Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of The End of Heart Disease, believes that removing toxic foods — such as sugar — from your diet makes it almost impossible to have a heart attack. In fact, as much as 99 percent of heart disease-related disease may be preventable with a nutrient-dense diet, which is more effective at lowering cholesterol and blood pressure compared to drugs.
In Dr. Fuhrman's plan, you'll quit eating sugar, integrate micronutrients into your diet, and eat fruits daily. Find out why his plan works — and how.
Step 1: Quit Sugar
Here's what happens when you quit eating sugar:
- Your mood improves: Once you get past the initial withdrawal period, you're more likely to be in a good mood.
- And your skin get better, too: Your skin might also improve.
- You'll have a decreased risk of diabetes: As your sugar cravings decrease, so to does your risk for diabetes.
- You'll lose weight: You — and your friends and family — will notice a significant different in your weight. Scaling back your sugar habit by just 200 calories a day can help you drop 10 pounds in five to six months.
- Your heart's job gets easier: Your blood pressure will drop, and within a few weeks, a decrease in LDL cholesterol is possible. In fact, when you cut added sugars from your diet, your risk of dying from a heart-related issue can plummet up to almost three times.
Step 2: Replace Sugar with the Sweet 6
For people who need dessert every day, and struggle to envision a sweets-free life, Dr. Fuhrman recommends satisfying cravings with:
- Dates and apricots
- Sweet potatoes and beets
- Frozen fruits, berries, and cherries
It's possible to make fantastic deserts, with less than 10 grams of sugar per serving, that taste delicious. But even more importantly, this blunts the speed of the sugar entering the blood steam and leads to a lower insulin response.
Step 3: Minimize Cravings with Micronutrients
Micronutrients are essential vitamins and minerals the body needs, that aren't produced in the body and must be derived from the diet. If you are not absorbing enough micronutrients, it may be more than willpower you need to regain control. Your body uses micronutrients to kick-start essential functions that run your mind, digestion, eating, and energy. When it's not getting enough, it may send you intense food cravings as a signal it needs more trace minerals and vitamins.
Here's how to get micronutrients in your diet:
- Eat one double-sized serving of steamed vegetables every day
- Eat at least 1/2 cup of beans every day
- Eat at least one ounce of raw nuts and seeds every day.
The fats in nuts and seeds are absorbed over several hours allowing calories to be burned as energy and not stored as fat.
Step 4: Eat 3 Fruits a Day
Fresh fruits provide pleasantly sweet flavors packaged with fiber, essential nutrients, antioxidants and other phytochemicals that protect us against the same diseases that added sugars promote. Unlike processed foods with added sugars, nutrient-rich fresh fruits do not perpetuate sweet cravings and overeating.
Step 5: Salad for Breakfast
There's one last simple trick at the foundation of Dr. Fuhman's healthy eating plan: salad for breakfast. Here's why salad makes for such a powerful first meal: When you eat a muffin, it fills up one-third of your stomach. Eggs, another traditional breakfast meal, fill up two-thirds of your stomach. But a salad leaves your entire stomach full, so you feel satiated.