How to Treat High Blood Pressure with Diet

Image Credit: Sally Plank

What to Eat to Cure High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure ranks as the number-one risk factor for death and disability in the world. In my video, How to Prevent High Blood Pressure with Diet, I showed how a plant-based diet may prevent high blood pressure. But what do we do if we already have it? That’s the topic of How to Treat High Blood Pressure with Diet

The American Heart Association (AHA), the American College of Cardiology (ACC, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend lifestyle modification as the first-line treatment. If that doesn’t work, patients may be prescribed a thiazide diuretic (commonly known as a water pill) before getting even more meds until their blood pressure is forced down. Commonly, people will end up on three drugs, though researchers are experimenting with four at a time. Some patients even end up on five different meds.

What’s wrong with skipping the lifestyle modification step and jumping straight to the drugs? Because drugs don’t treat the underlying cause of high blood pressure yet can cause side effects. Less than half of patients stick with even the first-line drugs, perhaps due to such adverse effects as erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and muscle cramps.

What are the recommended lifestyle changes? The AHA, ACC, and CDC recommend controlling one’s weight, salt, and alcohol intake, engaging in regular exercise, and adopting a DASH eating plan.

The DASH diet has been described as a lactovegetarian diet, but it’s not. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy, but only a reduction in meat consumption. Why not even more plant-based? We’ve known for decades that animal products are significantly associated with blood pressure. In fact, if we take vegetarians and give them meat (and pay them enough to eat it!), we can watch their blood pressures go right up.

I’ve talked about the benefits to getting blood pressure down as low as 110 over 70. But who can get that low? Populations centering their diets around whole plant foods. Rural Chinese have been recorded with blood pressures averaging around 110 over 70 their whole lives. They eat plant-based day-to-day, with meat only eaten on special occasions.

How do we know it’s the plant-based nature of their diets that was so protective, though?

Because in the Western world, as the American Heart Association has pointed out, the only folks getting down that low on average were those eating strictly plant-based diets, coming in at about 110 over 65.

So, were the creators of the DASH diet just not aware of this landmark research done by Harvard’s Frank Sacks? No, they were aware. The Chair of the Design Committee that came up with the DASH diet was Dr. Sacks himself. In fact, the DASH diet was explicitly designed with the number-one goal of capturing the blood pressure-lowering benefits of a vegetarian diet, yet including enough animal products to make it “palatable” to the general public.

You can see what they were thinking. Just like drugs never work—unless you actually take them, diets never work—unless you actually eat them. So, what’s the point of telling people to eat strictly plant-based if few people will do it? By soft-peddling the truth and coming up with some kind of compromise diet, then on a population scale maybe you’d do more. Ok, but tell that to the thousand U.S. families a day that lose a loved one to high blood pressure. Maybe it’s time to start telling the American public the truth.

Sacks himself found that the more dairy the lactovegetarians ate, the higher their blood pressures. But, they had to make the diet acceptable. Research has since shown that the added plant foods—not the changes in oil, sweets, or dairy—appear to be the critical components of the DASH diet. So, why not eat a diet composed entirely of plant foods?

A recent meta-analysis showed vegetarian diets are good, but strictly plant-based diets may be better. In general, vegetarian diets provide protection against cardiovascular diseases, some cancers, and even death. But, completely plant-based diets seem to offer additional protection against obesity, hypertension, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease mortality. Based on a study of more than 89,000 people, those eating meat-free diets appear to cut their risk of high blood pressure in half. But, those eating meat-free, egg-free, and dairy-free may have 75% lower risk.

What if we’re already eating a whole food, plant-based diet, no processed foods, no table salt, yet still not hitting 110 over 70? Here are some foods recently found to offer additional protection: Just a few tablespoons of ground flaxseeds a day was 2 to 3 times more potent than instituting an aerobic endurance exercise program and induced one of the most powerful, antihypertensive effects ever achieved by a diet-related intervention. Watermelon also appears to be extraordinary, but you’d have to eat around 2 pounds a day. Sounds like my kind of medicine, but it’s hard to get year-round (at least in my neck of the woods). Red wine may help, but only if the alcohol has been taken out. Raw vegetables or cooked? The answer is both, though raw may work better. Beans, split peas, chickpeas, and lentils may also help a bit.

Kiwifruits don’t seem to work at all, even though the study was funded by a kiwifruit company. Maybe they should have taken direction from the California Raisin Marketing Board, which came out with a study showing raisins can reduce blood pressure, but only, apparently, compared to fudge cookies, Cheez-Its, and Chips Ahoy.

The DASH diet is one of the best studied, and it 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:

In health,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

159 responses to “What to Eat to Cure High Blood Pressure

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  1. Does anyone know if Neem is safe for toothpaste? It has been suggested to me to use a
    deem-based toothpaste for cavity issues, bacteria, etc. but maybe this isn’t given a green
    light by you, Dr. Greger?

    Thank you to anyone with info. on neem, and also wondering if safe internally, as an herb.

    1. Hi Nan

      Neem is an Ayurvedic herb and very safe and effective for toothpaste use, as it has strong anti-baceterial properties. It is also commonly used as a healing herb, internally, for all sorts of conditions. If you would like to use it, be sure to do some reading and research about how neem is used in Ayurveda, go gentle as it is strong, and simply focus on whole forms of the neem, not extracts for most benefits, and last but not least, get your neem from high quality, trusted sources.

      1. Hi Evita, I’m not saying you are wrong but I like to underline ones more that Ayurvedic is a whole system, more then only to cure people if they are sick – it’s more a whole live system comparing with the TCM from China. I know a lot of people they tried only parts of Ayurvedic and have been disapointed that the success was not like expected. What I like to say is, if you keep eating the wrong nutritions, like meat, fat, oil, dairy products etc. you can take Neem toothpaste as much as you like there will be not a big effect. Ayurveda also works with detoxification, is based on a plant nutrition with a lot of spices, exercises and meditation and lots of more… ;-)

    2. I looked into neem based toothpastes. There are no ingredients that will help you fight tooth decay. Furthermore it is harmful in the sense one might use it thereby giving up the one chemical that actually halts and reverses early tooth decay; fluoride.

  2. I would like to confirm , whole foods plant based diet does indeed lower blood pressure . I have seen a huge drop in my own BP in the last two years . It took about 3 months but I am sure I also made many errors in my diet back when I started .
    from my understanding , USA has a holiday today , not sure why . Happy holiday!

      1. Unfortunately not independent of multinational companies. Owned by them instead. The land of the free has been sold out

    1. Although I am.still 100# overweight, with a 24# loss over several months, my BP dropped from a high in Oct of 175/75 (I was in pain?) To average month of December of 101/70. Since my weight has not changed that much, I assume it is the change to plant based? My heart rate was 110 a few years ago. Now, it is averaging 66 BOM. YEAH! WFPB.

  3. Well since studies of have shown that the vast majority of people who attempt to follow a vegan diet cannot stay on it it seems to me then that the dash diet is a good compromise

    1. If your health is about compromise, have at it! Personally, I do not find it difficult to follow a vegan diet based on whole plant-based products.

      However, it will be 100 to 500 hundred years before we likely really understand all the details about what is best for us. By focusing on whole plant-based products in my mind I am playing the odds but I can not promise you that eggs, wild fish or grass-fed meat in moderation may cause disease.

      There remains much literature depicting wild fish as nutritious. I do not consume wild or farm fish. Wild fish certainly has been proven to often contain microplastics and other toxins. Farm fish too often has toxins and antibiotics. If you think you will become brain dead by not consuming fish or fish oil have it.

      Consuming a whole plant-based diet does take some reading and I suggest first the book by Dr Greger, “How Not To Die”. Other good books are by Drs Ornish, Esselstyn, Fuhrman and McDougall.
      The China Study has been criticized but having lived in China for two years I think it is worth reading.

      1. Speaking of fish, several years ago the Jewish community wondered if the worms found in sardines were kosher (it was decided they were). Yuck, nevertheless! Back in the day, one of our cats liked canned mackerel, so I’d have a few containers on hand. She might have played with the still-live worm that was wiggling away toward the top of one of the cans, but I didn’t give her a chance.

        1. A worm survived canning? Maybe one day those worms will take over the world! I’m sure I couldn’t survive being canned!!!

      2. I agree with you but there is a lots of more things to consider speaking about the past. How often the people run behind a deer or mose and din’t catch it – they must starving or eating only a lots of berries or plants. Also they dind’t have such comfortable houses like today, they didn’t drink regulare juice, wine, beere… In my thinking, they needed a lots of more energy to survive the days and had also a lots more time to detox there body by eating nothing. Of course, if you are wandering due the forrest, day by day, hours for hours, by sun, wind and rain and you getting hungry… finding a nest of a bird and eating his eggs you will not die you will live. But jumping in the care to drive at the next store, catching 10 eggs from the shelf, putting it in a pan with more then a drop of oil… that’s killing the people today! ;-)

      3. Great input Richard,
        It’s going to take a long time before we can figure out the absolutes in this picture. Environmental pollutants seem to be an overriding cause of much of the disease in this country. Our diets feed the problem, no question,… But when I think of the controversy that Dr. Burkett raised about fiber, and how his findings, although indirectly raising fiber to “miracle-like” status, could not be replicated later…. It’s only when you take in the environmental toxins factor that everything starts to be explainable synergistically in the big pic. I recommend Dr. Campbell’s new book… Whole. He explains the magnitude of deception within the food industry better than anything I could’ve imagined .

    2. That’s changed as plenty of people can stay on a vegan diet these days because there is so much more knowledge of whats available than only a few years ago. Even the cafes are providing vegan food.

      In fact I found going to vegetarian 22 years ago was a lot harder than going to vegan 3 years ago. Much has changed in recent years. So well worth a try.

    3. That’s changed as plenty of people can stay on a vegan diet these days because there is so much more knowledge of whats available than only a few years ago. Even the cafes are providing vegan food.

      In fact I found going to vegetarian 22 years ago was a lot harder than going to vegan 3 years ago. Much has changed in recent years. So well worth a try

    4. Don’t know about “vast majority”. Our family, my wife and I in particular, pay close attention to the journal reports from NEJM, BMC, Nutrition Facts.Org, primatologist Jane Goodall what is the human digestive system designed for, etc. etc. Need “protein”? Gorilla’s are strict herbivores male Silverback is as strong as all get out, 98% our DNA.

      Do note by far the most food data – millions of participants – is from the “Mediterranean Diet”. Recently reported a Spanish study to reduce diabetes risk 81%. Amazing, but do note it is not 100%. It’s primarily plant food with some fish and in some areas cheese, yogurt. Now the “Mediterranean Diet” is probably not “optimum” just a whole lot better than others. 7th Day Adventist reports the vegetarians did better than the animal food eaters, and the vegetarian diet + fish did better yet for cancer.

      For decades I did 2 eggs & a bacon for breakfast, hamburger for lunch, usually meat/fish for supper. For 10 years + we’ve been on a plant food centric + 2 fish food/week diet and yes I did get colon cancer at 81. I have had pneumonia. Both of these are “How Not to Die From…” I’m bouncing back on the bike O.K. No meds. My wife still runs 5K. Just measured my blood pressure at 116/81 pulse average 70 reasonable for 82 with “atrial flutter” (not fibrillation).

  4. Reading this I fall into despair.

    This is waht i’m doing at the moment; Flax, WFPD (since 4-month), no animal product, nothing proccessed save for tofu and nut milks, no salt, strainous regular cardio 40 mins per day with occasional days off, spices, berries, and Watermelon (not in the 2 pounds ^^) and yet am still too high!

    I’ve been prescribed Lisinopril-Dihydrat (5mg) years ago aaand STILL 10 point too high…

    All of this got me down from 140/80 to 120/60ish~

    I’mean, come on, whats the next step, draining blood every morning?

    Waiting for the next super fruit to come around the corner to save the day. :)

    1. Perhaps give it some more time? I’m not an expert I imagine at 4 months your body is still in the healing process, especially after a whole life of consuming animal products before. I feel like it takes at least a year, if not more, to reap all the benefits of a whole-foods, plant-based diet.

      (And drink lots of hibiscus tea as well, should also help in lowering blood pressure!)

      Best of luck!

    2. HI Denis,
      It’s a long slow road. I have even read that Dr Esselstyn said some stubborn cases of HBP needed meds to get it down. He eventually dropped the meds lower and lower till eventually the patient got off the meds.. Hang in there!!

    3. You do not mention your age, height and weight or other medical factors that may be impacting your BP.

      Four months is a not a long time. I never had really high BP and all my life was 120/80 till I started focusing on whole plant-based products or if you like a good vegan diet. It has been years and I have lost some weight so my BMI is around 22 but now my BP is often 94/65 and the highest 98/73 which I am not all that pleased about because difference is only 25 (98-73).

      I am 76 years old so I suppose if I were still 120/80 it would be better than average for my age but I had that same BP the first time I remember when I was under 10 years old. Healthy cultures have proven that there is no good reason for BP to increase as a person ages.

    4. Denis it’s not too high. Don’t worry. You have only been at it for 4 months. Keep up the amazing work. I suppose you are lean? Before you know it you will be weaning right off that medication.

    5. hi Denis, I simply want to congratulate you and encourage you to stick with it ! I went wfpb 2 years ago, lots of exercise, tbsp of flax on oatmeal every morning, and 6 mg beta blocker (1/4 of a tablet) and my blood pressure went UP ! Even to above 140 /70 In recent months it has been drifting back down again. Got stuck in the 120’s for a couple of weeks, and now back to 103/65 often. For me I have to watch the use of tylenol.. seems to be a connection. I also might suggest increasing the proportion of raw fruits and veg in your diet. Just a thought.. seems to work for me.

    6. Denis, check out Dr. Alan Goldhamer’s lecture , Jan 2017, on The Vegetarian Society of Hawaii web site. Dr. John McDougall sends his toughest patients to Dr. Goldhamer’s True North Health Center. Apparently a multi-day water fast can re-boot your body and bring down high BP.

    7. I (and most doctors) would not stress over a blood pressure if 120/60ish. Just keep doing what you’re doing, relax, and enjoy your life.

    8. What is WFPD ?
      Do you drink 2 cups of strong hibiscus tea each day ( However it lowers estrogen ) ?
      Do you drink enough water to thin the blood ”
      Do you de stress enough ?
      Beetroot juice can help ( but you need lots )
      Donating blood regularly decreases blood viscosity . Those who do , have a much lower risk of heart attack , according to research .

    9. If you had a horrible diet and was told everything was fine until the day came in the early 50’s when you are suddenly carrying a pill box, then it will take time.

      I got rid of all my meds (related to allergies primarily – breathing, eczema) and a CPAP machine (probably partially weight loss) within a few months. However, it takes time for the blood pressure to come down. Frustrating was the effect of the initial weight loss seemed to dissipate and it rebounded. After a year and a half it is finally dropping and staying down (white coat creeps in when you over-analyze :D ).

      I am not on water pills and just a 2nd generation Ace Inhibitor which from my research seems fairly benign. With the present trend, I should be off them within 2 years of starting the diet change. I could be off them now but new research shows anything over 120 systolic is a risk.

      Additionally, since being on the diet, my joint pain has disappeared and I am getting sleep now and able to participate in the cardio activities I used to. From what I’ve read, it appears Water Pills could present a problem during periods of stress and mild dehydration when exercising but Ace Inhibitors are less problematic.

      Good Luck!

    10. If you’re pre diabetic, type 2 diabetic, &/or insulin resistant (all determined by fasting blood tests), you may need to cut back on your sugar intake from fruit and overall carbs. If your blood sugar levels are high, that can be the cause of hypertension. I found out last year I had type 2 diabetes, and had to increase nuts and seeds, tofu, hemp protein powder, eat only raw vegetables, Kitehill almond yogurt and cheese, lots of ground golden flax, and completely eliminate grains and beans and severely restrict fruit, down to about a half cup of fresh blueberries a day. With the help of daily finger sticks to test blood sugar levels 3x a day, I could see what spiked my blood sugar and what didn’t. Cooked beans were causing me major problems, causing bs to spike up to 300, as was the sugar in the watermelon I was having every day for breakfast, bs spiking up to 500. As the blood sugar levels drop down near normal, so does the blood pressure. You might want to do detailed bloodwork to test if you have any blood sugar issues, lower carbs by cutting out all grains and beans, and increasing vegan proteins, nuts, seeds, nut yogurt etc, and increasing leafy greens and raw low carb salad veg – cucumbers, zucchini noodles, red peppers etc, and see if that helps as it did with me. Get a full (12 hr fasting) bloodwork done, and ask your Dr to test your blood sugar, A1C which shows your glucose levels going back 3 months, check for insulin resistance, and liver enzymes. Also test your blood sugar at home 3x a day, some insurance plans cover the test kit, strips, lancets etc. An abdominal ultrasound is also a good idea to check for non alcoholic fatty liver disease. Good luck.

      1. if you are vegan and dont eat beans…where do you get your protein from …I would guess you are eating alot of nuts…to get your protein…
        i thought according to dr greger beans and lentils were good for insulin resistance

      2. Thanks for this info . I thought fruits were fine because of the fibre, and whole grains for that reason also . Phytates need to be reduced in seeds, nuts, beans, by presoaking as they bind minerals and can also cause tooth problems.

        1. Whole fruit should be fine for healthy people. However, if you’re insulin resistant, then every “body” will be different. Many diabetics have to limit fruit, especially those high in sugar and low in fiber, like watermelon and grapes.

          1. Watermelon rind ( the white part ) has many health benefits . Google it .I can’t remember them all right now .
            Yes , I can understand how low fibre fruits can increase blood sugar , but if they are eaten with a fibre rich food at the same time , or followed by apple cider vinegar without sweeteners ( it lowers blood sugar and turns a high GI meal into a low GI one – dry wines do the same thing for the French ) then perhaps moderate portions may be fine ?

      3. Were you eating canned beans ? I use only dried beans after soaking and cooking .I only use whole grains but no gluten as I don’t tolerate it well . It causes inflammation in the gut .

      4. You would benefit from some research, here, and especially PCRM and Dr Neal Barnard, Dr McDougall and many others. It’s fat that causes T2 diabetes, intramyocellular lipids, not carbs or starches. Plant based whole food starches like fruit, legumes, whole grains and tubers allowed me to not just control the amount of glucose in my blood, which is just a SYMPTOM, but actually reverse long standing T2 diabetes entirely by replacing fats from animals and oils with whole food starches of many kinds. i was told I would have to take meds and monitor my blood sugar for the rest of my life by my doctor and the ADA…they were wrong, and finally the truth is getting out there!

        1. Yes that is what I read . But why the other results from NWood ?
          He is doing daily blood testing.Omega 3 fats are fine, with some Omega 3 to balance in whole form , not oil .

    11. Last week my husband read on Google News that grapefruit juice would make your blood pressure plummet. He bought a few grapefruit and began juicing one every day and indeed, his did drop considerably. In fact, he needed to cut back to half a grapefruit daily.

      I should add that he knows the value of a whole foods plant based diet and has lowered his blood pressure by eating it, but he cheats and eats meat when he goes out, and brings a few junky things home to eat as well. If he didn’t do those things he would not need to try grapefruit for lowering blood pressure.

      Grapefruit conflicts with both blood pressure and cholesterol lowering drugs, and perhaps others, so don’t use it if you’re on a drug where it is contraindicated. However, I can’t help wondering if those drugs could be replaced by grapefruit. Somebody reading this undoubtedly knows more on this subject than I do, which is nothing. My suspicious mind naturally goes to Big Pharma knowing how well grapefruit juice works and not wanting the general public to get wind of that fact. Call me jaded when it comes to BP.

      1. Rebecca, grapefruit slows the metabolism of the bp drugs, so when you eat grapefruit, or the juice, the drug will lower your blood pressure more because the drug is staying in the system longer. It’s just as if if you were taking a higher dose of the drug.
        Not sure if studies have been done to see if consuming grapefruit lowers bp independently.

      2. Grapefruit does the trick for me, but it makes me feel like crap when I eat it. I am trying grapefruit rind and grapefruit seed extract to see how that works.

    12. I suggest you check Dr. McDougall’s views on medications. I think he would view blood pressure meds as potentially causing more harm than good at your blood pressure levels.

      If I were in your shoes, I would take the nut milks out of my diet. They are very high in fat.

      1. Hi fencepost, i know about Dr.McDougall and his approach to nutrition.

        However, i do believe it is helpfull for sick and sedentarie people to eat the “starch” diet, he is too restrictive in my mind.

        We know that fats are important for hormon production and as a wight lifter and runner i do want my hormons to flow freely in abundance. I have no weight (read fat) issues so i eat nuts and seeds as recommended by the daily dozen. :)

      2. Almond milk has 17 grams of magnesium vs. 77 in almonds and 1.5 grams of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats vs. almost 9 in almonds. Just Good fat.

    13. Denis,
      About 4 years ago, I was on 10mg of Lisinopril-Dihydrat a day. Three months after starting a WFPBD at only the 80% level while also eliminating all processed foods, added salt etc, I was able to reduce my dosage to 5mg a day. It took another 2 months before I could completely stop the Lisinopril.

      Going from from 140/80 to 120/60ish in 4 months is very good! Keep with it and in a few more months you may hit the 110/60s range.

      1. Hi B’Healthy, thank you for sharing.
        Am on the same path so i hope to reach the same goal!

        Am happy to hear about the time frames to expect aproximately, am not in a hurry but it eases me up hearing that it just takes some time so i’ll give it time!

        And congratulation for beeing able to stop the meds, thas realy cool! :)

        Thank you!

    14. Hi everyone, thank you for the answers and ideas, I missed hibiscus tea! :)

      Now, am neither realy sick nor old or obese, am 32, 169cm 65kg doing one to two hours sport a day (cardio & weights) and my nutrition never was “USA” bad, living in Austria, Europe.
      Last blood test was great too, I was suprised to be honest.

      Since i’m still relatively young I hope to fix my nutritional mistakes before i get into the age where it shows.

      So many things have changed for the better since i’m eating this way, running/cycling has become a breeze and a true joy of my daily routine, I just assumed blood preasure would tag along, and it may will, but it seems to be a thougher proccess.

      However, the overall tone of your answers is to stick with it and let the plants do their magic over time.
      I shall and I will since I feel realy good and like the food :)

      Thank you guys, it was a great help to read your posts :)

      Greetings, Denis

    15. Have you read the impact GLUTEN has on your hypertension? Mine came down to 110 over 65 from 140/80 just from giving up GLUTEN. Be well

    16. I know what you mean Denis. I’ve had just about the exact same experience. However it is finally going down and the lisinopril is history. Seemed to make no difference when I dropped it. Patience seems to be critical. It might also be that my age is a factor

    17. Hi this is Dr. Daniela Sozanski, PhD, PScD out of Sandy Springs, GA and moderator for
      You seem to be leading an exemplary life in regards to your diet. However, sometimes additional factors should be ruled out, such as heavy metal exposure, specifically for lead and cadmium, also food allergies (References 47-49, Nutritional Medicine, Alan Gaby MD, page 352)… as there are potential allergens in plant foods just as they are in animal foods; an elimination diet followed by a food challenge could identify the culprit so you could avoid it in the future. In addition, maybe you could double up on garlic, onions, whole oats, flaxseed, tomato juice (watch the salt!) and pomegranate juice. Finally, maybe try supplementation with coenzyme CoQ10, calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin C, also B complex, particularly folate and B6 (the last paired up with magnesium as it tends to deplete it)
      I hope this helps. Have a great day, Daniela

    18. Hi this is Dr. Daniela Sozanski, PhD, PScD out of Sandy Springs, GA and moderator for
      You seem to be leading an exemplary life in regards to your diet. However, sometimes additional factors should be ruled out, such as heavy metal exposure, specifically for lead and cadmium, also food allergies (References 47-49, Nutritional Medicine, Alan Gaby MD, page 352)… as there are potential allergens in plant foods just as they are in animal foods; an elimination diet followed by a food challenge could identify the culprit so you could avoid it in the future. In addition, maybe you could double up on garlic, onions, whole oats, flaxseed, tomato juice (watch the salt!) and pomegranate juice. Finally, maybe try supplementation with coenzyme CoQ10, calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin C, also B complex, particularly folate and B6 (the last paired up with magnesium as it tends to deplete it)
      I hope this helps. Have a great day, Daniela

    19. Denis, you might try focusing on veggies and fruits with a lot of potassium content, and take magnesium maleate if your water doesn’t contain much magnesium. These are the minerals that balance sodium and calcium.

  5. These blood pressures you are describing. Were they taken at home or in a doctor’s office? Seated or supine? What time of day? After how much rest?

    1. According to brachial tests , olive oil raises blood pressure ,.
      But I don’t know whether they used evoi or not .
      Evoi they say is good for high bp. But I’m not sure .

  6. In one month on a vegan diet I reduced my BP meds in half. I no longer take a night med… I’m now sleeping well and my BP runs between 107 and 131 when I eat something with hidden salt..salt is a huge issue in controlling BP.

  7. 56 year male w/7 stents in the process of reversing CVD and who was told surgery was needed. Refused surgery and decided to try nutrition. 4 months on plant based diet. Weight loss 200 to 178. LDL down to 93. Very little exercise due to fear of worsening condition, however BP remains high. Morning readings average 143/92. Recently read BP numbers for patients 50 plus have changed. Meds no longer needed if numbers below 140/90? Is it possible BP will not go down due to condition of the arteries and the stents?

    1. Gilbert you are just at he beginning of your journey. It takes time. Make sure to watch all the videos on heart disease if you haven’t already. I am sure your doctor would be ok with you starting a walking program.

    2. Check whether your arteries are calcified . If so , avoid vitamin D supps- they worsen it .
      Decalcify them with magnesium ascorbate , and there are other methods I can’t remember now – apple cider vinegar I think , and others .

        1. Yes. Natto is a good source if vegan . It is in some dairy , and also other animal foods .
          Gouda cheese is best.
          Also , it is said that ki in vegan diets can be converted to vit k2 in the body , but others say it can’t .
          I have read there can be problems with vit k2 supps., but can’t remember what they are.

    3. I posted this question before, but I really need an answer. If people don’t mind. Were these blood pressures supine or seated? What time of day were they taken? How much rest preceded the measurement?

  8. If my BP had been 120/60 at any time over the last 4 years… before going vegan and no salt, my doctor would have cheered! I never want to go back to those other scary high point days with it near 200 and over… I just start each day happy to have it.

    1. That’s because you started eating healthy and that’s all but it has nothing to do with eating meat or dairy. Processed foods and transfat and sugar are what killed people vegan or meat eating.

      1. There is a plethora of videos and articles here at Nutrition Facts that detail WHY eating healthy means bypassing the animal foods. We can help prevent and/or heal heart disease , diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, autoimmune conditions… we are healthier when we consume a whole foods plant based diet. Maybe its time you watched a few of these videos and gave up plugging animal products for which you have no scientific defense.

      2. You know Jerry you wouldn’t really know if you haven’t tried WFPB. When I first started my health journey 7 years ago to correct an antoimmune issue I stared by stopping gluten and dairy. Corrected problem. I thought I am doing great why would I go completely vegan? (WFPB) before you think that maybe I ate crap prior to 7 years ago. Not the case. I live in Southern California on the beach and grew up eating pretty well. So I found this website at its inception and was encouraged by such great people. Why was I eating small portions of grass fed organic meat? So I thought “why not get ride of everything inflammatory.” Did I really have anything left to correct? Skin patches of dry skin. Completely gone. Dry heal on my feet. Gone. Afternoon fatigue. Gone. So don’t poo-poo it until you give it a try.

  9. Dr. Greger,

    I believe it’s in the best interest of all to give people the absolute truth (as you believe it to be) with the option of so called softened diets that will give some benefit but not the best.

    1. hi Michael A Stilinovich, I think Dr Greger has already considered what approach is in the best interest of all (Everything in Moderation, Even Heart Disease? by Dr Greger )

      Dr Esselstyn echoes that same sentiment in this video (Moderation Kills, by Dr Esselstyn)

      In reading the various plant based doctors websites, I am constantly amazed at how people have jumped in to wfpb eating and quickly improved health conditions that had plagued them for years. A big change takes a big change.

  10. I would add that increased magnesium intake lowers blood pressure, coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, osteoporosis, and asthma (PMCID: PMC1855626). Current serum magnesium tests do not indicate body stores of this valuable mineral (Dr. Alan Gaby). Plant based diets are excellent, but compliance is an issue. What for m of magnesium would you recommend?

    1. James Katz, MD, MPh – Yes! Magnesium is definitely helpful for my things physiologically. I have taken it for years – way before WFPB diet – for my arrhythmia. Magnesium soothes the entire system. And I would bet you are correct that it is helpful for high blood pressure since it relaxes blood vessels. Most of us are deficient. An excellent book to read on magnesium is “The Magnesium Miracle” by Carolyn Dean, MD, ND.
      Magnesium oxide – which is what you generally find in the drug store – is the least bioavailable form. I’ve settled on magnesium citrate at roughly 400mgs/day. I say “roughly’ because sometimes I forget to take it. However, when I take my magnesium my arrhythmia goes away. Per Dr. Dean, it may take a while to get the magnesium reserves up in the body again. I have found magnesium extremely helpful.
      I am WFPB now for 10 years and have no problem following the diet, do not find it inconvenient, and enjoy it very much. It did take a while for my blood pressure to come down to its current 105/65-70. It had gotten up, pre-WFPB, to 130/80 or so. It still spikes high upon occasion but overall is lower now than ever in my lifetime (now 64 years, BMI 23). I would guess that it took a number of years – perhaps 3? – before my blood pressure began to stay at its lower level.
      Also – I cook without salt; use lots of spicing for flavoring. I salt lightly on top of food just before consuming. I also use lots of fresh lime or lemon in place of salt.
      I encourage anyone trying to lower their BP to just stay the course and stick with it and be patient with yourself.
      Best –

        1. I like magnesium maleate. Absorbable and helps body energy reserves. Also vitamin K2 (not K1). K2 directs calcium into bones and away from arteries.

          1. Do you use the best form of natto for k2 ? So many are useless and over processed ?
            Where do you get your k2- which supp ?
            Thanks re the Mag maleate info.

            1. Pat, tried natto, lol! Couldn’t stomach it. I take capsules of K2, 200 mcg, (not mg). The Dutch have done quite a bit of research on it for heart disease.
              However, I understand that people on blood thinners can take only a low dose, I think for them dose is 45mcg. But they would have to be tested to see if they needed higher dose of thinners.

              Sorry, it’s Magnesium Malate. (I misspelled it, was typing too fast)

              1. Thank you for the info re the Mag and k2. Yes, I’ve read the warnings about natto !
                There could be some potential side effects with k2 for everyone but I can’t remember what they are. I’ll look up the Dutch studies. Apparently vegans can convert k1 to k2,but some dispute that .

  11. I was diagnosed in 2015 with high BP. I weigh 100lbs. I knew from yearly check ups that when in the doctor’s office the BP registered higher than it should be. I was already drinking Hibiscus tea and taking Hawthorn and used the Dash diet as a guide.

    I don’t eat any red meat. For years, I have only eaten small portions of chicken and fish. I eat veggie meals as well and even when I eat chicken or fish the veggie portion and salads are always larger. I eat veggie breakfasts and lunches every day. I have walked 3 miles a day for years. I don’t drink alcohol and I had already been eating low salt and/ no salt for 10 years. I am so use to low salt that IF I eat something with a lot of sale, it taste awful to me now. I hate milk and haven’t eaten cheese or other daily products in years. I use a tablespoon organic soy milk in my 1 cup of decaffeinated coffee.

    My doctors, a cardiologist and a GP both said, I’m not the typical HBP patient. I was put on the Beta Blocker Metoprolol 25mg after ending up in the ER with a very high reading for over 24 hours. After starting the Rx I wore a machine that took my BP for 24 hours and it recorded my BP in the 90’s/60’s. So, the Rx was working but I hate being dependant on Meds. The ER doctor said it’s usual that after a number of years, I will need more Rx. That makes me sad to think it’s predictable that I’d have to take more meds to keep the BP down.

    I’ve always known I had lots of adrenaline and it helped me get a lot done but what I didn’t know that it was letal. I didn’t know it could be an enemy to my well being or that it caused HBP. I always thought that HBP came from being overweight, too much salt, no exercise, etc. I was surprised to learn some thin women after menopause get HBP. Not that they all have the same cause but no one ever talks about those people. Most people eat and exercise as I have done would be considered very healthy. I still don’t understand completely why I have HBP or why my adrenaline is the culprit . I can’t believe it’s because I eat a tiny chicken thigh or the small piece of salmon once a week.

    To add to my confusion about HBP, my mother-in-law who had HBP for 30 years was taken off of her Meds because they discovered she didn’t need them anymore. To add to my confusion, she lives in an Assisted Living place and her diet is terrible. She was on 13 Meds for years besides the HBP meds and now all she takes is a Tylenol.

    The Assisted Living serves the worst foods with high fats, overly salted, lots of butter, canned sugary fruit, Ice cream, cookie diet and she partakes so much dairy every single day, milk and ice cream galore. I wonder if they’re trying to kill these old people…death by junk overindulgence. When I visit her and have to eat in their diningroom, I ask for lettuce with oil and vinegar because that’s about all you can get that’s not full of highly processed foods or loaded junk. She’s 95 and very healthy according to her GP!

    I believe my type of HBP was never discussed in the mainstream and should be. I’m sure there are others walking around who don’t know they have it because they lead a pretty clean active life and the mainstream focus on HBP is about overweight people and/or smokers. I’ve even seen people drop weight, change their diet and stop smoking and their HBP goes away!

    I wonder what can be done by people who have HBP caused by adrenaline when they’re already doing all the right things on diet, exercise, no salt, etc.? My doctors haven’t offered any tips for getting off the Meds and I’m not sure a chicken thigh or a small palm size serving of fish is causing my adrenaline to go gangbusters thereby needing a Beta Blocker to block it from creating HBP.

    I love Nutrition

    1. hi Sandi, why not try a whole food plant based diet (without salt, oil or sugar) for 30 days and see how you feel? You might be pleasantly surprised!
      The physicians committee for responsible medicine offers a free quick start program to help. This link is for a free mindfulness based stress reduction program that I have used. Its excellent. Combine that with your wfpb diet and a walking program (or something similar) and Im sure you’ll see some positive results in how you feel. All the best in health to you!

      1. I am on a vegan diet without salt oil or sugar , and I’m fine with it . I use herbs and nutritional yeast for seasoning . i went on it four months after my Takotsubo heart attack last year .
        95% of Takotsubo ( Broken Heart Syndrome ) heart attack sufferers are females over 55.
        Estrogen loss may precipitate it . Not enough research on it . It is triggered by any strong emotions so meditation and de stressing through othermeans is very important .

    2. Sandi – see my post above re: Magnesium and read Dr. Carolyn Dean’s book The Magnesium Miracle. I’m not saying this is your answer necessarily, but perhaps its a part of the equation.
      Let me share an interesting story. A friend of mine’s wife had terrible arrhythmia – so bad she was hospitalized. Docs couldn’t figure out why so decided to do the car mechanic thing. . . .remove parts and see if anything changed. They decided to destroy her thyroid (assuming, without proof, that this was the problem) and then put her on Synthroid. The patient said “no”, “not doing that if we don’t know that this is the problem”. Went to Doc after Doc with no resolve. Until, finally, she went to a nutritionist who LOOKED AT HER DIET. Imagine that!! This woman ate no vegetables – ever! She had no source of magnesium in her diet. She was put on magnesium and – tada!!! – her very serious heart arrhythmia went away. The power of a good diet is important.
      So I don’t know if magnesium is your answser, but it may be worth checking into. Good luck!

  12. This is all misleading. High blood pressure is not caused by meat or dairy consumption or saturated fat as long as it is not processed foods and transfat. Of course you have to eat a lot of plant foods along with meat and dairy because plant foods contain a lot of phytonutrients but meat and dairy alone are beneficial and they are for different purposes.

    On the other hand, a vegan who consumes vegetable oil which is loaded with transfat when cooked or rancid or becoming a transfat already during manufacturing, or eating a lot of PUFA fat, also get HP and heart disease and cancer.

    1. Dr Greger’s research appears to point to a strong link between meat , dairy and egg consumption and high B. P.I don’t want cancer either .

    2. Jerry Lewis,

      Please read reports of the published research by Dr Ornish, Dr T Colin Campbell, Dr Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr Neal Barnard, Dr John McDougall, and others.

      Also, look at the sources that paid for research showing what you state above, to find out who paid for any studies. I used to believe those things, but was shown I was wrong – and I’m so glad I learned to look more deeply than the various book-selling diet doctors out there would have me look.

    3. I am an edible oil chemist. Jerry Lewis has an important point about rancid oils. When tested in the lab, polyunsaturated oils (soybean, corn, etc.), invariably test very high in carcinogens. Mono-saturated oils (olive), are much better, as is coconut. So if you use oils in salad dressings or baking, make sure you do not use polyunsaturates. However olive oil should not be heated as it breaks down. The only oil I would use for baking or cooking is coconut.
      Btw, all fats are a mixture. So none are pure either saturated, polyun, or mono. Hope this helps.

        1. Liisa, I agree that oils should be limited or none. But the reality is many people, even veagans, do use them for baking and salad dressings. So I was just giving information on the better choices.

  13. Meditation could help , and Buteyko breathing , to reduce stress . It’;s basically long slow out breaths, hold out breaths as long as comfortable, then a gentle short in breath and repeat till breath is slowed and you feel calmer . Use scents like lavender and chamomile oils to reduce BP.
    Are you on asthma reliever inhaler?They stimulate adrenaline release.
    Don’t sweat the small stuff .

  14. Interesting post and discussion. I was intrigued that no one has yet mentioned wakame seaweed as another dietary tool in the plant-based toolbox to try for HBP. I am a 51 yo male overweight vegan pre-hypertensive and have been able to whittle my average systolic BP down from 140s to mid-to-high 120s by lowering salt intake and initiating a half hour per day of daily meditation with slow breathing. I am also using the Zona device for improving arterial flexibility and drinking hibiscus tea 1x/day and having 1 oz of ground flax seeds/day as well. I have ordered some wakame seaweed to try after watching Dr. Greger’s video about it (search for “seaweed” and “high blood pressure” to locate the video).

      1. Great point. I found some from Vitacost originating in Iceland (Atlantic Ocean) rather than the Pacific Ocean near Fukushima. I believe additional good sources are mentioned in the comments attached to the video on wakame seaweed for HBP.

  15. I have eaten a strict vegan diet for 10+ years. I bike 5000 miles a year. I am 5’5” and weigh 114 lbs. Rarely drink alcohol. Never smoked . Glucose, cholesterol, etc are right on target. I have to take 10mg lisinopril per day. Sometimes genetics wins .

    1. Be careful regarding over exercise , as atrial fibrillation as caused by over exercise as well as not enough exercise. Athletes can end up with At Fib .It is well documented. Moderation is best .Best use yoga, tai chi etc, and moderate strenuous .

  16. Genetics I think do count, however, my twin brother started on BP meds 10 years before I did… we eat completely different! I now take half of what he takes. It was a lesson for me that my habits, including healthy plant based eating, changes those genetic outcomes.

    1. That’s quite fascinating, veggie joy. You should get in touch with Dr. Greger so you and your twin can get involved in a study.

  17. My migraine condition causes my blood pressure to go up. The best I can do for my situation is live a healthy lifestyle and eat wfpb no oil, very limited sugar and low salt intake. But no salt makes me dizzy. And do not stress over it.

    1. Thai is interesting . I read that celery lowers blood pressure. It has a reasonable amount of sodium though , as does Swiss chard and spinach , which have more. I am careful with the leafy high sodium vegs. And that’s not all . Good to read the sodium levels of all vegs.

    2. Probably the nitrates in the celery! It might also work with beet juice, chard juice (yuk) or a green smoothie made with butterhead type lettuces. All of those work for me!

    1. Gracia, in the study discussed by Dr. Greger, the subjects ate 30 gm of flaxseed, and he states that they took 1/4 cup a day, which is 4 tablespoons.

  18. I’ve been a vegetarian for 40 years, vegan for the past 5 years. Regular aerobic exercise 6x a week, very low salt, lowfat–you name it (no fried foods, no caffeine, healthy diet & lifestyle). Two years ago was diagnosed with high blood pressure. I’m sooo frustrated! I’m thinking of trying the flaxseed that Dr. Greger just recommended. I don’t love the idea as it’s high in fat (yeah, i know–good fat, but fat still & i don’t love gaining weight from this as I’m at my ideal weight & it’s hard enough to maintain at my age!). I’m about to try the “Rice diet” that Dr. Greger talked about in a video a few months ago. I’m guessing my problem is genetics. Anyone have any other ideas? Am 5’2, 114 lbs, female, 65 yrs old. Thanks!

    1. Sophie,
      Yes, there are good fats. A ‘low fat’ diet is not the healthiest. Suggest you view Dr. Greger’s recent videos about nuts and weight gain for example. Give the two tbs of ground flax seed per day a try, but give it time. Also, with respect to weight, it is still ‘ calories in vs calories out’ and not all aerobic exercise is equal. Also adding some weight training would help strengthen your bones and help produce leaner muscle which burns more calories…even when you are sleeping.

      Good luck.

      1. If all fats have some saturated fat in them, I’m thinking that that is not good for one’s blood flow and that a low fat diet is best because if one’s blood flow is somewhat clogged from fat consumption, it will increase blood pressure. Even canola oil has saturated fat in it.

      2. Thank you B’Healthy! I appreciate your advice. I’m going to give the 2 tbs of ground flax seed a try. Agree about weight training. I’m clearly too addicted the what the scale says! Appreciate your encouragement and good advice!

    2. I lost 10 kilos going vegan with no added salt , sugars or oils . I have some dates, soaked figs , raisins occasionally .

        1. Sorry , I didn’t read your post accurately. I was answering posts too quickly , the first time here , and in the middle of a personal health issue causing some anxiety , and also a family crisis, so I was distracted . I probably shouldn’t be posting at all , but it take my mind off things.
          I missed the sections about your high blood pressure, I’m sorry! I feel terrible !
          I feel for you , as you have done your best to live a healthy lifestyle.
          How are your cholesterol levels ?There could be some genetic component there. I don’t know about high blood pressure being genetic. Have you checked calcification of your arteries ?
          It must be very frustrating for you . I am still pre hypertensive half the time on a vegan diet but it hasn’t been long since the diet and my heart attack .
          I need to do more meditation and slow breathing in order to de stress . I have CPTSD and am hyper vigilant , set on fight or flight all the time because of past interpersonal traumas.
          Anxiety is a large part of my BP increases .
          I sincerely hope you are able to find the cause , and lower your blood pressure.

          1. No problem, Pat. I understand and sending good thoughts for the challenges you are facing now. Bad cholesterol a bit high but good cholesterol is good so i figure (and doc said) they kinda cancel each other out. Calcification – i’ve thought about it. Not sure how that gets checked but i’ll check into it – thanks for the suggestion. I understand about CPTSD. Have it too. Meditation and Yoga helped tremendously so it’s manageable now. Thanks for your good wishes and I wish you all the best!

            1. Thganks DSophie !
              Oils in thr dietv raise blood pressure. A brachial test proved that olive oil also does this.
              I used to eat a lot of spinach and silver beet or Swiss chard at one time till i saw their sodium content !
              i need to watch natural sodium levels in such foods now too , though I don’t eat processed food.
              I need to drink more water as well , to thin the blood and so bring BP down .
              I read that regularly donating blood lowers blood viscosity and so would lower BP but I’m a bit old and fragile for that now I think .

              1. Pat, interesting about oils. Some people leaving comments said a low fat diet is not healthy. I follow a low fat, low oil diet. I do take a vegan Omega 3/6 supplement. I had no idea about swiss chard until i saw yours & others’ comments about it. i was eating it almost daily, so that’s the end of that! I drink at least 64 oz of water per day. Not sure it’s helped my BP but sure hasn’t hurt! Yep, i’m too old too to donate blood… All the best!

                1. Hi Sophie, I had a heart attack last year and Dr Greger and Dr Esselstyn say no added oils is best , and vegan also.
                  I get enough fats from ground flaxseeds, nuts , and other seeds. There is an algae source of omega 3 . walnuts have omegs 3 but go rancid fast , so in shell is best . I eat ground seeds as well .
                  All vegs , soy , beans also have fats and oils. I eat avocado as well .
                  Animals don’t process oils, and get bthem whole from plants etc.
                  Yes, I was eating spinach almost daily , and that is high in sodium too .
                  Be careful of too many brassica greens as they can cause hypothyroidism .
                  All the best . I hope reducing the Swiss chard intake helps your blood pressure.


                  1. Hi Pat, that’s good to hear about added oils. Dr. Ornish used to say the same. I take the vegan Omega 3. Yikes — i didn’t know about the brassica greens effects. Gulp… Thank you!

                    1. Hi Sophie ,spinach is the worst for goitregenic oxalates, kale and broccoli have moderate amounts but we shouldn’t go overboard with them I think . It is mostly a problem with people with insufficient iodine.
                      Other vegs like sweet potato and also beans and nuts , seeds ( not pumpkin seeds though 0 are also high in oxalates. They can cause kidney stones and cysts, inflammation generally . S= Lots of water , citrus juices, magnesium also help with excretion of oxalates.
                      I’m thinking of being tested for too much oxalate in my system .
                      To lower blood pressure, grounding helps as well , actually quite a lot .
                      Being in touch with earth’s fields through feet lowers BP and inflammation . Bare feet , but not on all surfaces. Wearing natural soles like leather and natural fibres but not rubber enables grounding .


            2. Sorry about the typos, I forgot to check the first part of the post . I’m a terrible typist and make typos all the time .

    3. I am in the same boat – long-term vegan, BMI 19, lots of exercise, blood pressure went up. What works best for me is fresh raw fruit, especially grapefruit. Blackberries and other berries are also excellent.

      1. Thanks for your reply Nina and for sharing your experience. I too eat lots of fresh raw fruit, including blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Don’t eat grapefruit, but definitely thinking about that now that I’ve read your comment and someone else’s. Are you thinking your hi-BP is age/genetics? Clearly ours can’t really be lifestyle related??? Thanks!

        1. It definitely could be lifestyle related. I was eating much too much salt, together with nut butters and sesame butters, quite late at night. I believe that did it.

        2. Oh yeah, can see that. Lifestyle is huge. And, i also think genetic too, but we’ll see as i try & get to the bottom of mine. All the best!

  19. I thought I’d share that at my last 4 physician visits (not for high BP) my BP, taken by an automated monitor, was much higher than usual. So I had the assistant take my BP again at the end of the visit. And then I had her take my BP manually. And then with a large cuff. (She was intrigued by this experiment.) Guess what? My readings were widely divergent. The systolic pressure varied by 30 points and the diastolic by 10. I have repeated this at 2 other doctors’ offices with the same wild range of readings. My conclusion is to never let a doctor put you on high BP meds until you’ve purchased a highly rated home monitor and have learned all of the rules for taking an accurate reading and then taken your BP for a good stretch of days. I’d love to have medical practitioners weigh in on this one, too.

    1. Deb,
      I have taken my BP at home for several years. What I have noticed is that if I don’t like my BP reading, I can wait 10 mins and take it again and invariably it is a better reading. I have found that BP can vary considerably.

  20. The “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” or Standard American Diet published every 5 years ( should advise as to the PERFECT diet, and then allow people to soften it here or there. But at least we’ll know where we stand based on the best research up to that point, not on what is the most palatable.

    How about if someone or some organisation just bypass them and publish worldwide guidelines? Who would such an organisation be? Or does it already exist somewhere at the UN?

  21. I would like to know how much methionine is optimal , as it is in animal foods , and too much causes cancer, but it is also in vegan sources as well , such as beans .
    Also , I read recently that the vegan nitrates in vegs can form nitrates and cause cancer as well !!!???

  22. What good does it do to compare the lifestyles of Americans to Chinese peasants living in the hills of rural China? There are a lot more things that cause high blood pressure than just diet. These Chinese farmers have been living the same way for the past 5000 years. They are all illiterate and have never been more than 5 miles from where they were born. They never heard of McDonalds and many probably have never seen an airplane with the exception of those flying over their rice paddies at 35,000 feet, and still not sure what they are looking at. These people tend to their fields a few hours a day and return to their hut. Can you compare that type of stress to westerners who have jobs and mortgages, etc? If you are going to do a study, be practical about it. I understand the point, but if it has no practical application, what good is it? I meditate, eat fish, chicken, and turkey in small portions along with vegetables and fruits. Plus I drink plenty of water and exercise. At 53 I have no health complaints or problems. I am sure if I lived in a sanitized plastic house with filtered water and air filters and my food was all plant-based and grown in a environmentally sound greenhouse, and I only went outdoors for a few hours a day, I would probably live to be 150 years old. All alone of course…

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  24. I’ve been asked for the Latin name of the flax I (which means you, Dr. Greger) recommend eating everyday, as we’re having some trouble translating ‘flax’. Anyone know the Latin name? Sorry if this has been answered elsewhere but I was unable to find it if so. Thanks!

    1. Hi Susan, I am one of the volunteer moderators on the website. Thanks for your question about the Latin name for Flax seed. Flax (also known as common flax or linseed), Linum usitatissimum, is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae. It is a food and fiber crop cultivated in cooler regions of the world. The textiles made from flax are known in the Western countries as linen, and traditionally used for bed sheets, underclothes, and table linen. The oil is known as linseed oil. In addition to referring to the plant itself, the word “flax” may refer to the unspun fibers of the flax plant. The plant species is known only as a cultivated plant,[2] and appears to have been domesticated just once from the wild species Linum bienne, called pale flax.[3]

  25. I have high BP but find it hard to eat 30g/ flax per day.
    I don’t eat gluten containing products , no oats. Any recipe ideas for the baked products mentioned in the study Dr Gregor cites?

    1. Hi Kathy,

      I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thank you so much for your question.

      Personally, I find smoothies to be the easiest way to incorporate flax into my diet. You could try making flaxseed muffins, putting the ground flaxseed meal in/on salads, or really any recipe for that matter. Most times, you won’t be able to tell that much. Try google’ing some flax recipes if you’re looking for something a little more creative.

  26. I think food effects on blood pressure are very individualized. My blood pressure went up to bordering on high and then high the last few years, especially after an auto accident that caused some pain issues. I also have fibromyalgia and irregular heartbeat. Two days ago, I went on the FODMAP diet because I was found to have SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. I was already no longer eating gluten. I also stopped eating dairy and sugar three days ago. Yesterday morning,I decided to do a salt flush before I started the 6 weeks’ herbal anti-microbial regimen. By the afternoon, I called a friend to tell him how oddly calm I felt, relaxed and carefree … amazing considering the past few years I’ve felt major stress, nervousness, extreme heart irregularities, etc. Around 5 PM, I decided to test my blood pressure. Even after taking a tablespoon of salt in a liter of water earlier in the day for the flush, it was 120/62 and my heartbeat, which had been in the 80s or higher the past few years, was at 68! People who are conscientious and go on a vegetarian diet might also be lowering their sugar/dessert intake. I think that’s the biggest culprit … I’m still eating meat but no gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, or high carbs like potatoes or rice. I am eating butter and ghee. Even with residuals of the accident, fibro, heart irregs, and now SIBO, I’m feeling better than I’ve felt in probably 20 years over the past two days!

  27. It won’t apply to everyone but I found the birth control pill substantially raised my blood pressure to 155/95 and higher. I ate WFPB before, during, and after taking the pill. My BP before and after has been between 110/70 when I’m active and eating oatmeal (with 1 tbsp flaxseed!) every day, and 120/80 (when I’m being lazy about oatmeal and exercise). So clearly taking the pill for some may be the sole contributor to high BP.

  28. I just checked my BP and it was 114 over 75. I eat meats, dairy, and fish daily; but modestly. I only eat organic foods and grass fed beef. The reason my blood pressure is normal is because I supplement magnesium. Nearly all foods grown in the USA and imported from abroad is grown on depleted soils making magnesium and other key nutrients unavailable. Additionally many foods hinder absorption. Both phytate, found in whole grains, legumes and nuts, and fatty acids impair magnesium absorption. THE BOTTOM LINE IS YOU DO NOT HAVE TO EAT ONLY PLANTS FOR A HEALTHY BLOOD PRESSURE. Dr. Greger is fantastic and I diligently read his weekly news and videos, but like all who have a position on a topic, they tend to overstate the positives of what they believe and overstate the negative of what they don’t support.

  29. What about ” Beets ” ? I read a whole article by some doctor that beets will lower your blood pressure,but its actually drink “beet juice” to lower it. Why isn’t that on here. God gave us carniverous teeth to eat meat and God showed Peter all manner of beasts, fowls of the air and creeping things and said, Peter, take kill and eat with nothing to be refused if it be received with thanksgiving.. Too much of anything can be bad for you.

    1. Hi Michael! I am one of the volunteer moderator’s with the site. It’s hard to cover all of the bases within a 5 minute video, but there are over 2,000 videos available for all to search. I hope you continue searching!

      By the way, all questions and lines of thought are good questions. I often wonder what the world would look like if all animals were treated the way God intended (plenty of space, proper care, etc.) Meanwhile, we deal with the reality that our earth is polluted and that toxins tend to concentrate in the fat of animals. Check out the environmental research when you can. Thanks for the question…..!

      1. Deborah, There’s nothing wrong health wise about eating some meat once or twice a week, for me its usually once and a lot of times its chili, I love chili with beef, but I eat a lot of salmon and tilapia and soups. They do have beet root juice and beet root supplements for blood pressure. Its just too bad the “Tri Lateral Commision (the rich of the rich) will always be looking for slick ways to control the “population” explosion, like all those poisons in the soil and grown food, causing little wars all over, Big Pharma’s poison drugs that do nothing and do more damage than help in the long run and other ways. There are two Doctors that are really trying to help and that’s Dr. Glenn Rothfeld and Dr. Mark Stengler. If you can check those guys out. Take care, Michael Weisser

  30. Potassium is one important mineral that contributes to blood pressure reduction, and it is found in many vegetables. Reducing sodium intake is also a traditional blood pressure lowering mineral. Recently, I have substituted potassium chloride for sodium chloride in cooking with a potassium chloride product from the supermarket called No Salt. Since potassium chloride is a salt, the product name is a bit misleading, but I understand the point. So long as I don’t consume in total more than 3 or 4 g of potassium daily, is potassium chloride an acceptable way of getting needed potassium?

    1. Of course, sodium chloride is not a blood pressure lowering mineral. I meant to say that reducing sodium chloride is a traditional way of lowering blood pressure.

  31. Are there any videos or articles about pink himalayan salt? I’ve been trying to find science based answers but haven’t been successful.

    1. Dana Oshea: That pink salt sure has a big following. You are smart to ask about what the science says. I have some information I hope you will find helpful. For starters, I’ll share a response that I first learned from an extremely knowledgeable NutritionFacts poster, Darryl:
      When the analysis is done, it looks like sea/Himalayan salt is nothing more than slightly contaminated salt – contaminated with some good things *and* contaminated with some very harmful things. But none of the contaminated substances are there in such quantities as to likely affect health either way. ​In other words, there may be a say small amount of iodine, but not enough to make a difference and not enough consistency to be something you will want to rely on. ​
      Want to see the actual data? Check out these posts from Darryl:
      Also helpful is an article Science Based Medicine. (Thank you Tom Goff for bringing this one to my attention some time ago.) The following site is not ​a ​source that I generally consider to contain valid information. But no one is wrong about everything and ​the author seems to get this one right. She explains the point Darryl raises so well, I’m going to quote it for you:
      “They claim that two double-blind studies were done, but no such studies are listed in PubMed. There is no evidence published in peer-reviewed journals that replacing white salt with pink salt makes a shred of difference or leads to any improvement in health.
      If you read down the list of minerals, you will notice that it includes a number of radioactive substances like radium, uranium, and polonium. It also includes substances that act as poisons, like thallium. I wouldn’t be worried, since the amounts are so small; but if anyone believes the trace amounts of “good” minerals in Himalayan sea salt are good for you, why not believe the trace amounts of poisons and radioactive elements are bad for you?
      The claim that pink Himalayan salt contains 84 trace minerals may be true, but the claim that it “promotes health and wellness” is false until proven otherwise by legitimate clinical studies. While waiting for evidence, I’d just as soon my salt didn’t contain uranium.”
      Here is an article from Jeff Novick which hits the question from a slightly different angle, but comes to the same conclusion: “My recommendations, which are inline with the IOM, recommend a limit on total sodium, regardless of the source. If you choose to use sea salt as the source of your sodium (as some people prefer the flavor of these “gourmet” salts), that is up to you, but it is not any healthier, safer, and/or more toxic than table salt.”
      Makes sense to me!

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  33. How much flaxseed would that be on a daily basis? And are there any concerns with flaxseeds vs pregnancy?
    (I know I can’t get her to eat her veggies, but she might stop eating chips to get better. So I’m betting on the flaxseeds as a place to start.)

  34. There are no documented contraindications of flaxseed consumption during pregnancy. Anyone trying to lower their BP during pregnancy should be careful to have their BP frequently monitored to avoid dangerously low levels. 1-2tbsp of flaxseed a day is the general recommendation for heart health.

  35. I have a very hard time getting my BP under control. I would love to try a plant based diet just not sure I could stick to it, I need to try though. Is there a good place to find recipes. Also, do you know of any supplements that help with lowering BP.


  36. My boyfriend and I started a whole foods plant based diet two weeks ago. We elected to be very strict at first, because he has high blood pressure and wanted to see if the diet made a difference. His blood pressure was regularly at 140/85 in the morning while taking Lisinopril (blood pressure medication). After a week of plant based eating, his blood pressure was around 125/85 in the morning. He discontinued the medication. His blood pressure was up for a few days, to 135/85, then came back down. It has been around 120/85 again. I have two questions: what is it about the plant based diet which causes the blood pressure to go down so fast? and why is the bottom number not budging? Thank you for your informative website and I am hoping we can continue on the diet.

  37. Maria,

    First nice work on jumping right in to the diet. The blood pressure is responding to a number of changes from the diet. The WFPB is nutrient dense unlike many others, contains far less sodium (salt) and changes the GI system which has an effect on the fluid loads and that’s for starters.

    For a good look at hypertension, Dr. Greger has three videos…. start here for some great info: High Blood Pressure May Be a Choice

    The diastolic (lower) number will take some time to adjust. It’s reflective of flexibility of the vessels and the circulatory systems to relax between strokes of the heart, as two of the starting points.

    To reestablish a better more flexible vasculature will take a while…months to years. He many have some degree of arteriosclerosis as one factor which like an ice cube will melt over time given the correct conditions. Think in terms of vitamin K, high fiber veggies/fruits/beans/grains…..etc.

    As to continuing…the proof is there…. and if your needing some recipes to get creative….see Dr. Greger’s cookbook.

    Hang in there with such good results think of the other health benefits that your boyfriend is getting…. in addition to great food and so are you.

    Dr. Alan Kadish Health Support volunteer for Dr. Greger

  38. Hey guys! So I have high blood pressure and never took my meds and did not change my diet, which after years resulted in a heart attack with an EF of 30. So my doctor says I now have heart failure. I was put on meds (losartan) to lower body 2 weeks ago, my BP since being on the meds has stayed in the 135-140 range. I immediately started a veggie diet and my blood pressure for the last two days has been 110/70. Could it be the diet or the meds? I had an appointment with my cardiologist just 4 days ago and my BP was 144/89 and she said that was ok and to try to keep it there. I do believe that with an healthy diet I will be able to reverse the damage. What are your thoughts thank you

  39. Hi I’m a RN health support volunteer.
    I applaud you for your lifestyle changes. It will only help. It may not eliminate your need for medication entirely, but a whole food plant based diet will greatly reduce your risk of a second heart attack and worsening heart failure. The decrease in your blood pressure is probably a combination of both meds and diet.
    There is evidence that a whole food plant based diet can reverse heart disease. Not necessarily 100%, but you can get regression. Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn are the 2 well known physicians who have proved this with heart disease reversal trials and are both very respected by Dr. Greger. You might like to refer to their work as it focuses on heart disease.

    Here is some more info from Dr. Greger:

    All the best to you,

  40. I’m perplexed and need advice. I’ve been Vegan for 6 years now and since I’ve gone through menopause, I’ve watched my blood pressure slowly increase to an average of 135/80, where in the past my BP was normally 110/75 or less. I’m trying to increase exercise (I’ve not been consistent but I’m not close to sedentary either) and I do yoga twice per week. I plan on trying beet root powder and Hibiscus tea to see if that helps. Worried because both my parents died of heart disease at 52. Any advice?

    1. Hello,

      It’s great that you’ve been vegan for so long; however, I would like to ask if you’re eating strictly whole foods? Salt can raise your blood pressure significantly, so Dr. Greger suggests limiting sodium intake to 1500mg/day. Furthermore, hibiscus tea, which you mentioned, may also help so it is worth a try. If you’re eating strictly whole foods and still not maintaining a healthy blood pressure, you should speak with your doctor about other options.

      Matt, Health Support

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