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Five months into a plant-based whole-foods diet, I continue to experience the benefits. Weight, cholesterol, blood pressure — all down. Energy up.

I’m glad I made the change. Diet-related diseases are crippling and killing black men at disproportionately high rates. Just last week, African American filmmaker John Singleton died after suffering a stroke. He also had high blood pressure.

Few life-threatening conditions are more easily treated than high blood pressure. Eat plants instead of animal flesh, exercise and meditate — you’ll see improvements within days.

In a statement released by his family, Singleton was said to have “struggled quietly with hypertension,” a medical term for extremely high blood pressure. They urged black people to carry on the struggle by monitoring their blood pressure and learning to recognize the signs of hypertension.