How to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally with Lifestyle Changes

How to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally with Lifestyle Changes
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The effect of fasting to lower blood pressure compared to medications, cutting down on alcohol, meat and salt, eating more fruits and vegetables, or eating completely plant-based.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Fasting has been practiced for thousands of years, but only recently have we started to put it to the test. I did a previous video series about the studies on using fasting for weight loss back in the ‘70s. Was it safe? Was it effective? But what about fasting for treating and preventing other diseases?

One of the side effects noticed in the early weight loss studies was a consistent fall in blood pressure––so much so you typically have to stop taking blood pressure medications while fasting, or else your pressures fall too low. Once you start eating again, your pressures go back up, but remarkably, not as high as they were before. But, of course, it depends on what you start eating again.

For example, a case report of a woman who used fasting to drive her rheumatoid arthritis into remission. Systolic blood pressure started up around 170, despite multiple blood pressure medications; was put on a whole-food, plant-based diet for eight weeks. That dropped her down from 170 down to 130––off of all medications before starting the fast, and then normalizing down to 110 after the fast. But is that just because of all the weight loss? She lost 22 pounds on the fast, and 27 pounds on the plant-based diet. So yeah, it’s extraordinary to drop your blood pressure from 170 to 110, but that was after losing about 50 pounds.

We’ve known for decades that any kind of weight loss can lower blood pressure. Even minor weight loss can lower blood pressures in obese persons, even if they remain significantly overweight. But most of the drop in blood pressures with severe caloric restriction happens within the first two days, before significant loss of body fat. So, it may also be a reduction in the fight-or-flight stress hormones, like adrenaline and noradrenaline, both before…and after exercise, after just two weeks of just a few hundred calories a day.

So, that may be one reason why very low-calorie diets have been found useful in lowering blood pressures, even in those for whom blood pressure medications fail: the changes in those hormones. But, low-calorie diets also tend to be more plant-based. So, there’s fiber and potassium-rich foods, less saturated fat. Even just adding fruits and vegetables to the diets of hypertensives can lower their systolic blood pressure—the top number—by seven points. That’s the kind of blood pressure improvement you might get from losing 10 pounds, just by eating more fruits and vegetables. And, if you combine that with a drop in meat consumption, not only doubling fruit and vegetable intake, but combining that with trying to slash saturated fat and cholesterol, you can cut pressures by 11 points.

What else can we do? Restricting alcohol intake in regular daily drinkers can drop you five points. So, let’s keep track here: alcohol restriction can drop your systolic blood pressure five points, losing ten pounds can drop you seven, as can just eating the recommended eight to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Regular aerobic exercise for at least three months can drop you nine…. So, let’s add that on to the chart. Combine the fruits and vegetables with meat reduction, and you can drop it 11. Blood pressure medications can have side effects, but on their own, can drop pressures by 15 points.

What about cutting down on salt? Note in the other diet study they kept the sodium levels the same. Cut sodium enough, and it can edge out drugs at 16: the drugs 15, sodium restriction 16. Is that the best we can do with diet? Put people on a purely plant-based diet, even one moderate in sodium, and you can drop hypertensives by 18 points, even after nine out of 10 reduced their blood pressure medications or stopped them entirely, all within just seven days. That’s pretty impressive. Now, what if you took that same diet, but added fasting? 37 points! We’ll review that study and others like it, next.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: anadukic33 via adobe stock images. Image has been modified.

Video production by Glass Entertainment.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Fasting has been practiced for thousands of years, but only recently have we started to put it to the test. I did a previous video series about the studies on using fasting for weight loss back in the ‘70s. Was it safe? Was it effective? But what about fasting for treating and preventing other diseases?

One of the side effects noticed in the early weight loss studies was a consistent fall in blood pressure––so much so you typically have to stop taking blood pressure medications while fasting, or else your pressures fall too low. Once you start eating again, your pressures go back up, but remarkably, not as high as they were before. But, of course, it depends on what you start eating again.

For example, a case report of a woman who used fasting to drive her rheumatoid arthritis into remission. Systolic blood pressure started up around 170, despite multiple blood pressure medications; was put on a whole-food, plant-based diet for eight weeks. That dropped her down from 170 down to 130––off of all medications before starting the fast, and then normalizing down to 110 after the fast. But is that just because of all the weight loss? She lost 22 pounds on the fast, and 27 pounds on the plant-based diet. So yeah, it’s extraordinary to drop your blood pressure from 170 to 110, but that was after losing about 50 pounds.

We’ve known for decades that any kind of weight loss can lower blood pressure. Even minor weight loss can lower blood pressures in obese persons, even if they remain significantly overweight. But most of the drop in blood pressures with severe caloric restriction happens within the first two days, before significant loss of body fat. So, it may also be a reduction in the fight-or-flight stress hormones, like adrenaline and noradrenaline, both before…and after exercise, after just two weeks of just a few hundred calories a day.

So, that may be one reason why very low-calorie diets have been found useful in lowering blood pressures, even in those for whom blood pressure medications fail: the changes in those hormones. But, low-calorie diets also tend to be more plant-based. So, there’s fiber and potassium-rich foods, less saturated fat. Even just adding fruits and vegetables to the diets of hypertensives can lower their systolic blood pressure—the top number—by seven points. That’s the kind of blood pressure improvement you might get from losing 10 pounds, just by eating more fruits and vegetables. And, if you combine that with a drop in meat consumption, not only doubling fruit and vegetable intake, but combining that with trying to slash saturated fat and cholesterol, you can cut pressures by 11 points.

What else can we do? Restricting alcohol intake in regular daily drinkers can drop you five points. So, let’s keep track here: alcohol restriction can drop your systolic blood pressure five points, losing ten pounds can drop you seven, as can just eating the recommended eight to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Regular aerobic exercise for at least three months can drop you nine…. So, let’s add that on to the chart. Combine the fruits and vegetables with meat reduction, and you can drop it 11. Blood pressure medications can have side effects, but on their own, can drop pressures by 15 points.

What about cutting down on salt? Note in the other diet study they kept the sodium levels the same. Cut sodium enough, and it can edge out drugs at 16: the drugs 15, sodium restriction 16. Is that the best we can do with diet? Put people on a purely plant-based diet, even one moderate in sodium, and you can drop hypertensives by 18 points, even after nine out of 10 reduced their blood pressure medications or stopped them entirely, all within just seven days. That’s pretty impressive. Now, what if you took that same diet, but added fasting? 37 points! We’ll review that study and others like it, next.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: anadukic33 via adobe stock images. Image has been modified.

Video production by Glass Entertainment.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Doctor's Note

This is the 2nd in a 3-video series. Be sure to watch the first one—What the New Blood Pressure Range Guidelines Mean—to understand on the importance of achieving ideal (not “normal”!) blood pressures, and stay tuned for Fasting to Naturally Reverse High Blood Pressure to see if the case report I detailed here was a fluke when fasting was finally put to the test.

Are there foods you can eat that lower blood pressures? You bet! Check out:

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

133 responses to “How to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally with Lifestyle Changes

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    1. Synergy! We have a whole arsenal of helpful interventions at our disposal. WFPB diet, exercise, low salt, fasting…. An embarrassment of riches. No reason to get all partisan about one tool or another being the best.

      1. Thanks, Dan!

        With all of the corona-stress – today they announced gyms, movie theaters, and restaurants are closed. Maybe a few other things, but the gym is closed and I may be exercising with YouTube videos. Walk Away the Pounds has videos. Just about everything has a YouTube video.

        Yes, I don’t have a set-up like Dr. Greger, but, so far, YouTube has been good when you have to figure out how to improvise.

  1. Hello Dr. Gregor,

    Any concerns about fasting for people with thyroid problems? Fasting causes the body to release cortisol with is deleterious to the thyroid.

    Thanks

  2. Can you tell us what you mean by “fasting” to lower blood pressure levels? Water only fast? Minimal calorie intake? For how long at a time?

    Such interesting outcomes – and free!

    1. It’s not just water-only fasting that has shown promising results regarding lowering blood pressure. Check out this study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6471315/ Intermittent Fasting in Cardiovascular Disorders—An Overview (Section 4). Intermittent fasting for this overview was defined as “a form of time restricted eating (typically 16 h fasting and 8 h eating),did show positive blood pressure lowering results and in this study Duration was listed as lasting between 4-21 days.
      You can find out more about time restricted eating vy viewing the following NFO videos:https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-benefits-of-early-time-restricted-eating/
      and https://nutritionfacts.org/video/time-restricted-eating-put-to-the-test/. Hopefully this answers your questions.

  3. Dr. Goldhamer of the True North Clinic puts patients on extended doctor supervised fasts. Dr. McDougal sends his patients there when he can’t get their BP down. Apparently the fast reboots the body and drops the BP down; followed with life style changes including plant based eating. I call it Lifestyle Bootcamp for the very ill.
    .

  4. Fasting seems to be very effective and appears everywhere lately. However, I don’t quite see how to do it. I look at the 16/8 method (eat all your foods in 8 hours) which seems the easiest to maintain. However, I eat about 3500 calories per day nearly 100% whole foods plant-based. I currently do that over 6 meals of 500-600 calories in about 13 hours. And that’s a challenge! I think I could cut it to 4 meals. That is nearly 900 calories per meal of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and grains. It is a LOT of food, including at least 5 different fruits and vegetables. That is also a massive load of fiber and protein. Can the body handle that? I don’t know if I could eat 900 calories in one meal, anyway. And then turn around and do it again in 2 hours? Heck, it would probably take at least 30 minutes just to eat that much food. Ugh…. I’m getting a little ill just thinking about it. Is fasting even feasible for someone like me?

    1. I eat 4000-5000 calories a day of whole plant foods. And very low fat. No nuts or avocados. All in three meals. Not a problem. If I do get very full, the feeling goes away in just a few minutes because the food digests very easily.

    2. Before fasting, you need to prepare for the fast. To do that you will want to add hemp hearts to your salads. They will help clean you out very well. You don’t want to go into a fast with a full colon because fasting for a beginner can result in constipation.

      I can’t fathom why you are worried about fasting. Just stop eating. Drink water on a continuous basis by sipping. Add lemon to it to help flush out fatty deposits.
      The first day and a half you will feel hungry. Decide that is a symptom of your illness that you have to work through. Late into the second day your hunger pangs will have passed but you will still miss eating due to habit, not hunger. You will also have headache. Leave it be. Tough it out. Binge watch some TV to keep your mind off it. Stay awake until it’s time to go to bed.

      By the third day you are more comfortable and your body is gearing up to shed weight and toxins. After that the longer you prolong the fast the better results you get. One of them will be vastly improved mental clarity. That was what the headache was about – clearing sludge from your brain.

      While you are fasting, typically, your thoughts will turn to all the great things you plan to eat as soon as you are done fasting.

      If you are diabetic, you will need to monitor your blood sugar. The best way I know of is with one of those Libre Freestyle devices. With those you can monitor your blood sugar food by food if you can maintain the discipline and stick to it. You should do that before the fast so you know what to do.

      Again if you are diabetic, monitor your blood sugar and each day lengthen your fast until you can do it safely. Don’t cheat. That should be enough to get you started.

      Take that time to put together a grocery list based on the recipes you will look up.

      When you come off the fast, don’t binge eat. It’s very easy to collapse and twist an empty colon if yours is empty.

      1. I know I can fast, just trying to figure out how to get enough calories when I’m not fasting. My BMI is 18.5, so I don’t want to lose weight.

        1. The whole point of fasting is that you get nothing but water. If you intake calories, you are not fasting. If there is food intake your body doesn’t really start to clean house because it doesn’t have to. So stop eating and get on with it.
          A fast can last 3 weeks easily without food. Stop worrying about your weight. Any weight you lose you can quickly put back on by weight training. It’s called muscle memory.

          You are procrastinating for no good reason.

    3. Hi, SpareChaos! Fasting is a word that is thrown around a lot, but not well understood. It generally refers to going at least 24 hours without food. It is different from time-restricted eating, which is what the 16/8 method is. If you are fasting, you will not eat 3500 kcal per day! Cramming that into a shorter period of time would be time-restricted eating, not fasting. Alternate-day fasting, in which you eat normally one day, and then eat nothing the next day, drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, might work for you, but you should check with your doctor first. Water-only fasting is not without risks, and should only be done with medical approval, so that medications may be adjusted as needed, and with medical supervision if done for extended periods of time. more on fasting and time-restricted eating here: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/fasting/ I hope that helps!

      1. Thanks Christine. I was thinking more of the “Intermittent fasting” which has been talked about by Dr Greger. I agree that Alternate-day fasting would probably be a better option.

    1. Hi Mary, you took the words right out of my post! I have yet to see next ever happen here. Half the subject gets presented and then —- nothing. Or something I never seem to be able to find.

      1. That’s because tomorrow never comes. When it does, it is called today.

        The next video never comes either because when it does it is called the current video.

        1. As far as I know, I get all the videos one after the other and I save them. As I said, I have yet to see one that looks like a sequel to something else. I see the first one and then nothing more.

    2. Hi, Mary! Because this is the latest video, the next one has not yet been released, but it will be next week, so check back then! If you are watching an older video, you can scroll down to see a link with an arrow to the left to access the previous video in the series, and a link with an arrow to the right to access the next one. While you are waiting for the next video, you can find all the videos on this site related to blood pressure here: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/blood-pressure/ I hope that helps!

  5. Okay, MedCram has started talking about things I have been trying to understand.

    Coronavirus Pandemic Update 37: The ACE-2 Receptor – The Doorway to COVID-19 (ACE Inhibitors & ARBs)

    Boy, I would love some “nutrition and ACE-2” videos.

    1. Though, I guess the fact that the meds that increase ACE-2 are used for high blood pressure, maybe that is why you posted this?

      You really need to find a new format for things like COVID-19.

      You have a less time-sensitive process.

      Not a complaint.

      But this video IS on-topic but it isn’t being presented in context to current events.

      1. This is probably the biggest health news event in most of our lives and you need a fireside chat format or something to get your voice in it before it is over.

        1. Oops, I saw the email about the

          How to Survive the Pandemic in my box today.

          I want to say, “Nevermind”

          But you and your leadership still need to talk about having an emergency format for things like this. You could be doing something closer to a teaching format with Dr. Greger with a whiteboard instead of a treadmill.

          The Webinars get you closer to current, but this is a situation where people need to know things quicker.

          1. I’m truly grateful for Dr. Greger and his team’s work, but April 8 seems far away in relation to this. And $15 isn’t much but if you don’t pay, it’s even later. Our schools are closed and more of the country is shutting down. Probably too late for those things already. There were parties all over our area yesterday, including next door where the homeowners are grandparents. I will hopefully be able to make some money tutoring online. I’m getting more upset. I have scar tissue on my lungs from pneumonia-empyemas from when I was a kid. I have so many questions. We are living in a self-imposed quasi-lockdown situation and thankfully my boyfriend is a gardener, so some fresh produce can hopefully come from the yard, but everybody here (except us) loves their guns so today I’m far more worried about different things possibly happening, while before I was just okay with staying home.

            1. Dr. Wes Youngberg has several videos on youtube about covid-19. He is a plant based doctor. There are others out there already on-line giving good information. This virus has been in the know for long enough that Dr. Greger should have been giving us information already. April 8 is way too far out and it should not be a webinar for signup and a fee. It should be right on this website under latest live presentation. I don’t mean to be critical but yet what good is a website about the latest scientific facts if it does not address what is going on currently.

              1. I agree cp, and said as much a week ago in the comments forum. I find it offensive having supported this website since 2008 by volunteering to help newbies, sharing videos and blogs, and buying books. This is the 11th hour, and to be charged for vital info while our country is sinking is highly offensive to me. Should be free, public, and encouraging. Not the time to make a buck.

                1. What happened to good old American capitalism?

                  Why should someone put in a lot of hours and money then give it all away for free. Don’t you suppose there are hidden charges that have to be covered somehow?

                  If your costs aren’t covered, pretty soon the service has to disappear. Paying too little is sometimes worse than paying too much.

                  1. John, we support NF, ie we, the public contributors. Dr Greger elects to receive a handsome salary from those funds. Nothing has been given away for ‘free’, except from some of us.

                    1. I was justt reading from Dr Greger’s book, Bird Flu, which you can do on his website. Much of the information on influenza pandemics covered within is applicable to CV19. It makes fascinating reading, though a bit scary. He is making the info from the coming webinar free after it happens.

                    2. “Nothing has been given away for ‘free’, except from some of us”
                      – – – – –

                      I agree! Look at the hundreds of personal experiences, anecdotes, and suggested links many of US have provided “to the public.” And for free! .

                2. We pretty much know what he’d suggest, anyway, don’t we Barb? The same Usual Suspects: Fruits, veggies, whole grains, seeds, nuts, no/little animal foods…..tra-la, tra-la, tra-la.

                    1. Could link. We got what it’s like having the Beer Virus right from the horse’s mouth.

                      “Within hours of getting my first symptoms I wasn’t able to eat. I went for two days with no food at all, as I had no appetite and also had a horrible metallic taste in my mouth which made food taste unpleasant. Eating felt like too much effort.”
                      – – –

                      If I lose my appetite I’ll know I really have it, because that rarely happens with me. :-) But somewhere in her summary she mentioned having “nose ulcers.” What are those?

                  1. For sure YR, other than a few tweaks here and there, and maybe a comment or two on the remedies we are hearing about, we pretty much have the idea already. I did read his flu book years ago, and again recently, and that gives good background… a little light on the encouragement though.
                    Dr Furhman actually gave a positive approach talk and offered a brochure pdf with self-care reminders.

                    1. Barb,

                      Then we add Dr. McDougall’s prepper version.

                      I feel like we need all of the versions.

                      When I listened to Dr. Fuhrman, he seemed to be talking to long-term Nutritarians who don’t have conditions causing them to be vulnerable. I felt like there hasn’t been a “WFPB makes us safe from Coronavirus” study yet. Hoping there will be, but I suspect there will be people who are WFPB who will get sick or get their loved ones sick.

                      Still, you are right that it is encouraging.

                      And Dr. McDougall helped me figure out how to prepare my pantry. Worked on that today. I don’t have a physical pantry, so storing lots of dried foods was mentally a challenge, but I now have at least a few pounds of every bean and lentil and rice and oats. Working on the potatoes concept. Had to remember Brazil nuts and seaweed.

                      I don’t know that I am totally there, but I ordered air-tight stainless steel containers with built-in calendars and labels. The calendar is a big one for me. I am not someone who follows dates well and I was afraid of this process because when I have done this process before, I have ended up looking 3 years later and all of the food was still there.

                      This time, I am eating beans every day anyway, so it is more having the date and making it a “working prepper pantry” and someone showed how to do that.

                      The concept of storing dried fruits is one that I am still not sure of. Dr. McDougall recommended something like 1 teaspoon of dried fruit per day. So far, I am eating not dried fruit, but I want a pantry only of things I will eat, but one that will have a system for the rest of my life.

                      My brain is not an organized brain and trying to figure this out has been harder than anything else.

                      But the universe has given me a nudge.

              2. cp

                That comment is ridiculous.

                This is a website about nutrition. it’s not about providing any and all medical advice demanded by people watching the videos and reading the blogs.

              3. Hi cp,

                Thank you for your comment. With regard to the timeliness of the webinar, we completely understand – with over 2,000 coronavirus papers to look through, our team is working diligently on creating completely evidence-based content that is helpful for everyone. We’re working as quickly as we can to get this information out. Also, the suggested $15 donation is only a suggested amount.

              4. cp , It is NEW virus. Not all virus are similar so much we had been told was related to SARS and we are finding out what was told just a few days ago no longer applies now as we learn more about Covid-19. Viruses also mutate constantly. This one did so it could infect humans and it is not stopped mutating. What may be true now might not be true later, especially with a new virus that we do not even know how quickly it mutates. We just learned that 8 out of 10 people do not get severe symptoms and can have even none which is why Covid-19 has spread so easily. People are giving it to loved ones not even knowing they are themselves infected. We all are going to be infected according to the WHO. They are talking ‘herd immunity’ which only comes when the masses either have been vaccinated or previously infected and have some immunity curbing further spread. NYT is reporting now that ‘A federal government plan to combat the coronavirus warned policymakers last week that a pandemic “will last 18 months or longer” and could include “multiple waves,” resulting in widespread shortages that would strain consumers and the nation’s health care system.’

                Gregor is but one man with his own opinions that is not a viral specialist. WFPB is not going to save anyone from a virus.

            2. Hi J,

              Thank you for your comment. With regard to the timeliness of the webinar, we completely understand – with over 2,000 coronavirus papers to look through, our team is working diligently on creating completely evidence-based content that is helpful for everyone. We’re working as quickly as we can to get this information out. Also, the suggested $15 donation is only a suggested amount.

            3. J,

              I agree with you that April 8th is far away.

              I am not upset with Dr. Greger doing a webinar format, but as of today so many people are out of work and are seriously in jeopardy in more than one way. Financially, lack of supplies and health risks so the sooner and cheaper the better.

              Dr. Greger, I never want to throw you under any bus at all and I am so grateful for you doing the research. I just know that this topic is a special one and people are looking for your voice from the WFPB community.

              I take your Bird Flu book as you already having blessed me on this topic and you gave that to me for free.

              So, I have zero negative syllables to say to you. I just know that people are so terrified and I don’t know the logic for pushing it out that far.

        2. I have no interest in seeing a coronavirus video or blog post on this site. The internet and traditional media are awash with stories about it. I don’t need or want more.of the same here. It’s nutrition and nutrition-related topics that are the crown jewels of this site.

          IMHO.

  6. Also, the local stores didn’t get their re-stocking orders where I live.

    I am hoping everybody has a flexible mentality of eating and drinking and cleaning.

    I just had a person say that he traded an auto repair for toilet paper.

    Creativity in all things helps. YouTube gives lots of creative ways to do things.

    1. I live where Covid-19 first hit the USA. The only stores that open with empty shelves around are the big blue —mart stores. Even Costco does a better job restocking despite their rushes. Other supermarkets in the area have some low and out of stock items, but none have the completely empty shelves Awfulmart is scaring people in my community with.

        1. I am referring your comment for admin review. There may be an issue that needs to be resolved. It may also be the case that you are seeing the next one, but it is not labeled that way, so you may not realize it is the next one in the series. You can find everything on this site related to blood pressure here: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/blood-pressure/ If you don’t see the next video next week, please let us know.

  7. Outstanding video as it provides the “proportion of variance” with various lifestyle behaviors. I believe it is very important to provide individuals with the relative effectiveness of various approaches to maintaining a healthy blood pressure. This adds to my favorite previous video’s on Blood pressure:

    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-to-prevent-high-blood-pressure-with-diet/
    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-to-treat-high-blood-pressure-with-diet/

    I also recommend Dr. John McDougall’s November 2009 newsletter article, How I treat patient’s with Elevated Blood Pressure.

  8. Blood pressure is a good topic today.

    They were talking today about how with restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, DMV, buses, Apple Stores, Sporting events, Schools, etc. being closed indefinitely, it will be a big portion of our economy where people who were living from paycheck to paycheck don’t have jobs maybe for months.

    I still have a job, but I am watching people who have no job and no toilet paper and no food and it is already devastating to watch.

    I don’t feel like it is raising my blood pressure, but it is because I have a stocked pantry and a job and no mortgage and we are months away from taxes being due and it has been a mild winter so oil heating was very cheap this year. I feel so blessed. But we had a few “deaths by accidents” yesterday. Not at my shop, but at a friend’s garage. People are stressed out and making life and death mistakes.

    1. Deb,
      Far be it for me to figure out appropriate strategy for this health emergency. But I have two brain cells that say that stopping the bus is no way to get people where they need to go. Where are the statistics showing harm / benefit?

      1. Deb,
        I just watched a CDC doctor explain what could be called a “slow it down” strategy on the spread of the virus. This is to provide more protection to the vulnerable. The CDC thinks the strategy used in China has been effective.
        Panic can happen any way the crisis is handled, but a business as usual approach is what I expected for this virus that is not too far from the norm. I mean, more people may die crossing streets. What is the cost and hardship for those who lose their way of life?

        1. Dan,

          Yes, I have been watching the daily updates and the “slow it down” strategies and what I will say is that I am interested to see what happens because when you end up with a country like ours where so many people are working 3 jobs and don’t have sick pay or benefits, I am wondering what the suicide rate and the heart attack rate and economic stress rate from losing businesses and houses and the diseases spread through not having toilet paper or soap versus the mortality rate spread through Covid-19 will be.

          I am not trying to say it in a negative way.

          I have people like my cousin who is on dialysis who already has a respiratory infection and he would die if he got it and that is life and death.

          Then, I have people who can’t afford to miss even a single paycheck to keep their house or to stop from being homeless and they don’t have toilet paper or food already and the shelves are empty and they may die and it is hard to know how to balance the risk versus risk.

          The wealthy people tend to be worried about the NBA or other millionaires and I am not worried if my relatives who are wealthy lose the money to keep all of their houses or their Mercedes. I am worried about my homeless relatives and friends.

        1. DanC,

          Thanks for posting things.

          I have enjoyed all of the daily updates online.

          Every day, I have been watching MedCram and Dr. John Campbell.

          Though I will acknowledge that I enjoy Alton Brown’s hand-washing protocol better.

          It is frustrating that the carnivore people are saying you won’t get sick if you eat carnivore when it was eating animals that caused the whole thing in the first place.

          There should be an “Eating birds is for the birds.” t-shirt with a list of the viruses from it.

          With the concept of eating birds could kill not only you but other people.

          I say that as my relatives bemoan the fact that all of the chicken is gone.

          I don’t know if our stores got re-stocked today, but I am not needing food this week.

          I just need to figure out my working prepper pantry project.

  9. Did anybody mention “Don’t watch the TV News, especially during mealtimes”? If anything can cause stress and high BP, that will do it. Listen to beautiful upbeat music instead — for instance, as played on the Easy Listening TV channel.

    The Chinese curse is fully upon us. Are we being tested to see how strong and innovative we can be? Maybe.

    1. YR,

      Yes, that is a good one.

      Soothing music. Walk on the walking path. Though our walking paths look like the Boston Marathon currently. All of the kids are home from school and all of the movie theaters and restaurants and museums and bowling alleys and arcades and other places to take them are closed.

    2. Yes YR, I was trying to find a post by bbc on protecting mental health from the barrage of bad news (lol bbc was one of the worst for dramatic reporting ) Limiting time on the net or in front of the tv news was one top suggestion.

      Reading panicky posts is not helpful at all imo. We all see what’s going on. Leaving NF forums to discuss nutrition would be good.

      I joined the run club this spring to a. get exercise and b. get some relaxing time outside in fresh air and sun. It’s 3 hrs / week which will help when gyms are closed. I would like to buy a bike too but we’ll see.

      I would like too see topics covering avoiding dehydration ie formulas for maintaing electrolytes .

    3. Not surprised racism comes from you. FACT: there are over 100 zoonotic viruses in animals than can jump from animal to human. Scientists have traced the genetic lineage of the H1N1 swine flu to a strain that emerged in 1998 in U.S. factory pig farms, where it spread and mutated at an alarming rate.

      1. When YR wrote about the Chinese curse she was obviously referring to the famous if possibly apocryphal ancient Chinese saying ‘may you live in interesting times’..

        Nothing racist about it.

        Knee-jerk political correctness appears to be the modern Western curse.

  10. Just received email on dr g’s next webinar “how not to die in a pandemic” scheduled for April 8. Please Dr Greger share this info with us in a video or blog. You mention covering the topic of protecting your respiratory health which is vitally important at this very scary time in our world. I Subscribe to your videos and blogs and follow your guidelines for healthy living as much as I can and my has improved. Please save the webinar for another important topic but one not as urgent as this. Thank you

  11. I was noticing today that my Wabi Baby sanitizer uses a sun image for UV and with the Coronavirus, everybody uses a similar sun image to depict the virus shape.

    And all of the movie theaters and sporting events and every single thing in the universe is closed and 9 months from now people will be able to use the Wabi Baby for the Covid-19 baby bump kids.

      1. If so, maybe we can expect a slew of little humans (babies) to flood the earth in around 9 or 10 months.

        Although why they’d want to incarnate back here again beats hell outta me. :-/

          1. Looks like a great way to keep in shape, Fumbles. Notice there wasn’t a fat one in the bunch.

            Maybe it’s time to learn a more modern “shake, rattle and roll.” The last one I was good at was….hmmm, I guess it was The Twist. :-)

    1. The name coronavirus is derived from the Latin corona, meaning “crown” or “halo”, which refers to the characteristic appearance reminiscent of a crown or a solar corona around the virions (virus particles) when viewed under two-dimensional transmission electron microscopy, due to the surface covering in club-shaped protein spikes.

  12. Dr. McDougall’s video was interesting in things like that he has 100 pounds of dried foods and he talked about dried potatoes.

    I have been thinking about the boy scout motto of being prepared and how much dry food to store is something I have no concept of how much I do need.

    His 100 pounds is making me think about things. I did see 24-pound boxes of potato flakes and things like that but I am afraid that I will be throwing 14 pounds away.

    Mentally, I am confused about how to do the logic.

    If grocery stores are going to keep not having stock and if the economy starts crashing, I am going to wish I had huge quanitities of potato flakes and broccoli sprout seeds or something.

    I do have a lot of dry beans and lentils.

    I am not a good “prepper” and I am starting to see that I do “prepare” but prepping is a different skill-set.

    Lots to think about.

  13. I found an article that coronavirus is spread by fecal/oral route.

    https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/85315

    I say it because people still don’t shut their toilet lid and if you don’t fecal material flies around the room for 20 minutes and lands on toothbrushes.

    60% of toothbrushes tested positive for fecal matter.

    Also, public restrooms don’t have lids so if people have flushed the toilet within 20 minutes you can get their fecal matter.

  14. That article said that even after the respiration droplets tested negative, the stool was still testing positive.

    That means people could be healed maybe in tests but it could still be in their stool?

  15. what happened to the theory that elevated levels of uric acid was the ‘ root of all evil ‘ and was the underlying cause of many of the
    current ( non sars2 ) health epidemics

  16. Whole Foods still doesn’t have many frozen vegetables but they restocked produce and closed bulk foods.

    Still empty in a lot of aisles

    I have been watching prepper videos and laughing.

    One woman has a spread sheet with a calculator of how to figure out how much you need for up to a year of food.

    I think that is what everybody did.

    I feel confident that if this was a test run, I have learned a lot.

    I still haven’t figured out the logic of the 24 container of potato flakes but I already know ahead of time that I won’t be able to buy bulk products next time.

  17. This post is off topic, but may be of some import nonetheless.

    Given the attention surrounding the Coronavirus epidemic,
    what with its very rapid propagation, it would be good to
    know what dietary protocols might be beneficial in minimizing
    its harmful effects as well as its recovery time.

    As a plant based vegan who relies on legumes as a primary
    protein & fiber source, I was taken aback with what I read here:

    https://vixra.org/pdf/2003.0317v2.pdf

    entitled (sic):” Legumes and the Corona Virus Direct Correlation Low legume consumption leads to very low corona virus deaths”

    I would like to hear from individuals more qualified than myself regarding the red flags
    raised in the article.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. I would never trust alleged ‘research’ that had no doctor or scientists names on it anywhere to start. Actual researchers want credit for what they do.

    2. Brooklyn,

      There are a few things where lectins have been shown to be anti-viral. I am looking for anything to back up that theory that the person had, but there are exactly ZERO PubMed articles about Covid-19 linked to diet.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30996857

      In the studies that have looked at deaths, 48% of the patients who died had a comorbidity: hypertension 30%, diabetes 19%, cardiac problems, smoking and being older are the biggest correlations. Legumes don’t increase diabetes, cardiac problems, or hypertension. In fact, studies have definitively linked a diet high in legumes with a lower risk of developing obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, or strokes.

      The deaths were linked to smoking, diabetes, hypertension,

  18. This is just a study of statistical associations. Observational studies are notoriously vulnerable to confounding by uncontrolled variables. That is one reason why it is not possible to prove causation from an association. That doesn’t stop people speculating of course.

    Another obvious problem here is the fact that eg Austria and Iraq have identical rates of legume consumption but one has an infection rate 50% higher than the other and a death rate that is 73 times higher. France and Israel also have identical consumption rates but one has an infection rates that is more than 3 times higher than the other (which also has a zero death rate). And note eg Estonia and Romania which both have very rates of legume consumption but which have death rates of zero despite relatively high rates of infection. How can these things be reconciled with the authors claims? They can’t. Peer review processes normally weed out poorly argued papers like this which may explain why it apparently hasn’t been published in a reputable journal.

    We can use statistics to ‘prove’ virtually anything if we have a mind to. This seems like just such an attempt.

      1. I did find the original study that was quoted and it is a pre-print – not published.

        But when I looked at butyrate and other viral conditions, the results were the opposite.

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29674425

        Patients with higher abundances of butyrate-producing bacteria were fivefold less likely to develop viral LRTI, independent of other factors (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.22, 95% confidence interval 0.04-0.69). Higher representation of butyrate-producing bacteria in the fecal microbiota is associated with increased resistance against respiratory viral infection with LRTI in allo-HCT patients.

      2. Thanks Deb.. This is all above my intellectual pay grade too. However, I would offer a a couple of comments:

        1. This just a test tube study. Whether it has any relevance to humans eating a diet containing lectins in normal amounts is unknown.
        2. Foods don’t just contain lectins. Thy contain a huge variety of substances which may help, hinder or harm viruses. Lectins are just one part of a very complicated equation. What is the overall effect of consuming particular foods seems a more relevant question.
        3. High temperature cooking (boiling) deactivates most lectins.

  19. This is seriously needed on this comment section:

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html

    The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

    Things you can do to support yourself

    Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
    Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
    Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
    Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

    Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

    1. Thanks, Reality bites!

      I have a friend texting me right this second because she is elderly and isn’t sure whether she has the flu or covid19 and the testing isn’t quite ready and she is pretty panicked. She lives with her adult children one has asthma, COPD, diabetes, and epilepsy and the other has asthma and MS. She is poor and her job didn’t close yet and she has been working up to today but isn’t going to get sick pay. She isn’t sure which thing to panic about.

      I have been watching food prepping and it has been comforting to me. So maybe to some people “understanding useful things” is the most comforting.

      I haven’t decided between the Ball jars and the Mylar in buckets versus the canisters with the CO2 valve and calendar on top, but I found out that they say you need about 750 pounds of dry food per person per year and that it becomes very heavy on shelving if you do it all in the glass, so it might be a mixture. I really do feel so comforted by understanding things and I could probably buy the food for the rest of my life now. It is something to think about. Never thinking about food ever again is appealing if I can figure out how to store it properly.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wwx9O6LfTmQ

      1. Deb,
        I do a combination of minor prepping, plus making it easy on myself. I mostly use a counter top microwave. It has been operational for around 20 years and works like new. It is great for quick heat ups, like oatmeal and canned goods.
        Why people cook oatmeal for 20 minutes is beyond me. It can be soaked over night and eaten or cooked for a minute. I keep six or seven large oatmeal containers on hand. Even my dog eats it–with water. I eat my oatmeal with water.
        I never use my dishwasher. I rinse my dishes and drip dry them.
        I do cook stove top bean / veggie stew (about 20 pints) once a week. This goes in the freezer.
        I keep 20 lbs. of potatoes on hand. I quarter them and micro for a couple of minutes.
        I’m full of chuckles watching YouTube videos of people fighting over toilet paper. This is a huge expense, does a poor job, clogs plumbing and takes up valuable storage space. I raise my commode seat and sit to the front of the bowl and then use a plastic container to pour warm water down my cleavage for a really good clean.

  20. Thank you Doctor Greger for covering what has likely been a necessary part of nutrition during times when people experienced seasonal fluctuations in the availability of food before the can, jug, jar, box, bag, carton, and bottle became primary means of food’s preservation in memory. We would do well to revive cultures which use biological robustness to preserve food and beverages instead of this frail reliance on maintaining an abiotic state through the cessation of life in our food. You are what you eat so feed and fast to be healthy and happy. Please know another hero Sandor Ellix Katz, author of Wild Fermentation and author of Art of Fermentation.

  21. I need help/advice. Here where I live there are very few professionals who will help me do anything naturally. I am worried I will always be on blood pressure medication because I have a bit of a conundrum. Because I’ve had this blood pressure problem for so many years, my worry about it has worsened to such a point that it gives me anxiety. If someone mentions blood pressure I get anxious, watching these videos have given me anxiety which in turn raises my blood pressure. Going to the doctors office to have my blood pressure taken or even doing it at home myself raises my blood pressure because I get anxious. So I can never get an accurate reading. My health is the only thing that causes anxiety for me, mostly worrying about BP. I don’t want to be on antidepressants, doctors prescribed them before and it made me ill and actually made me worry more because I hate having to take pharmaceutical drugs. I want to desperately get off my BP meds, but I don’t know how I will ever do that for as long as my true BP can’t be measured. I’ve changed my diet and eating mostly plant based, hardly any dairy and only fish sometimes, the rest of the time I juice and eat healthy, always monitoring my sodium intake and reducing oils. I’m also very low in Omega 3 so have to take healthy oil, so I take flaxseed and eat avocados/nuts etc. If anyone experienced and possibly even a professional, has any advice for me I would appreciate it. I struggle to even research about blood pressure because it makes me too anxious.

    1. While your pulse is in the normal range, you should review your BP readings with your doctor especially if you are having any symptoms (lightheadedness, any fainting, confusion, etc.) . Low blood pressure is usually defined as 90/60 so you are right at the borderline so while there is no reason to panic, monitoring is appropriate. You will find more information at this site: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007278.htm “Blood Pressure.” Please review and speak with your doctor. If you are monitoring BP at home, it would be good to have a record, noting any day time fluctuations. There are many causes for lowered pressure as outlined in the article mentioned. The key here is to focus on any related symptoms you may be having (also outlined in article) and know that most low blood pressure problems can be successfully treated. Best of health to you as you review this concern, and keep informing yourself via this website.

  22. I actually have low blood pressure and experience dizziness. My blood sugar level is naturally elevated – genetic predisposition. Anything specific that I shall avoid?

  23. Hello,

    Would you also recommend a plant based diet to a patient suffering from a Polycystic kidney disease resulting in high blood pressure? Current doctor only recommended less sodium and less protein not to affect kidneys however as far as I know legumes are loaded with protein.

    Thank you for your advice.

  24. I recently switched to a whole food, plant based diet with absolutely no animal products. I’ve also added in daily exercise and am limiting my salt and oil intake.

    How long does it take on average to lower your BP levels to normal? I have been doing WFPB for a month now without BP medication and am surprised to see that my levels haven’t dropped significantly yet.

    Any advice?

    Thanks!

    1. Eat hemp hearts. You’ll need between 3 and 8 tablespoons a day. Sprinkle them on salads and mix into soups. Don’t add the hemp hearts until the soup is in your bowl.

      Also, don’t eat them alone or you will soon lose your taste for them. They taste like macadamia nuts sort of.

      Your blood pressure will lower as your venal system become more elastic. You will enjoy the process.

      Your regularity will improve to at least one bowel movement per meal as well. Enjoy.

    2. What do you know. Someone removed my post which would have worked.

      Good luck with the side effects of the drugs you end up on.

  25. Hello RennyMag,

    I am a family doctor with a private practice in lifestyle medicine, and also a volunteer for Dr. Greger on this website. Thank you for your question, and congratulations on switching to a healthier diet and exercise regime. The likely answer is that, as they say, “the devil is in the details”….

    To give you good advice, I would need to know more about you:
    – What is your current range of blood pressure readings? (Is your pressure just slightly high, or way high?; if it’s way high, you should talk with your doctor!)
    – Do you have any medical problems in addition to hypertension, such as sleep apnea, diabetes, obesity, heart failure? (Any of these makes control of BP more problematic; if so, you should discuss with your doctor).
    – Do you have a very stressful job or home environment? (If so, control of BP is more difficult).
    – Do you drink lots of caffeine? (Some people are very sensitive to this).
    – Did you recently discontinue one or more blood pressure medications? (If so, then it’s not surprising that your new exercise and diet habits can’t immediately compensate for the rise in BP caused by stopping your medications).
    – You say you are “limiting” your salt intake. What does that mean? Because unless you drop your sodium intake down below about 2 grams (2,000 mg) per day, cutting your salt intake doesn’t make a very big impact. You should really get your sodium intake as low as possible, and try to get below 1 gm/day.
    – You say you’re doing daily exercise. Is that aerobic exercise? How many minutes per day? ANY exercise should help somewhat, but to really benefit, you should get at least 30 minutes per day of aerobic exercise — which is defined by how high your heart rate gets during exercise. Your target pulse for aerobic exercise is given by the formula: (220 – age) x 0.85. If you are 40 years old, your target would be (220 – 40) x 0.85 = 153. So, when you’re in the middle of your exercise — say jogging, stop and measure how many heart beats in 15 seconds and multiply by 4. If you get at least 150 or so, you’re doing aerobic exercise.

    If you want faster results, you can try fasting, which will drop both your weight and your blood pressure. Check out this new video by Dr. G:
    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/fasting-to-naturally-reverse-high-blood-pressure/

    To get back to your main question of HOW FAST should you get results: like Dr. G mentions in several of his videos, these marked drops in blood pressure usually occur within one to two weeks. But the patients in these studies were pretty strict with their diet changes.

    I hope this helps.
    Dr. Jon
    https://PhysicianAssistedWellness.com
    Health Support Volunteer for NutritionFacts.org

  26. I’ve followed Dr. Greger’s WPFB diet since January 1st, and although I’m 73 and the damage may already be too severe, I bought a BP monitor to gauge my progress. I’ve lost 30 lbs and hover btwn 155-160 and am 5’9 (male). I’m discouraged that my BP has made no changes – avg 140/85.
    I haven’t fasted, and due to neuropathy find consistent exercise with pain difficult to maintain – any suggestions?
    Keep well during these difficult times.

    1. Here’s my advice Lee,

      Start eating Hemp Hearts. Go to Roger Snow’s website and read the testimonials and follow directions. They are accurate.

      Hemp Hearts are practically unknown to doctors. But they lower blood pressure by returning elasticity to your veins and arteries. Nothing else, certainly no drug can begin to approach the health benefits of Hemp Hearts. I’ve helped save a few people’s lives who would otherwise have died, by recommending them. A pretty outrageous statement to make but one of the lives I saved was my own.

      They taste like macadamia nuts. If you are of celtic descent, you have to be cautious be cause celtic people cannot metre out iron when they exceed their limit.

      They are excellent for resolving constipation too.

      Hemp Hearts then, are also the best food source of iron. Lots of other benefits I’m too lazy to mention. I’m surprised Dr. Greger has not done a video on Hemp Hearts.

      And no, Hemp hearts are not a grain or ever a seed. They are the heart of the hemp seed. Not halucinogenic at all but the US government is scared shitless of them.

  27. First, congratulations on adopting healthier nutrition choices and losing those 30 lbs. You’ve made great progress, although I can understand how it can be frustrating that the blood pressure hasn’t dropped yet. You do have a challenge with the peripheral neuropathy not allowing you to exercise more, but perhaps you could still do more upper body exercise (?) Fortunately, there are also other nutritional steps you can take. It’s great you are attempting to eat WFPB and you just might want to confirm using the Daily Dozen that you are getting all the nutrients in that you need. There are other steps you might want to adopt that might help with the the blood pressure too, if you haven’t:Check out these videos to see if any of these tips might help nudge that BP down:
    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/fasting-to-naturally-reverse-high-blood-pressure/
    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-to-lower-blood-pressure-naturally-with-lifestyle-changes/
    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/hibiscus-tea-vs-plant-based-diets-for-hypertension/
    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/flax-seeds-for-hypertension/.
    It seems this may take a patience and determination, but you’ve already shown you are motivated and can make positive changes. Hope these help and do stay safe yourself. Remember stress also needs to be managed to keep BP down and during these challenging times, that may take additional effort.

  28. Hi there I have been a vegan for 4 years now and I am completely raw plant based at the moment and my blood pressure has plummeted to 86/61 today. How do I get it up???? I drink slot of water everyday…that seems usual response.

    1. You did not mention if you are having any symtoms (dizziness, lightheadedness) If so monitor and see a doctor if simple hydration does not resolve. If you are dehydrated that certainly can cause lower BP, but as a nurse I’d encourage you to keep a record of your readings. Drinking esp coffee can bring up the BP a little, but there aren’t too many other actions you can take other than making sure you are eating well and practicing healthy habits, including regular meals. Here is an article with more background: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007278.htm on blood pressure.

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