synthesis and is important for healthy mitochondrial function.
Choline-rich foods to consider loading up on include wild-caught Alaskan salmon, krill oil, organic pastured chicken, vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, grass fed beef liver and pastured egg yolks.
A single hard-boiled egg can contain anywhere from 113 to 147 milligrams of choline, or about 25% of your daily requirement, making it one of the best choline sources in the American diet. Only grass fed beef liver beats it, with 430 milligrams of choline per 100-gram serving.
Eliminate ALL Seed (Vegetable) Oils
A compelling report in the journal Gastroenterology offers a radically novel yet logically sound explanation as to why some COVID-19 patients develop life-threatening organ failure, namely their high unsaturated fat intake. Since diet-related comorbidities are responsible for 94% of COVID-19-related deaths, taking control of your diet is a simple, common-sense strategy to lower the risks associated with this infection.
Simply put, high intake of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) — a primary source of which is industrial seed oils — is associated with increased mortality from COVID-19, while healthy saturated fats actually lower your risk of death.
Omega-6 linoleic acid (LA) makes up the bulk of the omega-6 consumed and is the primary contributor to nearly all chronic diseases, because when consumed in excessive amounts, LA acts as a metabolic poison radically limiting mitochondrial function and your ability to produce cellular energy.
The reason for this is because polyunsaturated fats such as LA are highly susceptible to oxidation. As the fat oxidizes, it breaks down into harmful sub-components such as advanced lipid oxidation end products (ALES) and oxidized LA metabolites (OXLAMs). These ALES and OXLAMs are actually what cause the damage.
While excess sugar is certainly bad for your health and should typically be limited to 25 grams per day or less, it doesn’t cause a fraction of the oxidative damage that LA does. Processed vegetable oils are a primary source of LA, but even food sources hailed for their health benefits contain it, and can be a problem if consumed in excess. Cases in point: olive oil and conventionally raised chicken, which are fed LA-rich grains.
Boost Your Magnesium Intake
Magnesium is required for the healthy function of most cells in your body. Deficiency will impede your cellular metabolic function and deteriorate mitochondrial function, which can result in more serious health problems. Deficiency is widespread, thanks to inadequate consumption of leafy greens, so if you rarely eat your veggies, you could probably benefit from supplementation.
Having low amounts of magnesium has also been shown to significantly increase your supplemental vitamin D requirement. Research by GrassrootsHealth shows you need 146% more vitamin D to achieve a blood level of 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L) if you do not take supplemental magnesium, compared to taking your vitamin D with at least 400 mg of magnesium per day.
Your vitamin K2 intake can also affect your required vitamin D dosage. Data10 from nearly 3,000 individuals revealed 244% more oral vitamin D was required to get 50% of the population to achieve a vitamin D level of 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L) if they weren’t concurrently also taking magnesium and vitamin K2. So, a simple way to optimize your vitamin D absorption is to take it in conjunction with magnesium and K2.
Foods with the highest magnesium levels include spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, beet greens, collard greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, bok choy and romaine lettuce.
If you’re using a supplement, you may want to use magnesium threonate to provide at least some of your magnesium, as it appears to be most efficient at penetrating cell membranes, including your mitochondria and blood-brain barrier. Another effective way to boost your magnesium level is to take Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) baths, as the magnesium will effectively absorb through your skin.
Improve Your Bowel Evacuation
Healthy evacuation of your bowels is a factor that many tend to ignore. The good news is that improving your bowel function can be as simple as changing how you sit on the toilet. Your puborectalis muscle helps control elimination during a bowel movement and prevent incontinence when you’re standing.
However, when you sit on a typical toilet, this muscle cannot fully relax, which is why you may need to push or even strain in order to have a bowel movement. While squatting, however, the muscle relaxes fully, making elimination easier.
Squatting on the toilet bowl can help you eliminate waste better if you are constipated. But this requires strength, flexibility and balance, especially if you’re not used to this method. Other options include using a simple footstool to help you get into a more “squatty” position or leaning forward as you sit on the toilet, with your hands on or near the floor.
Combat Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is a hallmark of virtually all disease, including cancer, obesity and heart disease. While inflammation is a perfectly normal and beneficial process that occurs when your body’s white blood cells and chemicals protect you from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses, it leads to trouble when the inflammatory response gets out of hand and continues indefinitely.
Your diet plays a significant, if not primary, role in this chain of events and is the perfect place to start to address it. Certain nutritional supplements can also be helpful as add-ons. Here’s a summary of key principles:
• Limit or eliminate vegetable oils (seed oils) — A key part of an anti-inflammatory diet involves excluding refined vegetable oils, as they are clearly one of the most pernicious and pervasive poisons in the food supply. Simply avoiding all processed foods and most restaurant foods will go a long way toward helping you avoid them.
• Eat more veggies — Vegetables are a key anti-inflammatory staple. Ideally, opt for organic locally grown veggies that are in season, and consider eating a fair amount of them raw. If you struggle with autoimmune disease or have significant inflammation in your body, though, consider limiting vegetables with high lectin content. Some high- lectin foods can be made safer to eat through proper soaking and cooking, as well as fermenting and sprouting.
• Add in fermented foods — Traditionally fermented and cultured foods are other anti-inflammatory staples that work their “magic” by optimizing your gut flora. A majority of inflammatory diseases start in your gut as the result of an imbalanced microbiome.
Fermented foods such as kefir, natto, kimchi, miso, tempeh, pickles, sauerkraut, olives and other fermented vegetables will help reseed your gut with beneficial bacteria. Ideally, you’ll want to eat a wide variety of them as each contains a different set of beneficial bacteria (probiotics).
If you don’t like fermented vegetables, consider yogurt made from raw, organic milk from grass fed cows. Yogurt has been shown to reduce inflammation by improving the integrity of your intestinal lining, thereby preventing toxins in your gut from crossing into your bloodstream.
• Boost your omega-3 fat intake — Marine-based omega-3 fats found in fatty cold-water fish that are low in environmental toxins — such as wild Alaskan salmon, sardines and anchovies — are also important anti-inflammatories, particularly for brain and heart health. In fact, your omega-3 level is a powerful predictor of mortality. If you don’t enjoy these types of fish, consider using krill oil instead.
• Cook with herbs and spices — Ounce for ounce, herbs and spices are among the most potent anti-inflammatory ingredients available and making sure you’re eating a wide variety of them on a regular basis can go a long way toward preventing chronic illness. Among the most potent anti-inflammatory herbs and spices are cloves, cinnamon, Jamaican allspice, apple pie and pumpkin pie spice mixtures, oregano, marjoram, sage, thyme and Italian spice.
Filter Your Water
While the U.S. has many water quality concerns, it doesn’t really matter where you live anymore, as many dangerous chemicals find their way into the ecosystem, spreading from one continent to another. This is why filtering your household water is more a necessity than an option these days.
Filtering your drinking water is good practice, but equally important is filtering the water you use for bathing. This is because immersing yourself in contaminated water may be even more hazardous to your health than drinking it.
Chemicals absorbed through your skin go directly into your bloodstream, bypassing your digestive and internal filtration systems. Unfiltered water can also expose you to dangerous chlorine vapors and chloroform gas, which can cause dizziness, fatigue, asthma, airway inflammation and respiratory allergies.
Unless you can verify the purity of your water, you should seriously consider installing a high-quality, whole-house water filtration system. Ideally, filter the water both at the point of entry and at the point of use. This means filtering all the water that comes into the house, and then filtering again at the kitchen sink and shower. As for the type of filtration system to get, there are various options, most of which have both benefits and drawbacks.
Common options include reverse osmosis (RO), ion exchange, and granular carbon or carbon block filters. Ideally, you want a filtration system that uses a combination of methods to remove contaminants, as this will ensure the removal of the widest variety of contaminants.
Reduce Your EMF Exposure
One of the most dangerous kinds of pollution affecting your health is the invisible sea of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) your body swims in daily, both outdoors and in your home. Common sources include cell phones, cell towers, computers, smart meters and Wi-Fi, to name just a few.
Strategies to reduce your EMF exposure include:
Even if you implement these strategies, you’re unlikely to eliminate all exposure, as EMFs saturate public places and can invade your home from your neighbors.
To minimize the harmful effects, the following strategies can be helpful:
• Increase your magnesium intake — As a natural calcium channel blocker, magnesium can help reduce the effects of EMF on your voltage-gated calcium channels. Since many are deficient in magnesium, I believe you could benefit from as much as 1 to 2 grams of magnesium per day.
• Molecular hydrogen — Molecular hydrogen has been shown to target free radicals produced in response to radiation, such as peroxynitrites. Studies have shown molecular hydrogen can mitigate about 80% of this damage.
Molecular hydrogen will also activate Nrf2, a biological hormetic that upregulates superoxide dismutase, catalase and all the other beneficial intercellular antioxidants. This in turn lowers inflammation, improves your mitochondrial function and stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis.
• Protective spices — Cinnamon, cloves, ginger root, rosemary and turmeric have exhibited protective effects against EMF-induced damage.
Boost Your Collagen Production Naturally
Collagen is the most common and abundant of your body’s proteins. One of its primary purposes is to provide structural scaffolding for your various tissues to allow them to stretch while still maintaining tissue integrity.
As a compound of essential amino acids, there’s only one way to get collagen: Your body can’t produce it, so you must obtain it through your diet. Historically, traditional diets provided ample collagen in the form of broth made from boiled chicken feet or beef bones. These are by far your best alternatives.
If you decide to use a collagen supplement, it’s important to know what to look for. Laboratory testing has revealed many popular collagen and bone broth products contain potentially hazardous contaminants typically associated with concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), so to avoid contaminants, make sure your collagen supplement is certified “100% Organic” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Moreover, collagen supplements can be either unhydrolyzed (undenatured) or hydrolyzed (denatured). The processing that most collagen supplements undergo to become hydrolyzed can also result in questionable byproducts that are best avoided. My personal preference is to use a less denatured (unhydrolyzed) organic collagen supplement, as it has a more balanced amino acid profile.
That said, I still believe the natural approach is best. Making homemade bone broth using bones and connective tissue from grass fed, organically raised animals isn’t very complicated and will produce the best results.
Optimize Your Sleep
One of the most radical and recent discoveries revealing the importance of sleep for health is that each and every organ has its own biological clock. In your brain is a “master clock” that synchronizes these clocks and your bodily functions to match the 24-hour light and dark cycle.
When you upset your circadian rhythm by not getting enough sleep, the results can have far-reaching consequences, affecting everything from mood, creativity and brain detoxification to DNA expression, chronic disease risk — including dementia — and longevity.
Helpful tips to optimize your sleep include:
Ditch Google and Facebook Once and for All
Over the years, the government and business monopolies, including the likes of Big Tech, have formed a global alliance hell-bent on protecting and concentrating member profits. The price for keeping business going as usual is personal liberty and freedom of speech that may impact these fascist government-industrial complexes.
In recent times, we’ve seen unprecedented efforts to censor natural health topics in various online platforms, especially Google and Facebook, under the guise of protecting you against “misinformation.”
By censoring the voices that challenge mainstream information on crucial health topics like pharmaceutical drugs, vaccines, GMOs, pesticides, junk foods, artificial sweeteners and fake meat, Google and Facebook are able to protect the profits of its advertisers and stakeholders.
Across the board, Google only gives you the results they want you to see, while relevant articles and news they deem “harmful” are buried. Facebook, meanwhile, relies on so-called “fact checkers” to dissuade and redirect users away from anything that contradicts the mainstream narrative.
We now have proof that Facebook’s “fact checks” are nothing more than opinion pieces, thanks to a lawsuit by journalist John Stossel, but they’re still presented as assertions of facts.
If you’re fed up with Google’s and Facebook’s exploitation and manipulation, the best way to break free is by being informed. If we work together to boycott them, Google and Facebook will crumble.
Protect Your Eye Health
Your ocular health affects your overall well-being, so routine eye exams are an important health basic.
Additionally, keep your eyes healthy and your vision sharp by:
• Removing trans fats from your diet — As with linoleic acid, processed foods and baked goods are primary sources of harmful trans fats.
• Removing high fructose corn syrup from your diet — High blood pressure can damage the small blood vessels in your retina, obstructing blood flow, and a key strategy to normalize your blood pressure is to dramatically reduce your fructose intake.
High sugar intake is also a primary culprit of elevated blood sugar readings. High blood sugar not only obstructs blood flow by damaging blood vessels in your retina but also pulls fluid from the lens of your eye, which can affect your ability to focus. As a general guide, I recommend keeping your total daily fructose consumption below 25 grams a day, including fructose from fruit.
• Eating your veggies — Consuming high amounts of carotenoid-rich vegetables, especially ones rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, can encourage healthy vision.
• Boosting your omega-3 fat intake — Omega-3 fats protect healthy vision. Good sources include wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sardines and anchovies. If you use a supplement, I recommend krill oil, which also contains astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant.
• Quitting smoking — Smoking increases free radical production throughout your body, putting you at risk for any number of health problems, including vision problems.
Aside from lutein and zeaxanthin, astaxanthin is one of the best antioxidants for eye health. It’s been shown to protect against a number of eye-related problems, including age-related macular degeneration, which is the No. 1 cause of blindness in the elderly, glaucoma, cataracts, inflammatory eye diseases, cystoid macular edema, retinal arterial occlusion, diabetic retinopathy and venous occlusion.
Astaxanthin also helps maintain appropriate eye pressure, energy levels and visual acuity. Because the above list includes several of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S., this powerful antioxidant becomes increasingly important.
Grow Your Own Food
Growing your own food has many rewards, from providing you with fresher, uncontaminated produce and cutting your grocery bill, to increasing your sense of well-being and slashing your risk of depression. Research also shows elderly individuals who garden on a regular basis have a 36% lower risk of dementia than non-gardeners.
There are many different ways to grow your own food, even if you live in an apartment. You can use virtually every square foot of your space, including vertical space, for growing food. Hanging baskets are ideal for a wide variety of foods, such as strawberries, leafy greens, runner beans, pea shoots, tomatoes and a variety of herbs. And, instead of flowers, window boxes can hold herbs, greens, radishes, scallions, bush beans, strawberries, chard and chilies, to name just a few.
Rule No. 1 for growing nutrient-dense food is building healthy soil.
There are five basic principles to growing topsoil and building a healthy soil ecosystem, and these rules apply whether you’re working a farm or tending a small vegetable garden in your backyard:
1. Avoid disturbing the soil microbiome — The less mechanical disturbance the better, which means no tillage, herbicides, pesticides or fungicides
2. Protect the soil’s surface — Use cover crops, untreated lawn clippings, mulch and wood chips to maintain soil biology, prevent water evaporation and lower soil temperature, which is particularly important on hot days
3. Diversify your crops — Having a diverse array of plant life is essential to healthy soil, and cover crops help fulfill this requirement
4. Maintain living roots in the ground as long as possible — Growing something at all times is key to soil vitality, so be sure to plant a cover crop after you harvest your vegetables
5. Integrate livestock and other animals, including insects — To mimic the impact of wild herds, regenerative farmers will pasture chickens, cows, lambs, pigs and other animals to benefit the soil and ensure a highly nutrient-dense finished product. While many homeowners cannot keep farm animals on their property, you can easily attract pollinators and predator insects to ward off garden pests by including lots of flowering plants
One of the simplest and most inexpensive gardening alternatives is to grow your own sprouts. They’re a particularly excellent choice during winter months, when outdoor gardening is limited or ruled out. They also grow quickly, allowing you to harvest in about a week, and you don’t have to cook them. Sprouts are also a perfect complement to fermented vegetables, which are also easy and inexpensive to make at home, from scratch.
Sprouts are actually among the most nutrient-dense foods out there. Topping the list are sunflower seed and pea sprouts, which are typically about 30 times more nutritious than organic vegetables. Sunflower and pea sprouts are among my own favorites. Broccoli sprouts, known for their anticancer activity, are another excellent choice.
Try Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) Training
Blood flow restriction (BFR) training, also known as vascular occlusion training, involves “partially restricting arterial inflow and fully restricting venous outflow” while working the occluded muscle. BFR training works on a very simple principle: It tricks your body into believing that it’s moving far heavier weights than you’re actually using, generating compensatory metabolic responses.
With BFR training, you’re able to significantly enhance your strength and muscle mass using a fraction of the weight typically used, in about half the time it would normally take.
Its ability to achieve such remarkable physiological benefits has to do with the fact that when you restrict the venous blood flow from the muscle group being engaged, you create a relatively hypoxic environment in the exercising muscle which then boosts beneficial metabolic responses, such as increasing muscle lactate and growth hormone, and inhibiting myostatin.
Venous flow restriction is achieved by wrapping the extremity being worked with an inflatable cuff or band. The band needs to be tight enough to shut down the venous return to the heart, allowing the venous blood to “pool” in the region of the limb that is being exercised, while loose enough to allow arterial flow-through.
With very light exercise, and in about 15 to 20 minutes, you get an exhaustive workout that sends a signal to your brain to help you “recover and adapt to it.” Your brain then sends out a wide variety of powerful hormonal responses that cause your muscles and blood vessels to grow.
BFR is particularly beneficial for the elderly, as it dramatically reduces the risk of injury while optimizing muscle growth beyond what strength training with heavy weights can actually do!
Lower Your Risk for Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune diseases are on the rise, so the earlier you take steps to prevent them, the better. The good news is that some of the strategies that can lower your risk of autoimmune problems are incredibly simple and inexpensive.
For example, drinking a solution of baking soda on a daily basis can help reduce inflammation associated with and caused by autoimmune conditions. Baking soda provides a signal to mesothelial cells — which line your internal organs — that your body is doing fine; it’s not under attack, so developing an aggressive immune system and/or a harmful autoimmune response is unnecessary.
To try this strategy, simply add one-half teaspoon of baking soda to half a glass of water (about 4 ounces), stir until it’s completely dissolved, and repeat no more than three times per day, and no more than seven one-half teaspoons in any given 24-hour period.
Another strategy that costs nothing is to allow fevers to run their course, as long as they’re not above 103 degrees F. While most tend to rush to administer fever-reducing medicine at the first sign of a low-grade fever, this can actually backfire. Fever facilitates your detoxification process, with the aim of producing a cleaner system. Reducing the fever can effectively prevent or interrupt your body’s natural healing process.
A far better alternative would be to administer liposomal vitamin C, which will aid and speed the process, not stop it. Certain homeopathic medicines can also be beneficial. If you’ve suppressed fevers all your life, you may benefit from regular saunas, ideally one with low or no electromagnetic fields, as this will help detoxify your system. If you’ve been vaccinated, you probably need to take saunas on a regular basis as well.
With osteoporosis — brittle bone — comes the risk of bone fractures due to a fall, and hip fractures in particular are notorious for raising an older individual’s risk of death. Low bone density, known as osteopenia, also raises your risk of fractures and may progress into osteoporosis. But before you turn to conventional drugs, you should know that there are far safer ways to address this problem, such as by loading up on nutrients that help promote bone growth.
Sufficiently load-bearing exercise is also important. Research suggests the load needed to trigger bone growth in the hip is 4.2 times your bodyweight. Unfortunately, conventional strength training comes nowhere near that — but BFR does! So, preventing osteoporosis is yet another reason to add BFR to your lifestyle tool kit.
‘Green’ Up Your Wardrobe
Fast fashion is a major contributor to the global waste problem, as clothing is now the fastest growing category of waste. Across the board, throughout the distribution chain, whatever cannot be sold always ends up in a landfill. The textile industry is also a major environmental polluter.
The primary solution should be obvious: Buy less. Buying only what you actually need will allow you to spend more on high-quality items that last. If an item is still in good condition but for whatever reason doesn’t fit your body or lifestyle anymore, ask around to see if anyone wants or needs it first.
As a last-ditch resort, donate clothing that is still in good condition to a reputable charity that serves the needs of your local community. Local women’s shelters and crisis centers may accept your donations.
If you need to purchase new clothes, make sure to choose organic, GOTS-certified clothing made from sustainably grown fabrics. The SITO brand is an example of a GOTS-certified organic clothing brand, established by the biodynamic certification agency Demeter. SITO supports our global mission for improving fabric production and putting an end to fast fashion.
Take Control of Your Blood Pressure
In 2017, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology, along with nine other health organizations, changed the cutoff used to diagnose high blood pressure from 140/90 to 130/80.
This slight shift increased the number of people diagnosed with high blood pressure to include many who had previously been considered within the normal range. According to the AHA, an estimated 103 million U.S. adults today have high blood pressure (hypertension), and about 1 in 3 people has prehypertension.
According to medical physiology textbooks, as much as 95% of hypertension is called essential hypertension, meaning the underlying cause is unknown. However, a number of factors have been identified as contributing to high blood pressure, including but not limited to insulin and leptin resistance, potassium deficiency and elevated uric acid levels.
The good news is that there are many techniques and lifestyle changes, including the following:
KetoFast is the term I coined to describe a protocol that combines three key strategies: a cyclical ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting and cyclical partial fasting. The first step to KetoFast is to make sure you stop eating at least three hours before bedtime to avoid creating unnecessary free radicals.
Next, compress your eating to a six- to eight-hour timeframe, meaning you eat all of your calories for the day during those six to eight hours. For the remaining 16 to 18 hours, you’re fasting. For example, delay your first meal of the day until 11 am or noon and stop eating by 7 pm.
Once you’ve followed this intermittent fasting schedule for a month, you can move into the second phase, which involves having a single reduced-calorie meal, ideally breakfast, followed by a 24-hour water-only fast, once or twice a week. This meal will typically be somewhere between 300 and 500 calories.
This meal should consist of:
- Carbs — Less than 10 grams of net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber), primarily from nonstarchy vegetables, seeds or nuts.
- Protein — Half of your personalized daily protein requirement. If you’re younger than 60, a general recommendation for your daily protein requirement would be 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of lean body mass, or 0.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass. The key here is not just lowering your overall protein intake but, rather restricting your intake of branched-chain amino acids such as leucine, found primarily in meat and dairy products.
- Fat — The remainder of your calories come from healthy fats such as coconut oil, avocado, MCT oil, butter, olive oil and raw nuts.
The day after your water-only fast, go ahead and feast. Now’s the perfect time to do hardcore strength training, and to load up on protein. Immediately after your workout is when you’ll want to eat that grass fed organic steak and/or whey protein, as now you’re in rebuilding mode.
The intermittent and partial fasting regimen described in KetoFast essentially mimics ancestral eating patterns, allowing your body to work optimally by allowing for periods of breakdown and cleanout, and periods of rebuilding and rejuvenation.
One way that your body promotes this is through autophagy, which is the body’s innate cleanout process, in which damaged mitochondria, proteins and cellular components are digested and then recycled during the regeneration phase, which occurs during refeeding. By upregulating autophagy, you may significantly lower your risk of most diseases, including cancer and neurodegeneration.
A common misconception is that because nutritional ketosis is so beneficial, it stands to reason that remaining in ketosis for the rest of your life would be the way to go. I disagree with this approach, having experienced the drawbacks of it firsthand.
Continuous keto can start wreaking havoc with your hormonal system, specifically your thyroid. It’s important to realize that nutritional ketosis is a catabolic process, meaning you’re breaking things down. This is a good and necessary process, but you also need to build your body back up! After some months on a continuous ketogenic diet, you start losing muscle mass, which is the complete opposite of what you’re looking for.