Doctor's Note

This is the companion video to How to Prevent High Blood Pressure with Diet.

The DASH diet is one of the best studied, and consistently ranks as US News & World Report’s #1 diet. It’s one of the few diets that medical students are taught about in medical school. I was so fascinated to learn of its origins as a compromise between practicality and efficacy.

I’ve talked about the patronizing attitude many doctors have–that patients can’t handle the truth–in:

What would hearing the truth from your physician sound like? See Fully Consensual Heart Disease Treatment and The Actual Benefit of Diet vs. Drugs

For more on what plants can do for high blood pressure see:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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  • As noted in this clip, Dr Frank Sacks finds the ethics of scientific research a challenge. He modifies study results for political purposes. In a like manner, he states in this Harvard Newsletter that “recent evidence” indicates “no value” to the Omega 3/6 ratio (item #3):

    http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2007/06/19/ask-the-expert-omega-3-fatty-acids/

    When I asked him what “recent evidence” he was referring to, he declined to answer me for 3 weeks. I queried another fatty acid researcher who could not guess what “recent evidence” Dr. Sacks might be referring to. He also observed that some researchers feel themselves so lofty they decline to engage the rabble. Meanwhile, I read the abstracts of all 2035 Pubmed articles on Omega 3/6 ratio as well as all 146 studies published by Dr. Sacks and found no claim that the Omega 3/6 ratio was of no value. So I queried him again. He responded that he was “too busy” to answer my question. I then put the matter to the Harvard Letter Editor, pointing out that innuendo is an appropriate literary device for a dime novel but not a scholarly work. The editor told me they would invite Dr. Sacks to rewrite his article and include proper citations for all claims. I’m not holding my breath But I will stay on this until I get an answer.

    • guest

      Salbers: You read 2035 abstracts? My hat is off to you. Please write a book on the subject. (Based on my a lot more limited readings on the topic, the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 seems not important but the daily intake of each is; there’s such a thing as essential fatty acid toxicity. I’d appreciate if you could kindly comment on this.)

    • Justin Miramontes

      I believe you misinterpreted him. The full quote from that article is “While there is a theory that omega-3 fatty acids are better for our
      health than omega-6 fatty acids, this is not supported by the latest evidence.”

      In other words, there is no evidence to suggest the theory is true. ie. the ball is in your court so to speak.

  • Wade Patton

    For those new to nutritionfacts.org (NF.O) and have made it here to the comments section, do note the dozen or so links above in “Doctor’s Note”. These appear with each video and are specific to each subject making it very easy to quickly find answers and more viewing/reading here at NF.O. If one needs more or is interested in the science on any other topic, try the site search above for 8 years of videos and articles. Also rest assured that when something of nutritional importance changes (as fish oil), Dr. Greger will update and change his recommendations as any proper MD should do. Also each video has a transcript and reference list and more hyperlinks to related topics. Finally, the commentary sections hre are generally filled with good discussions (physicians and scholars even) as well as some trolling and nay-sayers as well as serially confused, but the “signal to noise” ratio here is far better than is found in the Youtube comments. Enjoy!

    • Thank you Wade! I should like make this a repeating comment every day :)

      • Wade Patton

        Thought it might be helpful. Thank you for your dedication and cost-free access to top-quality, unbiased nutritional information.

        • Kandie Long

          Absolutely . . . I couldn’t appreciate this site more. Dr. Greger is a true humanitarian.

    • Paulina Reynolds

      My mother suffers from high blood pressure so I have learnt all about the condition. It has led me to spend countless hours of research & online discussion on how to lower high blood pressure and relieve her symptoms. Below is a few tips I wanted to share:

      1. Take Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplements. It works very well for cardiovascular system because it is involved in cellular energy production and is a powerful antioxidant. Maybe go speak to your doctor if you wanna know more on this.

      2. Follow every step in the the video & guide seen at the following link:
      curehealthproblem*com/highbloodpressure (obviously change the * for a dot as it won’t let me post links here) . This will tackle blood pressure in a NATURAL way. Very important.

      3. Take up one of the following: tai chi, yoga or meditation. Not only will it benefit blood pressure through exercise but it will improve mental state..

      Seeing my mum now and seeing how she was 5 years ago is a sight to behold and she is proof that sufferers should fight the condition as best as they can. The only other things she does now is exercise & doesn’t drink wine anymore. I hope that my comment will be of help to others. Good luck everyone <3

      x

      • Wade Patton

        Thanks for your comments Paulina, but they are tucked in as a reply to my reply to Dr. Greger’s reply to my comment. Follow? It’s fine, folks will find it, But to be clear: I don’t have any problems with hypertension. Never have.

  • Tobias Brown

    Is there a dietary intervention strategy to combat the rashes that those of us who live in climates where the humidity level dives during a few of the winter months to the mid-35% levels or below? These are the rashes caused by dry climates and a predisposition of individuals.

    • Rosemary Guy

      Add in turnip (3 times a week) and take out iceberg lettuce and millet. Other lettuce is ok.

    • Panchito

      look into pycnogenol and phytoceramides to increase humidity in the skin (aging factor)

  • Mary

    I wish the information was also available in Spanish so I could always forward your articles to my parents!

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Hi Mary. Some of our video’s are translated you can click the “cc” in the bottom right hand corner and see what is available as not every video have them. One way to translate the information is by clicking “view transcript” to read the text. Hopefully in the future all videos will be translated in multiple languages.

      • Mary

        Thank you so much for your answer, Joseph! I will do as you suggest : ) I am usually tempted to pass the transcript via Google translator and send it as is but being a linguist myself I think important nutrition education must come in proper use of language and grammar or will lose credibility and understanding. You could do as many sites and do a collaborative/volunteer-based translation project. I’d be happy to help!

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          THANKS! Please connect with our team. Just shoot us a quick volunteer application so we know what time you have available. We’d be thrilled to have your support.

    • Panchito
  • Eddie Alarid™
    • Eddie Alarid™

      is this saying saturated fat is healthy?

    • Veggie Eric

      I looked up the author of the ajcn study you sited above…It was a fella named Robert H Knoop who was a prominent lipid-hypothesis opponent. He died relatively young in 2011 of a sudden heart attack. Can’t get much more real than that.

    • Darryl

      Its an editorial commenting on this paper, in which every diet group had progressively narrowing coronary arteries. Only after statistically massaging the data (adjusting for age, education, diabetes, smoking, medication, carb, protein, and total energy intake) did a trend emerge that indicated that those with lower saturated fat intake have worse declines. The also found high glycemic index carb intake and high overall fat intake had negative effects, Junk food is bad news.

      The only studies I’m aware of where lifestyle changes have lead to coronary disease reversal are those of Drs Ornish and Esselstyn, where overall fat intake is reduced to 10-15% of energy (extremely low fat by Western standards), and saturated fat to around the 3-4% intrinsic to whole plant foods. Whether its the lower saturated fat, absence of animal products, or greater amounts of whole plants that’s responsible for the benefit is an open question. The body of evidence I’ve seen is consistent with most of the risk that might be attributable saturated fats appearing in the 2-8% of energy range, intakes rarely studied in Western populations, and is disappearing with the Westernization of diets worldwide.

      • Brux

        >> The only studies I’m aware of where lifestyle changes have lead to coronary
        >> disease reversal are those of Drs Ornish and Esselstyn, where overall fat
        >> intake is reduced to 10-15% of energy (extremely low fat by Western
        >> standards), and saturated fat to around the 3-4% intrinsic to whole plant foods.

        I have read a lot and seen a lot of video about this.

        If this can reduce coronary disease … does that mean it reduces blood pressure,
        and if so, why is that not specifically claimed. But how can you reduce coronary
        disease if the person still has high or increasing blood pressure?
        What I hear is – go on a vegan diet and everything will miraculously be fine.
        Yet I know to listen to what real scientists and researchers say, and I do not
        hear them saying that.

        >> Whether its the lower saturated fat, absence of animal products, or greater
        >> amounts of whole plants that’s responsible for the benefit is an open question.

        Exactly, it would be nice to know exactly what people need to do to get
        these benefits.

        A while ago a video was posted that said a doctor reversed heart disease
        in his patients by “forcing” them to eat nothing but rice and some fruits
        or veggies. If that works I’d like to know it, and what to expect. What if it
        doesn’t work?

        For example, are there any patients Dr. Gregor has where he has prescribed
        a WFPB diet and it has not worked, and he has gone ahead and prescribed
        BP medication?

        • Jim Felder

          Actually go on a whole-food plant-based diet with little or no added sugars, refined grains or liquid oils and you will vastly improve your *odds* of not developing a chronic disease and if you already have so damaged your body that you have one of the classic Western chronic diseases there is a pretty good chance that you might even be able to reverse it or at worst keep it from progressing further.

          Nowhere in does any professional (doctor, nutritionist, researcher) proponent of a WFPB diet say that everything will be fine for everybody. Do absolutely everything right and you still might develop high blood pressure or cholesterol.

          Study after study shows that a WFPB diet is probably the most effect treatment because it goes at the root cause of most Western diseases, the food. As such, IMHO, no ethical doctor should ever prescribe another course of treatment until a switch to an actual WFPB diet and not just a moderate change to the current crappy SAD diet is tried and found to not be effective. By this same token, no ethical doctor would ever not prescribe medication if a therapeutic diet change wasn’t effective or effective enough.

          As for the rice, fruits and veggies diet, I think you are refering to the Rice Diet pioneered by Dr. Walter Kemptner in 1939 at Duke University (not exactly a time and place that was a hotbed of Vegan radicals). He developed it to control malignant blood pressure with kidney failure at a time before BP medications when this could be a death sentence. The Rice Diet proscribed by Kempner was white rice, white sugar, fruit and fruit juices. That same diet was found to be highly effective against diabetes (type II) as well!

          Now I think we understand a bit more about the underlying causes of high BP, and understand that a non-boring, non-bland WFPB diet can be as effective in controlling BP as the Rice diet was.

          • For the last 9 years I have been prescribing a WFPB with adequate Vitamin B-12 intake for patients. I have done this in a traditional setting with the Kaiser Permanente program, in private practice, as a physician with the McDougall and Esselstyn Whole Foods Immersion programs and with EarthSave’s Meals for Health programs. When I give CME presentations to physicians it is hard to convey the professional satisfaction from supporting patients to improved health. I have come to view “hypertension” as the bodies NORMAL response to poor lifestyle habits primarily nutrition. Think about it… If you were the pump (heart) for 70,000 miles of pipes (arterial system) that was getting more inflexible and narrowed what would you do? I believe you would increase the pressure of the pump to keep things flowing Now my undergraduate Chemical Engineering training is a bit rusty and I can no longer do the math but it makes sense to me. When embarking on the correct lifestyle path, persons need to be patient as their arterial system repairs itself. They also need to avoid over treatment. If they are on medications they need to work with clinicians who can change, reduce and eliminate medications as needed. The arterial system will experience fairly rapid initial improvement as the nitrous oxide system improves but it will can take years for the cholesterol blockages to be reversed. The earlier you begin the best science based nutrition the better long term results will be and you will be less likely to be put on medication. It is worth the effort. Keep tuned to NutritionFacts.org for the best science.

        • Rosemary Guy

          As someone who usually eats WFPB except when out with friends when I’ll eat vegan, I’m a statistical anomaly and still have high blood pressure. I realise that I’ve had a lot of things happening in my life that are stressful and I’m mindful of the way that I breathe. For example, holding my breath while empty and even doing this while exercising ……If my blood pressure is too high I take meds. I think that exercise also plays a role in bringing the pressure down but for me I’ve had chronic fatigue and only now feel like i can do this.

          • Michael Innis

            Rosemary, I’ve been on a WFPB (no oil, low-sodium and low-fat) diet for a year and a half and I still need to be on BP meds, according to my cardiologist, who is also a vegan. So you are not alone. It’s frustrating but I’m staying with the diet because I’m convinced it’s the healthiest for me. Good luck!

          • Rosemary Guy

            Totally agree. i wouldn’t change because this one marker is not shifting. i suppose my point was that we might just need to try harder or try everything.

      • Jim Felder

        Alnd all participants in the Mozaffarian study ate a high fat diet, just some worse than others. Also note that in the “low-fat/high-carb” group, as the editorial categorizes quartile one, fiber intake was only 25(+/-14) g/d as compared to 17(+/-7) g/d for a quartile four, the high saturated fat “group”. So Q1 just barely, on average, met the daily recommendation for women. So Q1 basically replaced some of the saturated (and monosaturated fat too which dropped from 13% in Q4 to 7%) with refined carbohydrates for the most part. Q1 was still getting 3.5-7% of their calories from saturated fat, so the women in Q1 were definitely not eating a WFPB diet.

        The real take away message from Mozaffarian is that if you are going to eat a junky diet you might get sicker slightly slower if you eat more saturated fat than if you eat more refined carbohydrates and added sugar. It has nothing to say about what diet to eat if you actually don’t want to get sicker.

  • Liz

    My mother was vegetarian since in her 20’s (is now 85) yet she started getting high blood pressure about 10 years ago. How is such possible?

    • There are many factors, it’s hard to say in your situation. First of all, vegetarian does not mean healthy. As the video stated, dairy also raises blood pressure. I know vegetarians that eat a lot of pizza. It may be vegetarian, but certainly not healthy to eat so often.

      Medications can also have side effects like high blood pressure. As does stress. Other environmental/lifestyle factors, too, probably.

      It’s hard to answer your question specifically without knowing all the details since there are several potential reasons. But, it certainly is possible to have high blood pressure as a vegetarian. Just because someone doesn’t eat mean, they still need to watch what they eat, get exercise, among other things.

    • Regina

      Vegetarians still eat eggs and diary so even small quantities of this will cause inflammation with two hours

      • Brux

        Source?

    • Wegan

      If already plant based there may be an iodine deficiency.

      • Brux

        Source for this?

    • Brux

      That’s a good question, I wish there were some good answers with some supporting research. What I hear when people ask questions like this is more faith-based support for veganism, and projections on the person that they did something wrong, such as eating tons of pizza, or dairy. If iodine is a factor, then why is this not mentioned in the video?

      One thing I find missing in this video is how. That is, if someone has high blood pressure and they begin say a strict vegan regimen and stick to it, how can you tell whether it is working or not? What would be the expect drop in BP, and how long would it be before the average person’s BP dropped to the tantalizingly low number Dr. Gregor cited here?

      I feel like most of these videos are cheerleading and rah-rah propaganda for veganism because of generalized studies that show plant-based diets have value. I don’t argue that. That seems to be indicated by all the research. But, it is never qualified here in these videos. I know it is hard, and maybe not even possible to say certain things because it might be considered medical treatment, or be misinterpreted, but I sure would like to hear, and see, a lot more detail on some of these videos.

      What kinds of diseases, or even genetic predispositions could lead to high blood pressure, and why is it so impossible to figure this out? I still never hear the causes or the frequency distribution of the causes across people. Lots of people who eat lots of meat do not have high blood pressure, true? So, what are we really talking here?

    • Jim Felder

      Maybe she should go the extra step and give up the dairy and eggs as well as the refined and packaged foods and see if her BP doesn’t improve. Even two weeks should be enough to see a difference.

      • Brux

        Where did you read that her mother ate dairy and eggs? If you are a doctor, which I think you are not, you would never ask such a pointed question. These forums are full of this kind of thing, but I never hear the real doctors here say anything about it, because unrestrained enthusiasm and even attacks in the name of WFPB are tolerated here no matter how they are expressed or whether they are supported by facts or not.

        • Jim Felder

          I asked no question, pointed or not. Liz said that her mother was a vegetarian. The most common definition of a vegetarian is somebody who doesn’t eat flesh, but still will eat dairy and eggs. I was going with that definition. A vegan diet is sometimes called a strict vegetarian, but I have always seen it so qualified.

          I suppose I should have put qualifiers on my suggestion and said that if her mother, by the most common definition of vegetarian, still ate dairy and eggs, she might consider excluding those as a trial to see if her BP improved. Also other dietary foods though technically plant based, such as refined grains, added sugar and especially added oils might have an effect on arterial endothelial cell health and so her mother might consider remove those from her diet as well. Better?

    • Acreech

      As we age it is still possible for one’s arteries to stiffen and calcify despite a healthy diet. Xrays of the elderly will often show the outlines of major arteries. When pipes stiffen a diuretic tends to work well by emptying the arterial tank a bit.

      • Fred

        From what I read it seems that both pomegranate and pyconogenol can clean up your circulatory system and possibly reduce blood pressure. Also vit K can help remove calcium deposits and put them into the bone. Have no links…could find some but…who’s interested?

        I’m looking for a science-based forum like this that focuses on elderly life extension….seems the dummies can’t get around to taking advantage of all the old farts coming along. Of course many of the “elderly” I know are already too calcified to care. I do my own “research”.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Hi Liz. Sorry to hear that. Has her diet changed much over the years? I see others have commented about the situation and are trying to be helpful. I don’t have much to add, but in addition to what her doctor prescribes I suggest some of the foods Dr. Greger highlighted in the video like flax, beans, watermelon, etc.

    • john gerry

      What did she really eat? Did she eat eggs and cheese? Did she eat chocolate? “Healthy” coconut oil? “heart healthy” olive oil? None of those are considered healthy by Dr. Ornish, Dr. Esselstyn, or Dr. Colin Campbell. One can be vegitarian and still eat an unheathy diet.

  • Will. M.

    So If I’m trying to keep my fat % lower, say <20% and I'm eating chia seeds, am I better off switching to ground flax for the anti hypertensive properties? Thanks

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      We actually have a video on this! Flax vs Chia/a>.

      • Will. M.

        thanks

  • Will. M.

    Just another question, I read somewhere that the DRI for potassium among adults is 4700 mg…if we are prone to hypertension, should that number be amped up via high potassium foods? If so, to what levels? I noticed in the video that Kiwis did little yet they are relatively high in potassium.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Perhaps not “amp-up” but assure your diet consists of plenty of potassium. Check out this Q&A about where to find foods high in potassium. Good questions!

      Best reagards,
      Joseph

  • Al D.

    Does anyone know if toasted flax seeds have the same effect on lowering blood pressure as the raw? Thanks in advance.
    Al

    • Wade Patton

      Flaxseeds can be baked into bread at 350f without losing their beneficial qualities. Now i never make bread without them. Tons of flaxformation here. Search “flax”.

      • Mike Quinoa

        Wade, do you grind the flax seed first? It seems the little critters are hard to digest otherwise.

        • Wade Patton

          Oh absolutely, they can pass through our system whole if not ground a little bit. But once you grind them, they should be kept refrigerated or used fairly quickly. They keep great as whole seeds (as most do).

  • justme

    As usual you dispensed interesting and important information. How does one reverse hypotention of 69/51?

    • Will. M.

      Increased sodium perhaps. Salt pills?

    • albert

      Doing the reverse: eating lots of meat and junk food. More stress too. Just kidding :) one question is if it hypotension makes you feel unwell, because my mother is pretty hypotensive (below 100 I think) yet she’s one of the most energetic people I know (knock on the wood). Do caffeine drinks help? They can be pretty healthy too – if done right (proper amount, quality, regimen)

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      There can be many reasons for low blood pressure. Dehydration, thyroid or heart concerns, medications, lack of nutrients (folate and B12 ) so it’s hard to say. Check with your doctor if low blood pressure persists, but actually this a super low level and no doctor would let you leave the hospital with that kind of blood pressure! Make sure you calibrate your home bp cuff with your doctor’s office cuff since it’s possible the home cuff is just reading low.

  • albert

    There are also quite a few studies reporting a moderate BP lowering effect of flavanol rich cocoa powder (as well as improved endothelial function and insulin sensitivity).

    • Julie

      To add to your good list of ways to increase insulin sensitivity: Get good quality sleep, eat just the amount of food you need–don’t overeat, maintain a healthy weight, eat low fat and avoid meat and dairy fat.

      • albert

        Thanks, I keep forgetting stress and sleep as essential IS factors! Animal fat and food in general I sort of mentioned implicitly, but it’s probably a good idea to list them for anyone interested..

    • Matthew Smith

      Thank you for your list of blood pressure lowering food. Did you know that sulfur very quickly can get control of your blood pressure? http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150219115736.htm

      Although Hydrogen Sulfide is not thought to be a hormone, it could be, and it certainly is a neurotransmitter. It works very quickly to widen blood vessels. MSM contains very clean sulfur and can lower blood pressure. It is in very fresh vegetables, particularly the Alliums, the onions and garlics, and the mustards, broccoli and kale. I think watermelon has a lot of sulfur and that might be why melons can also very quickly lower blood pressure.

      This site has other recommendations for high blood pressure.

      beets
      hibiscus tea
      seaweed
      grapefruit
      beans
      brazil nuts
      whole grains
      vegan diet
      flax seed meal

      watermelon

      Perhaps other melons and very fresh vegetables like onions and kale should go on the list too.

      • albert

        Whoa, that’s a nice list! I do know for a fact garlic dramatically improves blood flow, because I experience this almost every day after having my dinner (I could easily list a number of immediate physical effects)! It would be interesting to explore a neurotransmitter thing in relation to brain/mood because I feel so good after my garlic filled dinners :) (although there quite a few more candidates for such as a glass of Cabernet, nice little coffee and/or cocoa and, well, food..:) ) But I definitely feel better when garlic is there, this has been tested on way too many separate occasions!

      • dorange

        Matthew, could you please share the link that shows this list of BP lowering foods?

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Sounds like good suggestions for improving insulin sensitivity. Have you seen this video on what causes insulin resistance? Diet can be a huge factor! Here are a few randomized trials that look at improving insulin sensitivity with a strict plant-based diet: A multicenter randomized controlled trial of a plant-based nutrition program to reduce body weight and cardiovascular risk in the corporate setting: the GEICO study. From Dr. Barnard’s research, study participants received either a low-fat vegan diet or a typical diet for diabetes and found significant changes in weight loss and insulin levels. Dr. Greger presents the study in this video. Here is a link to more resources on type 2 diabetes. Thanks for your questions, albert — let me know what you think of these studies?

      • albert

        Thank you Joseph! Yeah, I’ve seen Dr. Barnard’s study and I was definitely meaning to read his book on diabetes, although I probably know the ending :) Did you notice a Barnard study mentioned in this video? Now I’m seriously wondering if dear Dr. Barnard speaks Japanese :))
        I’ve also seen the video (“cellular fat” in my comment above was actually my lame substitution for “intramyocellular lipids”, I just couldn’t remember the word), but I do need to dedicate an evening to an extensive comment discussion below, I’m sure some gems are buried there!
        The main recurring idea I’m having is that why not go a step further and do LFPB with low GI, namely do less grains and more legumes. In a way it takes care of the criticism of high-fat diet proponents about unavoidable sugar spikes after grain heavy meals. These days I have at least two meals based on red lentils and finally I’m able to get rid of some body fat that I couldn’t quite get rid of doing WFPB but with more oats and other high glycemic grains. And so much less (almost nonexistent) inflammation. In a language of physical intuition I feel that food that steamed veggies and lentils are the “cleanest” food one can eat – oh well, leanest too, right? Always interested in your further thoughts..

        • Brux

          >> I feel that food that steamed veggies and lentils are the “cleanest” food one can eat –

          I like lentils … but since I never had them in my life or diet pretty much my whole life, I order the when I am at an Indian (hardly ever) or Middle Eastern (fairly often) restaurant. Can you tell me how you cook or prepare lentils and what kinds you use, what is best, what is the difference? I go to Whole Foods, in fact i went there today, and they have all these different colors and sizes of lentils … it makes me even more confused.

          My favorite was lentil soup from the Mediterranean restaurants, or the lentils on rice in Indian food. I sort of like plain tasting food. My local mediterranean place has lentil rice, rice mixed with lentils that is great, and lentil soup which is great too. I want to be able to do this entirely on my own and eat as much as I want. At the restaurants this stuff is way more expensive than it should be it seems.

          Any suggestions? Thanks, I agree lentils are great!

          • albert

            Well, here is what I know about lentils and perhaps there are people who know much more.
            There are basically two main varieties – with outer shell intact (green) and shell removed (red). (Yet it’s absolutely the same legume). No idea about the yellow ones, because there are not widely available where I live. Even though red lentils are somewhat not as “whole” they still are unprocessed and very high in fiber, while green variety is like one third fiber in mass (I’m exaggerating very little). I prefer red lentils exactly for this reason, since it may be tough to get enough calories and protein from green ones, especially for a male, while for a lady looking to lose some weight green ones may be a Godsend, for she may eat as much as she wants (or a little more) while still consistently losing extra weight. Red lentils are also easier to digest when eaten in large quantities, again because of a bit less fiber. And by the way, quite importantly, red lentils have none of digestion problems usually associated with high beans intake (as long as you don’t eat anything sweet including fruits for a while before and after lentils). At least for me. They also have one notable advantage over beans in cooking – no need for soaking, which leads us to a cooking part.
            Just as you, I prefer plain food, so my daily recipe is not complicated by any way. Put 1 part of lentils in the pan, add plenty of water, maybe 3 to 4 parts, set lot to medium fire, cook for 20-30 minutes till needed consistency (they will be becoming gradually mushier till turning into pretty homogenous purée). I prefer to keep some of the structure (meaning more nutrients too) and turn off the fire earlier. At some point they might try to attempt to escape the pan when water starts boiling to much. Just stir them a bit and lower the fire. There might be a little foam on top, but i usually let it be and it dissipates. The cooked lentils will be like a thick soup/liquid mash and I find it much easier to eat/digest than when they are more solid. Which they may become after sitting in the fridge, then add some hot water till needed consistency – great way to get them warm too. Then I would just add some freshly chopped dill and/or parsley, garlic, tomato sauce, soy sauce, cooked mushrooms for extra fun and nutrition. That’s basically it. Sometimes a little of flax or olive oil, but oftentimes i don’t when I feel I want some really clean food, if it makes sense. So, in essence, you appear in the kitchen for one minute when you put the pan on fire, then you might want to rush to the kitchen if you hear some hissing from lentils spilling over when the fire is too high, and then you appear in the kitchen to chop some greens, pour lentils and everything in the deep dish. Ramen noodle amount of effort. Blue Zones healthfulness/plainness kind of food. Let me know ;)

          • Brux

            Thank you for the information Albert. I want to experiment with lentils and that is enough to get me started.
            1 part lentils 3-4 parts water, simmer for 20-30 minutes.
            I wonder if my rice maker which can make white and brown rice might work to make lentils too?
            Not really sure why lentils intimidate me so much … same with beans though too … just no experience on the cooking side of either of them.

          • albert

            I’m sure you’ll get it figured out pretty soon Brux! All those legumes are indeed somewhat mysterious at first but it’s just that we live in age of pre-cut bread and cheese, and what have you. Now legumes is an old civilizations stuff, lots of history and culture behind. Well, if you in a mood

          • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

            Yes! Adding lentils to your rice and preparing in a rice cooker is a game changer! Saves time and boost nutrition. Can even add herbs and spices to rice cooker for extra flavor.

          • Brux

            Thanks Joseph … I have never been much of a cook, but if this is so easy there is no excuse not to, plus I know what i am getting when I eat.

          • 2tsaybow

            There are so many lovely kinds of beans and legumes. I have found French Lentils to be wonderful. They are little bluish speckled things. If you have a Target with a grocery you can find them there. I have been buying a new kind of bean every time I go to the local Indian Market and it has been really fun.
            One thing not mentioned is the fact that lentils that have their outer casing (the red ones won’t work) either the large of the small ones are wonderful for sprouting. They are delicious and you can eat them raw; so they make a great snack.
            As you start experimenting with cooking beans, you might want to invest in a pressure cooker. There are several that are made of stainless steel, and they are a real time saver. A lot of Indian recipes use the pressure cooker in their instructions.
            Of course, you should keep cans of beans in your pantry. Smith’s is in our area and they have their own brand of organic beans. I wait until they have them on sale and then stock up.

          • Brux

            Can you treat all lentils and all beans pretty much the same?
            Except I guess you have to soak beans overnight in water?
            Then … boil or simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes?
            Is that it?
            Keeping with my general philosophy I want to stay away from canned stuff.
            I would eat stuff in glass jars if I can find thing in jars.
            I want to stay away from the cans and plastic containers.
            I’ll think about a pressure cooker once I figure out how to cook this stuff
            and if I like it well enough to do it a lot.
            Thanks.

          • 2tsaybow

            I’m sorry I didn’t back to your question earlier Brux!

            You don’t usually have to soak smaller beans and lentils, but soaking doesn’t hurt and it almost always shortens the cooking time.

            Lentils without their husks removed take about thirty minutes to cook at my house. I live at about 8200 feet, so they will probably cook in a shorter time for you. When they’ve been polished red by having the husks removed they take about ten minutes less to cook.
            One of the reasons I have a pressure cooker is the altitude I live at. It can take a very long time to cook beans without it.

            Regular garbanzo beans cook surprisingly fast and even though soaking doesn’t hurt, it isn’t necessary. There are some little reddish garbanzos that they sell at the Indian market that must be soaked for at least 8 hours or the little stinkers remain pebble like in their texture. They’re called Kala Chana. The are really tasty if cooked right.

            Remember, you can also soak whole beans for a few days, changing the water each day and you kind of liven up the beans by sprouting them a little bit. Unless you know that they can be eaten raw, like lentils, you should always cook your sprouted beans.

            Hope this helps!

          • valnaples

            I agree with albert on how to cook lentils…I usually just buy the greenish brown ones…they cook up pretty quickly and don’t need soaking like dried beans (but I *always* make up a pot of either beans or lentils each Sunday for my work week ahead!)…heaping 1/2 cup of lentils into 1 cup of water…I usually chop up some onion and celery and chuck that in with a bay leaf…bring to a boil, turn down the heat and then let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Easy peasy. I adore putting them into my leafy green salad with some red or white balsamic vinegar; or else mixed with cooked brown rice and salsa, steamed spinach on the side. (Trader Joe’s sells a lovely Fire Roasted Salsa which has NO added salt…yowsa! great stuff)

        • Brux

          Oh, question, switching from grains to lentils, is it possible to be getting too much protein and move into the problem Americans have with getting too much protein, as in osteoporosis … or is that only with meat protein?

          • albert

            As far as I understand the amount of protein will be still quite moderate and absolutely healthy. The general rule of thumb suggested by Nutrition Facts/Barnard/Ornish/McDougal et al is that you may have as much varied whole-food plant based food as you want without worrying much about protein at all. Also worth mentioning Jeff Novick’s article regarding incomplete proteins http://www.jeffnovick.com/RD/Articles/Entries/2013/6/13_Completing_The_Limiting_Essential_Amino_Acid_Picture.html.
            Osteoporosis issue was mainly related to animal protein, which is acidic and causes calcium to be drained from bones to maintain body’s pH balance. Not so with mostly alkaline plant foods. I’m sure there are some great videos about this on the site..

          • Brux

            Thx

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          Good point! In the Barnard studies our team (I helped co-authored the GEICO Study so I am pretty familiar with the dietary protocol) did educate participants on low GI foods and encouraged their intake. Some grains are actually low GI (oats, barley, sourdough, rye and pumpernickel breads, pasta), but I agree that beans are amazing!

          • albert

            So I was basically wondering what if we now compare metabolic effects of say oats vs lentils with respective GI and GL of somewhere around 55/15 vs 20/5.. wouldn’t it be just another improvement to already improved diet?.. :) Is Dr. Barnard up for new research ideas? :) Although we already know Blue Zones recurring dietary pattern, which is some nice mix of whole grains and legumes.. So why I asked about improving IS in the first place is that it may seem like a good idea to first maximize IS (via say legumes, exercise and intermittent fasting among other things), get really lean (looks like I’m actually moving there with my current regimen) and “carb-efficient” and then be ok doing more grains (if needed, say, given increased physical activity) while staying maximally lean and healthy.
            Lucky you Joseph – working with both Dr. Barnard and Dr. Greger!!

  • Nina Moliver

    I would like to tell my story. I have been eating a whole-foods plant-based diet for almost 3 decades. I eat fish once in a great while, and no other animal products. I eat no processed foods. I buy everything in bulk and cook it from scratch. No added salt. So why did I have astronomically high blood pressure?

    And where was all this fatigue and muscular pain coming from? And the high LDL?

    It took me two years and three months to figure it out.

    It was my night eating.

    I ate a generous dinner past 10:30 PM every night. That was when I was finished work. After that, I showered and went to bed.

    It was ruining my health. The best foods in the world could not compensate for my night eating.

    After I stopped eating past 6:30 PM, it took a few weeks, but my blood pressure pretty much normalized, although I do tend to spike. The muscular pains are subsiding, but the damage has been extensive, and I am still in a long recuperative phase. I exercise for several hours per day.

    It’s been four months since I stopped eating at night. I am still not healthy. I want to warn everybody that night eating is not a small thing. It can undo all of the benefits of an excellent diet, and it can take a long time to recuperate. I am very fortunate that I did not have a stroke in the interim.

    • Brux

      How do you know your HBP is due to night eating?
      How exactly would that work? What do you suppose eating
      at night is doing to your body that causes you to have HBP?
      It seems that four months is not a very long time to determine
      that you have found the cause of your HBP.
      What have your BP measurements done, from what to what is
      what amount of of time.
      Don’t get me wrong, I often eat at night, so if it was a question
      of stopping it to decrease BP I’d certainly give it a try.
      Also, by eating at night, do you mean eating after the sun goes
      down or eating before you go to bed? I’m assuming your mean
      eating before you go to bed, is that correct?

      Also, were you eating any particular thing at night that might
      cause this, such as sweets or salty stuff, drinking coffee or
      alcohol?

      • Nina Moliver

        I tinkered with many different dietary experiments. None of it mattered. No coffee, no alcohol, no salt, no sweets, before or after the change in timing. No real change in choice of foods at all. Just the timing.

        Yes, eating before I went to bed, shortly before midnight. My systolic pressure has dropped from the 180s to about 103. Diastolic has dropped from 110 to 69. Resting pulse has dropped from the 70s to 55. A full stomach at midnight put indescribable stress on my system.

        • Brux

          >> A full stomach at midnight put indescribable stress on my system.

          Thanks Nina.

          Can any of the doctors here comment on this?

        • Marina

          Thank you Nina. I am on plant based diet too, and I do not eat late, if I do just a couple berries, or 1/4 apple, but my HP is still high. I could not figure it out yet why is that and I am developing kidney stones since I started this diet. I just do not know what I have to change in my diet, but I still reading and trying. Flax seeds seams not helping much too.

    • Wade Patton

      Because every rule has exceptions. I am confused as to your “BP normalized”, but then you “are not healthy”. This somewhat contradicts your “benefit” story. Is your B12 sufficient? Have you tried flaxseed? There yet can be lots of issues on WFPB because we are all a bit different, but at least the “normal” issues/causes are eliminated.

      I’m quite certain that timing of daily meals has nothing to do with my health, but have never had hypertension or even near it. Now that I’m done with animal products I expect it to get even healthier.

      • Nina Moliver

        What I mean by that is that my muscles are still very sore and inflamed. I still have not regained complete range of motion. I still have a lot of back pain, and there are a lot of daily activities that I still cannot do. I cannot sit and use a keyboard. I use voice recognition software. If I skip exercise for a few days, my blood pressure goes up again.

        Not to go into details, but trust me, my night eating was the cause of my high blood pressure and high LDL. In Ayurvedic medicine, when you eat is at least as important as what you are eating. My experience has confirmed that assessment.

        As for flaxseed, my digestive system is still too fragile to tolerate nuts or seeds. As for B12, I do take these supplements.

        • Brux

          >> If I skip exercise for a few days, my blood pressure goes up again.

          That is very interesting. Thanks for mentioning that.

        • Wade Patton

          Certainly glad you have found some improvement, and better BP’s. I’m no doctor and have no idea what level of analysis you’ve gone through. Could something be interfering with your body’s ability to utilize the B12 supplements? Still sounds seriously amiss. Do hope you find more complete recovery. Namaste

    • Matthew Smith

      Perhaps you should consider eating some melon, fresh onions, garlic, kale, and broccoli. An MSM supplement might help if your diet is not under your control.

      beets
      hibiscus tea
      seaweed
      grapefruit
      beans
      brazil nuts
      whole grains
      vegan diet
      flax seed meal

      watermelon
      are all recommended here for high blood pressure.

      • Nina Moliver

        Matthew, thank you for your efforts, but you do not know who you are talking to. I eat these foods every day. There is not a bit of junk in my diet. None of these perfect, magical foods made a bit of difference. I tried them all. I’d like to repeat: My blood pressure dropped by half, without any changes in food choices at all, just by not eating past 6:30 PM.

        When I stopped eating late, I was able to resume exercise. My muscular pains had been so severe that I had to cut back on an extensive exercise routine. My muscles could not tolerate the effort. I could do nothing but walking and a little bit of stretching. I could not swim or go to the gym. I had to eliminate half of my yoga poses. You are talking to a trained yoga teacher. I was very sick, people, believe me. I am very fortunate that I got through this illness without a stroke.

        • Matthew Smith

          I am glad you already fixed your problem by eating a early dinner. Eating vegetarian frees up a lot of cooking time, I’ve found. It is very convenient. There are also lots of packaged foods readily available for vegetarians. Being a vegetarian does not involve a great sacrifice. Shopping as a vegetarian is easier and less time consuming. I’m only holding myself back by not embracing this as a way of life for me. Many people say “buy organic if you can afford it ” Buying organic could be cheaper for many families in the long run. I am not accepting that my community accepts decisions to not eat meat and is willing to serve. There are many people who are just like you, and they should stay away from eating before bed, as weight lifters know, because this is quickly turned into fat. I am glad you found your motivation. As a yoga instructor, where do you suggest we find it? The recent economy has lead many people to keep creative schedules.

        • Fred

          Maybe you should try the unthinkable…a scoop of whey protein after exercise?

          • Nina Moliver

            I do take a whey protein supplement. It is very, very helpful in soothing my muscular inflammation.

  • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

    Unfortunately most doctors don’t even push the DASH diet that much. There are some fast advice regarding lowering the intake of salt, weight loss and exercise and BP control one month later – surprise! Still hypertension. First line treatment are diuretics. Maybe 10% risk hyperglycemia and impaired glucose tolerance as side effect, rarely even diabetes mellitus! So first line treatment can leave you with an equal or even bigger problem – but of course Big Pharma has another pill for this new condition….

  • Raphael Priesner

    The table at 2:15 makes me wonder why in rural africa the blood pressure goes up until age 30 (appr. 126/84) and only then starts to decline. Is the target of 110/70 perhaps only valid for the elderly?

  • Nicola

    My blood pressure is 110 over 60, I am 42.
    It has always been like that no matter my eating style. In my life I have been omnivore, vegetarian (22 years) and vegan (2 years). Granted, I might be just one lucky case, but I suspect it is more due to the quality of what you eat (refined vs. intact), rather than the presence of meat in your diet.

    • Wade Patton

      Mine has always been “low normal” too. I’m 48. Although I haven’t checked it or been checked in some time, I do expect now that it won’t get the “popular” SAD climb with aging. How are you with blood loss? I gave blood once, passed out onto floor. Fell out in the hospital when they tried to get me to walk too soon after a vascular surgery (accident trauma 1988) . Had to have extra IV “unit” of fluid(?) (after getting 47 stitches from auto accident, 2007) in order to stand up and walk a few steps. I always figured the “low normal” BP had to do with extra-sensitivity to blood loss. You?

  • Acreech

    Great video! I’m going to have to work some of these references into my next shared medical appointment lecture on hypertension. I have to agree with Sacks that a mostly vegetarian diet gets more takers than a wholly plant-based diet will, although I encourage my patients to go all the way plant-based.

    • Jim Felder

      A method I think would be helpful is to have them start their menu planning with the first and largest volume item of each menu being the starchy food (rice, potatoes, pasta, beans etc.), the second being the non-starchy vegetable (kale, broccoli, red peppers, lettuce, etc.) and then as the last item what small side of meat do they want to have with it. This “inside-out” order focus most of the creative energy on the plant food items and the meat gets short shrift. In this way the plant dishes usually wind up being the “fancier” dish of the meal and so has a better chance to be the best tasting. Also since it takes up the most room on the plate it is what people will get used to filling up on rather than looking at meat as the thing they fill up on.

  • Robert

    I like the last sentence in the Sacks and Kass paper: However, the low BPs of vegetarians are so striking
    that efforts must be expended to determine why they
    occur.

    • Wade Patton

      A lot of effort has been expended by previous researchers, wonder when anyone will “spill the beans” and let the general public know? Yes, it would be much easier if the “fence” of few billion-dollar industries wasn’t muddying up the water. Someday wellness has to take over, or we follow the Romans.

  • Jason

    In my experience, blood pressure is most correlated with weight and overeating (I’ve probably averaged a lower than average sodium intake, especially after being diagnosed with hypertension). Probably vegans have less hypertension because they tend to be slimmer than omnivores or flexitarians–to which group I long belonged. Since getting really serious about my BP, I’ve cut back my animal products consumption from 15% or so of total calories to well under 5%–probably 2% or so. That worked, though it took some time. I’ve found that 2-3 tbsp.of flax seed helps, and lately a couple tsp. of cocoa also seems to make a difference. Haven’t tried hibiscus tea yet, though plan to. I’ve been able to lower my BP meds from 3 pills to 1/2 pill/day.The only thing holding me up is my overweight–which I expect to get under control eventually. For me this has been a matter of avoiding falling into pleasure traps (e.g., nuts, chocolate) and watching oil consumption (I’ve cut it in half, and plan on further reducing). From eating 4 oz. of nuts/seeds a day and having 3-4 tbsp. of cooking oil or salad oil, I’ve gone to 2 oz. of nuts/seeds and 2 tbsp. of oil. From doing 50 g. of dark chocolate a day, I’m now down to 20g. (not having it every day helps). It seems that we crave or expect “goodies” which are off the diet, and psychologically need to indulge ourselves, but I can say that my indulgences today are much more healthful than in the past. Naturally, I don’t count the flax seeds as an “indulgence”–they are a necessity.

    Things which usually raise BP, besides salt: alcohol and many other drugs, tobacco, coffee (temporarily) and probably black tea. I used to over-consume all of these, but am pretty moderate now or abstemious. Overeating and not getting enough sleep. Needing to urinate and talking while getting your BP tested (too many nurses ask the patient questions while taking a reading). White Coat Hypertension–a reality for many people–which can vary widely from readings taken at home. Aerobic exercise–which can temporarily raise BP, but usually lowers it long-term. Being stressed out. Conversely, sitting all day probably also raises BP (for sure it’s not a healthy habit). Some weight lifting and isometric exercises. I would think Yoga would be beneficial, as would meditation or breathing exercises.

    Dr. Greger says we should aim for 110/70,and I think he is right–provided we can attain this naturally, without pills. But the AHA recently relaxed its guidelines for those over 60, who used to be treated above 140/90, but now are recommended to be treated at 150/90. Perhaps the side effects of HT medication are worse than we’ve been told? I’m now 120-130/70 or so, and so I’m inclined to wean myself totally off the medication so long as I stay below 140 systolic (diastolic has never been much of a problem). An honest 140/75 without pills is probably more healthful than 125/70 with pills, though that’s just my hunch. The main thing to realize is what Dr. Greger says, that the meds just cover up the problem and don’t address the underlying causes.

    • Wade Patton

      New here huh? You don’t need oil or any sugar-at all. Nuts are brilliantly good for almost everything. Any food that is not whole (white flour, sugar, oil the main offenders and compose bulk of all processed foods) is suspect and likely to be linked to poor health and longevity outcomes. Also generally speaking, but the main thrust of the research discussed here; almost every whole plant food exhibits health promoting properties, whereas practically every single product of animal origin carries with it higher rates of sickness, disease, toxicity, dementia, and mortality.

      Stick around watch another 50 or 60 videos, read the articles. Several years of reports right here-pushing 1,500+ indexed topics. Check out the local search and topic list. Best.

      • Jason

        For some reason, my posting above led both you and Brux to think I am either naively unscientific or inexperienced with veganism or whole plant foods. I was macrobiotic in the 70’s. True, I later departed from this diet, partly due to social pressure, but have leaned towards vegetarianism–or at least pesco-vegetarianism for more than 40 years. I left the SAD around 1970. I’m hardly a newbie, and have watched probably a hundred videos here and also have waded through all of Plant Positives videos on YT. I am familiar with most of the arguments, and generally agree with the whole plant people.

        Addressing your particular comments. Yes, we don’t “need” either oil or sugar…though many healthy people without hypertension do consume some. A good example would be the Sardinians and some Greeks–both of whom live in Blue Zones. I believe they eat some olive oil. I’ve gone sugarless for many years (sugar is the bete-noire of the Macrobiotic diet), and virtually the only sugar I ever eat is contained in 80%+ cacao dark chocolate (it is difficult to eat pure chocolate). In any event, I don’t believe in absolutes. I can assure you that sugar is neither the cause of my overweight, nor my hypertension. Oil may be somewhat of a factor, and again, I don’t use it gratuitously but in small amts. for sauteeing vegetables. But oil does make the food tastier, which is not exactly what I need–so I’m cognizant of oil’s danger. Still, when the Mediterranean diet often uses four tbsp. of olive oil per day, I think I should be able to get by with two. That would still be less than what most people get. Nuts are brilliant, but in my case probably a bigger temptation, and hence a danger. I’ve been known to gobble more than a cup of walnuts or almonds. That’s 800 calories or more. We see that everybody is different; some would never eat this many nuts! White flour I never use, and in fact eat almost all grains in whole form–I rarely even have a pumpernickel bread.

        • Wade Patton

          Fair enough, sorry for the mis-read. I eat a lot of nuts. But I don’t count. WFPB is a bit new to me although I did go semi-fruitarian with 80/10/10 a few years back. Been studying nutrition and integrative medicine and natural healing off and on for a dozen years or more. WFPB has had the biggest impact on me and I don’t see ever straying. As a “new convert” can be a bit zealous. Cheers.

          • Jason

            I understand the zeal and approve it. I also appreciate your fervor.

            You probably don’t count calories because you’re not overweight–I’m guessing. My problem is that I eat constantly, albeit mostly calorie-sparse foods. In other words, I don’t restrict myself to three meals, or even three with two snacks…the ‘snacks’ have sort of taken over, as sprawling suburbs can take over all space between two cities. Part of the problem is that I’m quite sedentary when not exercising. I think overeating is often tied in with being sedentary (in my case usually at the computer). We must remember to get up and do things. At least I have worked myself up to ten hours/week of moderate aerobic exercise and if I’m lucky, an hour of resistance training. That has helped a lot to keep my weight from being in the obese range (though I’m close),and has kept my BP somewhat well behaved.

            Despite the exhortations to eat more protein as we age, I seem to be tending in the opposite direction, moving from a macronutrient ratio of about 50-15-35 (carb-protein-fat) to something like 60-10-30 (it is easy to get 30% of calories from fat with the amt. of nuts/seeds and chocolate I eat). Going to 80-10-10 would be a bit of a challenge, but I’m already there as regards protein. I’d just have to cut down nuts, etc. drastically. I already eat gobs of fruit, and it contributes the largest caloric share of any food group–by far. It was comforting to see that fruits got a clean bill of health in one of Dr. Greger’s recent videos.

          • Wade Patton

            I was just under the BMI threshold for “overweight”, started WFPB and dropped 20# in a few months without counting. I do measure my weight almost every day and keep a chart (great little program does the work), but I don’t count any calories or grams or ratios because I haven’t found it necessary. I look at lables when eating something that comes with one, just to see that there are no surprises or hidden ingredients. Was eating four or five times daily, job change has me down to three plus snacks. Am active, but not aerobically working out yet. Get a mile or two of walking accumulation throughout the day. Cheers!

    • Brux

      >> In my experience, blood pressure is most correlated with weight and overeating

      Sure, blame the victim There are many many people who have high BP that are skinny as a rail, my dad is one of them.
      This kind of post is a big problem with this website, and it kind of undermines all the scientific
      work and tone Dr Gregor and others work towards when someone comes in and makes statements
      like this that are unqualified, from their experience. We have science because “from someone’s
      experience” has been found not to work. From my experience I feel lucky when I wear my
      favorite underwear with the holes in it! ;-)

      >> Probably vegans have less hypertension because they tend to be slimmer than omnivores or flexitarians

      Probably? There are overweight vegans too, and there are vegans with high blood pressure.
      When are people going to really read and listen to the comments, remarks and articles here instead
      of reading into them what they want to hear or believe? Even the strict diet of rice, fruit and veggies
      that was talked about in some of these videos only helped about 60% of people.

      You wonder why people don’t switch to veganism, because they cannot. You have to give up eating
      as you know it, which everything in one’s life is habituated against, plus when you are addicted to bad
      American/processed foods it is like kicking heroin.

      I guess it is my problem and I should just ignore posts that are unscientific or even wrong, but I
      sure with the owners and moderators of this sight would be quicker to comment on certain things
      that are said here instead of tacitly approving it by saying nothing.

      Just a comment tag that something has or has not been determined yet, and I don’t think
      overeating is the cause of high BP, or else it would not be the difficult thing to deal with that
      it in fact is.

      • Jason

        I don’t understand your vitriolic response, Brux. By naming overweight as one of the chief contributors to hypertension I am only repeating the conventional (scientific) wisdom. Many authorities state that simply reducing one’s weight by 10% can have profound effects on blood pressure. Sure, there are “many people” skinny as a rail with hypertension, but this is not the most common pattern. In my case I have taken daily readings at home for three years and my BP is strongly correlated with my weight. I am not saying that weight is the sole determiner, and in fact listed many other factors. I don’t think even a vegan diet–even a whole plant foods diet–eaten to excess would be healthful. Still, I think it would be better than other diets eaten to excess, and would have beneficial effect on BP. I also think that a vegan whole foods diet leads to weight loss compared with other diets. I do accept the findings shared at this site and am not pushing any “agenda” counter to this site, which I consider most helpful. But I do take issue with two things you said: that calling out overeating as a problem is “blaming the victim” and that people cannot switch to veganism because they are addicted to the SAD, which is addictive like heroin. In both cases this is a choice (I do believe we have free will, else why bother with sites like this?). I doubt the SAD is so addictive, as there are many millions of people who choose alternatively. Certainly many people realize its harms.

        • Brux

          You edited your post, which is fine, but you did not say that at first.

          • facts at any size

            some people don’t like facts, it gets in the way of political correctness, if obesity is a risk factor so be it.

  • Carbing Up

    My partner and I have been vegan for over 5 years now, and lately have been gravitating towards a higher carb, whole foods diet (still vegan). My blood pressure has been consistently perfect over the years (105-110/65-70ish), but my partner’s systolic pressure is consistently in the low 130s now (down from the high 140s when we were eating more fat and junk food). His diastolic is in the low 70s, so the gap between the two is quite large! I know isolated systolic hypertension is of concern in meat-eaters, but what to make of this when one has been plant-based for 5 years? We’ve only gravitated towards a healthier plant-based diet recently, mind you, so perhaps his number will keep decreasing, but if it doesn’t, should we be concerned? Perhaps I’ll discuss adding ground flaxseed to his diet with him.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      I suggest trying flax and incorporating more of the other foods Dr. Greger mentioned at the end of the video, as they have been found to help reduce blood pressure. Watch out for high salt intake and make sure to incorporate other lifestyle factors such as physical activity. If you’ve only gravitated toward a healthful diet of late I’d give it some time. Interesting how once the “junk” was avoided blood pressure came down. Keep up with that! Let us know if anything worked and of course it’s always a good idea to check in with his doctor.

  • Kitty

    Thanks so much for this video! I took my mother to the hospital last night for high blood pressure. She decided at the hospital that she would rather go vegan than add another medication (her doctor’s plan). I can’t wait to show this to her. The video on amla powder helped her avoid metformin (it works wonderfully), so she trusts the information here.

    I started getting a migraine at the hospital last night, but fortunately I carry some ginger powder with me now (instead of Imitrex). I learned about it here. These videos make a real difference in people’s lives.

    • Wade Patton

      Great result. I’m quite hoping to get my mom to adjust her ways such _before_ an emergency trip. I did get her to make a vegan spaghetti sauce and whole wheat pasta one night. But she had a pork roast the next weekend (i visit most weekends). Every little bit helps I suppose. Glad you had a good result, hope she gets results quickly to reinforce the ideas and changes.

    • tbatts666

      Change takes baby steps. Be careful with dropping the diabetes meds all of a sudden.

      It’s probably a good idea to encourage your mother to watch blood pressure and blood sugar at home. Lots of people keep a diary.

      Lots of people don’t like metformin because it makes their tummy upset. I have heart that this side effect usually subsides in a few weeks.

      What she is going through must be scary… she isn’t alone.

      Support and love and compassion and what not.

      • Kitty

        Thanks. She actually started the amla instead of even starting the metformin, and it’s working great.

        She is keeping track of her BP. I’m afraid that with an improved diet that her medication might push it too low, so she is watching it closely.

  • Trent Erney

    Acknowledgments
    OK- I like the texture of ground flax and do add it to frozen banana/fruit smoothies, whole grain pancakes.
    Read the publication (appears well done).
    Do need to temper with the following Acknowledgments from publication:

    We gratefully acknowledge the continued encouragement of Kelley
    Fitzpatrick and the Flax Council of Canada. We thank Canada Bread,
    the Canadian International Grain Institute (Winnipeg, Canada), and the
    Food Development Centre (Portage La Prairie, Canada) in preparing
    the foods for this trial. The flaxseed or wheat was provided by Glanbia
    Nutritionals Inc. We also thank J. Alejandro Austria for distributing
    food to patients during this trial, and the Office for Clinical Research at
    St Boniface Hospital for their help in the conduct of this trial.

    Sources of Funding

    The work was supported through grants from Flax2015, the Canola
    Council of Canada, the Agri-food Research and Development
    Initiative, and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. Indirect
    research support was obtained from St Boniface Hospital Foundation.

  • Don J. Brix

    Are transcripts of the videos available somewhere on the site?

  • My son is 24 and has hypertension, partially hereditary and partially lifestyle. I have forwarded many of your videos to him in an effort to help him change the bad habits he picked up in college. Thanks for all you do to improve our health!

  • Kim

    I checked my BP today. It was 109/71. I’m so excited coz that’s the lowest it’s been in years. For years on the paleo diet, my systolic bp was constantly in the 130’s. I’m sure the 20 lbs I’ve lost this year due to increased exercise has helped though. I wish I’d checked it 2-3 mths ago when I was still eating meat to see the impact independent of the weight loss. A month ago it was ~118/78 (after cutting meat but before cutting eggs & dairy). I cut back on eggs and dairy about 2 weeks ago. I can’t wait to check changes in my lipid panel in 2-3 mths, now that I’m at 100% plant-based.

    • Brux

      When you say cut back what do you really mean, and what do you really eat?

  • Mateusz

    I eat whole foods vegan diet and my blood pressure is still high ;;/ time for me to buy coffin

    • Jason

      Depends how high your BP is whether you need to buy coffin just yet. Several things could cause elevated BP even on a WFV diet.

      Sodium (salt)
      lack of exercise
      overweight/overeating (try to get your BMI down below 28 if you are overweight/obese)
      Coffee/alcohol/tobacco/other drugs
      Chronic kidney disease

      My own BP dropped sufficiently so that I was able to cut down on meds after going vegan–this happened in a few months, but prior to that I was 90-95% vegan. It can take a lot of time. How long have you been WFV?

    • Brux

      A lot of people have that problem, and the promises of the WFPB people really ring hollow when you see both the people it does not help or the people who are not WFPB and live a long time. Things are not so simple as people are desperate for them to be.

  • David Elmes

    I solved my blood pressure problems by getting the right information about EXACTLY what hbp is……..what causes it?…….had hbp for 10 years and used drugs to control it…..until …..i read an article on minerals and the effects on the body if you dont get them……………CALCIUM was ths answer to my hbp problems……..i was told by alternatve medicine doctors that i either had a) the beginings of kidney failure…..no…had them checked and they were ok….or B) a major calcium deficiecy in my body……..i took the supplements for 3 months and i dont have hbp anymore………its under control……which is much better than artificially controlling the problem with drugs…..

  • Beverly Alexander

    WHAT IF NOTHING WORKS?
    I’ve been WFPB for about 7 years. Breakfast is often fruit, unsweetened almond milk, raw regular rolled oats, with some powdered ginger or cinnamon. Lunch is veggies and beans or veg soup and salad. Dinner is the same. Eat lots of kale, little oil, little salt, little sugar. If I snack, it’s European rye with home made blackberry jam, or Mary’s gone crackers with hummus, or … sometimes biscotti with a bit of chocolate on the bottom. I’m 5’1″. I used to weigh over 180, but lost 40 lbs when I changed to low SOS plant based – but have trouble losing the next 20 lbs or so. Here’s my question: I STILL have high blood pressure. I stopped taking the meds when, after a long fast (25 days), I got the BP down to 120s – 130s, but it’s up again – often 150s – 160s (diastolic is 60s-80s). I just started using a CPAP machine a couple of weeks ago and hoping that helps, but I’m really puzzled that my high bp has been so resistant. Kidneys test okay; I do an hour of Pilates 3X week, meditate… Any ideas?

  • nutritionaltherapistcorey

    High blood pressure pills almost killed my father. They got it too low apparently. Its a scary thing to watch a family member go through.

  • Nicholas

    Is the high blood medication Losartan safe

  • muguet

    I am new to the WFPBD. My mother struggles with hypertension and I just found out I have prehypertension. I decided to adopt this lifestyle firstly to encourage her to make changes but I soon realised, after taking my blood pressure, that I may need as much help as she does.
    Thank you so much Dr. Greger (and your team), for making all of this research available. I am looking forward for better health for hopefully both my mother and I.

  • Dr Greger, time allowing ,can you comment on this new study?
    http://www.childrenshospitaloakland.org/main/news/324.aspx

  • Daveeda Jane Brown

    Shalom! I have been diagnosed with Hypertension I used to be vegan three years ago, I am taking Norvasc 5 mg. I am trying to go back vegan, I have cut out ALL Starch and Meat and Pork. I been watching your videos on YouTube. Can Plant Based Vegan reverse Hypertension and High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease. I am taking a Vitamin C Herbal Powder by Markus Rothkranz I am walking and doing exercise and drinking lots of water.

    • Brux

      >> Markus Rothkranz

      Why do people fall for this scams on the Internet. So you are thinking that you were fine 3 years ago, and in eating something in your last 3 years worth of diet it made you develop hypertension? What do you suppose that would be? Did you have some kind of particularly unhealthy diet. If you have this hypothesis that would be what to look at an analyze. Is it possible to get high blood pressure in 3 years because of diet? Maybe? Do you have genetic predisposition? Did you have a lot of stress or some health problems? Did you activity level change? I troubleshoot systems for a living and we always ask … what changed? I think going around looking for magic cures from unqualified people is not optimal. What does your doctor say? When you read about hypertension they do not even know what causes it, and the authorities argue about everything. It is the perfect health space for scammers to suck people in with a semi-logical story and get them to try things that may not really help, or be indicated, or may even keep you from trying something that might work? Not a good answer I know, but even the rice doctor Kempner’s routine did not work for 30% of patients. So many things in life are not just about diet.

      • Daveeda Jane Brown

        I began to be stress and not exercising, my doctor said I have hypertension I think also I started back eating processed acid based foods, I used to use Dr. Sebi’s Products that really helped with weight loss, when I was juicing and making smoothies and eating plant based only I was much healthier. I don’t want to be on medicine what so ever so today I made wild rice with homemade gravy using Teff Flour. And I did not get any ingestion perfect digestive feeling.

    • Thea

      Daveeda: I’m sorry to hear you are having trouble with hypertension, high blood pressure and heart disease. As you saw in this video and other videos on this site, you have a good chance of fixing your problems on a whole plant food diet. So, this means no meat, dairy and eggs. Also, leaving out the highly processed plant foods like oils. Also, you may consider leaving out salt or cutting way back. On the happy side, you get to include LOTS of food from beans, grains, vegetables, fruit and fungus/mushrooms.
      .
      I don’t think you want to cut out starch. Starch may be your best friend! You could check out the book The Starch Solution, which is consistent with the information here on NutritionFacts and includes recipes in the back of the book. Another great option for you would be the book “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure” by Esselstyn. It also has recipes at the back of the book. Or if you would like some free guidance on-line, I can point you to a program that will give you 21 days of meal plans and extra help on implementing it all.
      .
      The thing to remember is that diet can do wonders for many people, but it is not a magic pill. It is easier to prevent a health problem in the first place than to try to reverse the problem after you have it. So, while it is very worth giving a healthy diet a try, no one can promise results. But I can’t think of a downside to trying. In general, the worst that would happen is that you prevent other diseases from complicating your life even further. With your exercise also happening, I think you are heading in the right direction!
      .
      One important point to make for someone in your situation is that if you are on certain types of medications for the high blood pressure, you will need to work closely with your doctor because sometime diet works very well, very fast. To be safe, you would have to know when to get off your medications right away.
      .
      Hope that helps.

  • Etienne-Emile Ciopenhauer

    I used to have HBP. When I went vegetarian, it went into prehypertensive. Now that I’ve been on a plant-based diet for about 6 months, my latest result was 117/80!

  • Bing Ning

    i think a good blood pressure monitor can helps a lot,im 41 ,i still it every day. Echo80 :Echo Blood Pressure(BP) measure and monitor for adult,pediatric, and neonatal. It most stores 300 records of common user and 358 of ambulatory Blood Pressure data. Every record includes the detailed measure time, systolic blood pressure,diastolic blood pressure, mean blood pressure, pulse rate, error message and record number..

    here is their email just in case:sales@meditech.cn

  • nicolestier

    Please advise if it is good to take a baby aspirin daily. I hear this repeatedly. And if we should be taking it, who should take it and at what age? Thanks!

  • Kayli

    Dear Dr. Gregor, I’m a vegan for the past 9 month and was a vegetarian for 20 years. I’m on blood pressure meds. I would like to get off these medication. I eat a good diet and add a Tablespoon of flax seeds in my smoothie every day. What eles can I do? Thank you. Kayli

  • NFModeratorKatie

    Hi Kayli – Please check your email! :)

  • Jeffrey D

    I was wondering what role heredity plays in high blood pressure. I have been on a plant based diet for 4 years and live a very active lifestyle (lots of cardio and yoga 2x a week). Over the past five months I have significantly cut out processed foods and try to stick with a whole foods plant based diet. I have also recently (4 weeks ago) cut out alcohol.
    Still on my BP meds (5mg of lisinopril and still 125/82), what else can I do?
    Does heredity play that big of a role as well?

    • Thea

      Jeffrey D: How is your salt intake?

      • Jeffrey D

        I don’t add salt too often, but I’m sure it could be better. That’s one place I could start. I’ve thought about keeping a diet journal. Maybe that would help me keep track of my salt intake.

        • Thea

          Jeffrey D: I think a diary is an excellent idea! Some other ideas:
          .
          Dr. Greger’s book, How Not To Die, has an entire chapter specifically on high blood pressure. Seeing all that information in one place may give you a list of tweaks you could do to what sounds like a pretty healthy diet.
          .
          If you give a no-added-salt, whole plant food diet a real try and you still don’t get results, you might consider doing a phone consultation with Dr. Michael Klaper, a well respected WFPB doctor who I think has been successful helping people with problems like this.
          .
          If you start to tweak your diet in ways that you expect to affect your blood pressure, I’ve seen experts recommend that you work closely with a doctor because sometimes the diet changes are so effective, blood pressure can drop very quickly and medications have to be adjusted just as quickly.
          .
          I’m not as familiar with high blood pressure as other issues, but if high blood pressure is at related in some people with obesity, and if you have a weight problem, I have some really great weight loss suggestions. Just let me know if you want my grand list of weight loss resources and ideas.
          .
          I’m not an expert, so you can take all this for what it’s worth. I hope I gave some ideas to help.

  • Ron Ninon

    As
    a pescavegan who likes a little fish (no more than twice a week) I read
    this carefully. Would it not be fair to emphasize the risk from seafood
    alone was (only) a 5% increase (HR = 1.05) compared to a (large) 30%
    increase (HR = 1.3) for the meat eating group and “Seafood was
    associated with an increased risk of hypertension in HPFS and NHS II,
    but not NHS.” – so in two groups but NOT at all in the latter group NHS =
    “Nurses’ Health Study of n = 62 273 women. Thus it is somewhat
    contentious as there are contradictory results across three cohorts.
    Your quote of the pooled food type result (HR = 1.3 = 30% increased
    risk) is strongly biased by the meat (non-fish) eating groups. But
    still, “In contrast to our hypothesis, we found a weak but significant
    trend toward an increased risk of hypertension with increasing seafood
    consumption.” – Yeah, a 5% increased risk. But come on, this is a very
    small increase, and again, it was NOT found in one group of 62,000 (!!)
    nurses…but was in another group of 89,000 nurses (not surprisingly as
    greater N means more stat “power” – more chance of getting a
    statistically significant result). Quibbles aside…what of the
    advantages of eating some fish?? Can you say what they are? As you might
    say…”I MEAN HEY! LET’S GET SOME PERSPECTIVE HERE!!!”. :v!

  • Ron Ninon

    Test…what happened to my careful comment??

  • Ron Ninon

    In your recent facebook post on this you wrote:
    “Consumption of any
    animal flesh [red meat, poultry or seafood] at least 1 serving/day was
    associated with an increased hypertension risk” in three large Harvard
    studies (Pubmed link). How might a plant-based diet benefit for blood pressure? Click below to find out:”

    As a pescavegan who likes a little fish (no more than twice a week) I read
    this carefully. Would it not be fair to emphasize the risk from seafood
    alone was (only) a 5% increase (HR = 1.05) compared to a (large) 30%
    increase (HR = 1.3) for the meat eating group and “Seafood was
    associated with an increased risk of hypertension in HPFS and NHS II,
    but not NHS.” – so in two groups but NOT at all in the latter group NHS =
    “Nurses’ Health Study of n = 62 273 women. Thus it is somewhat
    contentious as there are contradictory results across three cohorts.
    Your quote of the pooled food type result (HR = 1.3 = 30% increased
    risk) is strongly biased by the meat (non-fish) eating groups. But
    still, “In contrast to our hypothesis, we found a weak but significant
    trend toward an increased risk of hypertension with increasing seafood
    consumption.” – Yeah, a 5% increased risk. But come on, this is a very
    small increase, and again, it was NOT found in one group of 62,000 (!!)
    nurses…but was in another group of 89,000 nurses (not surprisingly as
    greater N means more stat “power” – more chance of getting a
    statistically significant result). Quibbles aside…what of the
    advantages of eating some fish?? Can you say what they are? As you might
    say…”I MEAN HEY! LET’S GET SOME PERSPECTIVE HERE!!!”. :) Any comment please?

  • Newme

    After a lifetime of being overweight I watched the Forks over Knives video & decided to go for it. So for 4+ years I’ve been WFPB (no oil). Basically off of 5 (all) prescriptions in 3 weeks, 3 just for blood pressure, but I had lost only about 12-15 pounds! After 4 years BMI went from 44 to 25. Blood work greatly improved in 1st 3 months: Total Cholesterol 220-> 150 (now 115), Triglycerides 172 -> 114 (now 81), Glucose 106 -> 88 (now 79) , without prescriptions.

    What I need is a search engine that already assumes I’ve been WFPB for 4+ years. When I search on current websites and search for my energy, sleeping, breathing & thinking problems, I’m in an endless loop of how WFPB (no oil) diets would help. Thanks!

    • Thea

      Newme: Congratulations on how much progress you have made so far! You are indeed a new you. :-) I have some information about healthy weight loss on a whole plant food based diet. I hope this helps.

      The nice thing about your situation is that you already understand half the battle. I’m guessing from your post that you already understand about the importance of a whole plant food diet and have at least a sense of how to implement it. That’s half the learning curve. The other half is understanding the concept of calorie density and how to apply it to weight loss so that you don’t get hungry and you still get all the nutrients you need.
      .
      Dr. Greger covers calorie density (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/eating-more-to-weigh-less/ ), but not in enough detail in my opinion for someone who wants to apply it for the first time. Doug Lisle, one of the experts in the Forks Over Knives documentary, gives a great ‘calorie density 101’ talk officially called: How To Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind. I have watched the following talk from Doug Lisle several times and think very highly of it. And it’s free!!! And it’s entertaining! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAdqLB6bTuQ
      .
      As good as Doug Lisle’s talk is, it pretty much just gives you a solid understanding of the concept, but not enough practical information in my opinion. For starting to get the practical information, I recommend a talk from Jeff Novick,Calorie Density: “How to Eat More, Weigh Less, and Live Longer,” http://www.jeffnovick.com/RD/Calorie_Density.html If talks aren’t your thing, the following article from Jeff covers a lot of the same information: http://www.jeffnovick.com/RD/Articles/Entries/2012/5/20_A_Common_Sense_Approach_To_Sound_Nutrition.html
      Be sure to pay attention to the charts.
      .
      Chef AJ tells people who want to lose weight to eat “left of the red line”, where I believe the red line is on a diagram of hers representing is about 650 (or so) calories per pound. And “left of the red line” is all the whole plant foods which are below 650 calories per pound. The above article from Jeff Novick gives you a good sense of which foods are “left of the red line” by food category. But if you want to look up the calorie density of specific foods, you can find many foods on the following site: http://nutritiondata.self.com/ Most foods on that site have the option of choose an ‘ounce’ as a size. Then you can multiply by 16 to get the calories per pound.
      .
      It would be perfectly respectable if you are one of those people who are just not interested in the theory. You just want to dive right in and want straight how-to information. If you would rather not think about any of that (or start with the theory and then move onto this step), I have one more suggestion that Dr. Greger also recommends in his book, How Not To Die. Consider going through the free program from PCRM (Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine) called 21 Day Kickstart. The program will “hold your hand” for 21 days, including meal plans, recipes, videos, inspirational messages, and a forum (moderated by a very respected RD) where you can ask questions.
      http://www.pcrm.org/kickstartHome/
      (Click the green “Register Now” button.)
      At the end of the program, you will have a very good practical knowledge about how to eat with healthy and “low” (normal for most people) calorie density.
      .
      Another recommendation that Dr. Greger and I share is to get Jeff Novick’s Fast Food videos for tasty, affordable, fast and healthy calorie density recipes. Also, on-line and free is a YouTube series of recipes/cooking shows called something like Chef AJ and The Dietician. I know that Chef AJ will not steer you wrong in terms of weight loss and providing accurate nutrition information.
      .
      How’s that for some tips? If you give these ideas a try, please report back and let us know how it went.