The number-one risk factor for death in the world (according to the Global Burden of Disease Study, the most comprehensive and systematic analysis of the causes of death ever undertaken) is high blood pressure. Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure reportedly lays waste to nine million people worldwide every year. It kills so many people because it may contribute to deaths from a variety of causes, including aneurysms, heart attacks, heart failure, kidney failure, and stroke.
Increased blood pressure may put a strain on the heart and damage the sensitive blood vessels in our eyes and kidneys, cause bleeding in the brain, and even lead certain arteries to balloon and rupture. The fact that hypertension is able to damage so many organ systems and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, two of our leading killers, explains why it is the number-one killer risk factor worldwide.
As you age, your blood pressure tends to get higher and higher. Is high blood pressure, like wrinkles or gray hair, just an inevitable consequence of aging? We’ve known for nearly a century that this isn’t true, based on studies of population studies in areas like rural China where average blood pressures remained around the ideal of 110/70 their entire lives. Their plant-based diets may have played a factor given that the only population in the Western world that enjoys such low average pressures may be those eating strictly plant-based.
So high blood pressure may be a choice: We can continue eating the artery-bursting Western diet, or we can choose to take off the pressure by centering our diet around unprocessed (no added sodium) plant foods. Eliminating humanity’s primary risk factor for death may be simple. No drugs, no scalpels. Just forks.
Image Credit: AlexRaths / Thinkstock. This image has been modified.
Popular Videos for Blood Pressure
All Videos for Blood Pressure
Benefits of Garlic for Fighting Cancer and the Common Cold
Raw garlic is compared to roasted, stir-fried, simmered, and jarred garlic.
Chronobiology – How Circadian Rhythms Can Control Your Health & Weight
Given the power of chronotherapy—how the same dose of the same drugs taken at a different time of day can have such different effects—it’s no surprise that chronoprevention approaches, like meal timing, can also make a difference.
Benefits of Garlic Powder for Heart Disease
See what a penny a day worth of garlic powder can do.
Benefits of Flax Seeds for Inflammation
Elevated levels of pro-inflammatory, aging-associated oxylipins can be normalized by eating ground flax seed.
The Benefits of Early Time-Restricted Eating
Calories eaten in the morning count less and are healthier than calories eaten in the evening.
Time-Restricted Eating Put to the Test
Are there benefits to giving yourself a bigger daily break from eating?
The 5-2 Diet and the Fasting-Mimicking Diet Put to the Test
The effects of eating only 5 days a week or a fasting-mimicking diet 5 days a month.
Evidence-Based Weight Loss – Live Presentation
In his newest live presentation, Dr. Greger offers a sneak peek into his new book How Not to Diet.
Is Alternate-Day Intermittent Fasting Safe?
Eating every other day can raise your cholesterol.
For Flavonoid Benefits, Don’t Peel Apples
Peeled apples are pitted head-to-head against unpeeled apples and spinach in a test of artery function.
Potential Pitfalls of Calorie Restriction
How to preserve bone and mass on a low calorie diet.
The Benefits of Calorie Restriction for Longevity
Though a bane for dieters, a slower metabolism may actually be a good thing.