New Study Proves Lifestyle Changes Really Do Transform One’s Health

Is it worth it to live a healthy lifestyle?

Many times, we shy away from choosing healthier options because they’re unfamiliar, or they don’t seem as instantly gratifying as a bag of chips or can of soda. Sometimes, it’s just easier to grab a quick and unhealthy snack rather than taking the time to make a better choice for our health.

We’ve all been there, but what I’ve realized is that, once you make the initial shift towards a dietary change, it becomes so much easier to replace your former go-to options with better, life-changing ones. It’s incredible, actually, just how much diet affects our health, both present and future. If followed properly, a healthy lifestyle can actually prevent and cure disease.

The NEWSTART Lifestyle Program

It doesn’t end with our physical health, it has a tremendous impact on our emotional health, too. In fact, did you know that modifying your lifestyle is just as effective as using blood pressure medication? A study done at the Weimar Institute NEWSTART Lifestyle Program indicated that their patients’ blood pressure dropped a whole nineteen points due to a change in lifestyle. A reduction in blood pressure like this is dramatic and can actually lead to lower risks for heart disease and stroke.

Alfredo Mejia, research team leader for the NEWSTART Lifestyle study and associate professor at Andrews University found that within two weeks, each patient obtained normal blood pressure levels without relying on any blood pressure medication. He said,

The NEWSTART Lifestyle Program works quickly, is inexpensive and uses a palatable diet that allows for moderate amounts of salt and healthy fats from nuts, olives, avocado and certain vegetable oils.”

Mejia presented the results at the 2018 American Society for Nutrition, showing that the reduction in blood pressure achieved through this program was equivalent to using three half-dose standard medications for blood pressure. Also, 93% of each patient reduced their medication dose or eliminated their blood pressure medication altogether.

So, what exactly did the patients do?

The study’s participants’ lifestyle was characterized by the following:

  • Vegan diet
  • Daily walk
  • Increased water intake
  • Sufficient daily sleep
  • Participation in spiritual health activities.

You may be curious about the specifics of the vegan diet. The program’s diet consisted of legumes, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, olives, avocados, soymilk, almond milk, and whole-grain bread. This was a well-rounded diet designed to provide all of the body’s daily needs.

Another aspect of this study was that half of the participants reached a systolic blood pressure, or the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats, below 120 mmHg. The program was effective in different individuals with varying health factors. There were participants that were healthy, diabetic, obese, or had high cholesterol levels.

This same research team is currently preparing to do a study that will show the long-term effects of this lifestyle, as well as the biological basis for the changes. They will also seek to trace the link to the improvement of patients with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity using this NEWSTART Lifestyle Program.

Curious about a recipe that might be used at the NEWSTART Lifestyle Program? Start with the Super Grains Oatmeal.

Super Grains Oatmeal

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Raeann Leal

Raeann is a graduate student at Loma Linda University School of Public Health pursuing her MPH in Lifestyle Medicine. In her free time, Raeann likes to cook unique and healthy dishes, read relevant and recent research articles related to diseases and their cures, and experience the outdoors.

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