How to Prevent High Blood Pressure with Diet

How to Prevent High Blood Pressure with Diet
4.5 (90%) 66 votes

High blood pressure, the #1 killer risk factor in the world, may be eliminated with a healthy enough diet.


The most comprehensive and systematic analysis of causes of death ever undertaken allows us to answer questions like: how many lives could we save if people cut back on soda? The answer? Our best estimate: 299,521. Soda isn’t just bad because it’s empty calories, so it’s not a health-promoting food. It appears to be an actively death-promoting food. Of course not as deadly as bacon, bologna, ham, or hot dogs: 800,000 deaths every year, killing twice as many women as domestic violence; five times more people than all illegal drugs combined.

But eating more whole grains could save 1.7 million lives every year; more vegetables, 1.8 million lives. If only we ate more nuts and seeds, 2.5 million lives saved. But fruit is apparently what the world needs most (they didn’t look at beans): 4.9 million lives hang in the balance every year, and the cure is not drugs or vaccines; the cure is fruit.

One reason why plant-based diets can save so many millions is because the #1 killer risk factor in the world is high blood pressure, laying to waste nine million people, year after year.

In the United States, high blood pressure affects nearly 78 million—that’s one in three of us, and as we age, our pressures get higher and higher, such that by age 60, it strikes more than half. If it affects most of us when we get older, maybe it’s less a disease, and more just a natural, inevitable consequence of aging? No. We’ve known for nearly a century that high blood pressure need never occur. Researchers measured the blood pressure of a thousand people in rural Kenya who ate a diet centered around whole plant foods. Whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruit, and dark green leafies. Up until age 40, the blood pressures of rural Africans were about the same as Europeans and Americans, down around 120 over 80, but as Westerners age, their pressures creep up such that by age 60, the average person is hypertensive, exceeding 140 over 90. But what about those not following the Western diet? Their pressures improved with age; not only did they not develop hypertension, their blood pressures actually got better.

The whole 140 over 90 cutoff is arbitrary. Just like studies show that the lower the cholesterol the better, there’s really no safe cholesterol level above about 150. Blood pressure studies also support the “lower the better” approach to blood pressure reduction. Even people who start out with blood pressure under 120 over 80 appear to benefit from blood pressure reduction. But is it possible to get blood pressures under 110 over 70? It’s not just possible; it’s normal, for those eating healthy enough diets.

Over two years at a rural Kenyan hospital, 1,800 patients were admitted. How many cases of high blood pressure did they find? Zero. Wow, so they must have had low rates of heart disease. No, they had no rates of heart disease. Not low risk, no risk. Not a single case of arteriosclerosis—our #1 killer—was found.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Shanta Rohse via Flickr.

The most comprehensive and systematic analysis of causes of death ever undertaken allows us to answer questions like: how many lives could we save if people cut back on soda? The answer? Our best estimate: 299,521. Soda isn’t just bad because it’s empty calories, so it’s not a health-promoting food. It appears to be an actively death-promoting food. Of course not as deadly as bacon, bologna, ham, or hot dogs: 800,000 deaths every year, killing twice as many women as domestic violence; five times more people than all illegal drugs combined.

But eating more whole grains could save 1.7 million lives every year; more vegetables, 1.8 million lives. If only we ate more nuts and seeds, 2.5 million lives saved. But fruit is apparently what the world needs most (they didn’t look at beans): 4.9 million lives hang in the balance every year, and the cure is not drugs or vaccines; the cure is fruit.

One reason why plant-based diets can save so many millions is because the #1 killer risk factor in the world is high blood pressure, laying to waste nine million people, year after year.

In the United States, high blood pressure affects nearly 78 million—that’s one in three of us, and as we age, our pressures get higher and higher, such that by age 60, it strikes more than half. If it affects most of us when we get older, maybe it’s less a disease, and more just a natural, inevitable consequence of aging? No. We’ve known for nearly a century that high blood pressure need never occur. Researchers measured the blood pressure of a thousand people in rural Kenya who ate a diet centered around whole plant foods. Whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruit, and dark green leafies. Up until age 40, the blood pressures of rural Africans were about the same as Europeans and Americans, down around 120 over 80, but as Westerners age, their pressures creep up such that by age 60, the average person is hypertensive, exceeding 140 over 90. But what about those not following the Western diet? Their pressures improved with age; not only did they not develop hypertension, their blood pressures actually got better.

The whole 140 over 90 cutoff is arbitrary. Just like studies show that the lower the cholesterol the better, there’s really no safe cholesterol level above about 150. Blood pressure studies also support the “lower the better” approach to blood pressure reduction. Even people who start out with blood pressure under 120 over 80 appear to benefit from blood pressure reduction. But is it possible to get blood pressures under 110 over 70? It’s not just possible; it’s normal, for those eating healthy enough diets.

Over two years at a rural Kenyan hospital, 1,800 patients were admitted. How many cases of high blood pressure did they find? Zero. Wow, so they must have had low rates of heart disease. No, they had no rates of heart disease. Not low risk, no risk. Not a single case of arteriosclerosis—our #1 killer—was found.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Shanta Rohse via Flickr.

Doctor's Note

This is a video that’s long overdue. The downside of me just covering whatever pops up in the literature is that some really fundamental topics may not get immediate coverage.

Having a “normal” blood pressure may set one up for dying from “normal” causes such as heart attacks and strokes. For more on this concept, see When Low Risk Means High Risk. It’s like having a normal cholesterol level. See Optimal Cholesterol Level.

So it seems high blood pressure is a choice. Like cavities, or heart disease: Cavities and Coronaries: Our Choice.

Even end-stage malignant hypertension can be reversed with diet (thereby showing it was the diet and not other lifestyle factors that protected traditional plant-based populations). See Kempner Rice Diet: Whipping Us Into Shape.

Flax seeds, hibiscus tea, whole grains, and nitrate rich vegetables may offer additional protection:

Why not just take the drugs? See The Actual Benefit of Diet vs. Drugs and Why Prevention is Worth a Ton of Cure.

2020 Update – I just did a new series on blood pressure. See: 

And if you haven’t yet, be sure to watch How Not to Die from High Blood Pressure

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

158 responses to “How to Prevent High Blood Pressure with Diet

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    1. less than 60/100 seems to be ideal. hypo glycemia is possible and can cause fainting. I think they might say to eat more meat, if you see your doctor with this problem.

      1. Or drink fluids with more sodium and potassium ;-) some folks may need medication in more severe cases, but of course talking to their doctor to find out the best treatment is advised.

          1. But guest does the meta say they are harmful or “Our findings suggest that vitamin D supplementation with or without calcium does not reduce skeletal or non-skeletal outcomes in unselected community-dwelling individuals by more than 15%.”
            I am not sure we can say they are harmful based on the study Dr McDougall linked. We can say that >15% of individuals in a community dwelling will not see a reduced outcomes as stated above. Is there another link that gives rise to your concern?

          2. This is from the Dr Mcdougall link that guest posted. It helps to see the rationale for his belief.
            Chronic Disease Causes Low Vitamin D
            Eating the Western diet causes serious common chronic diseases. In an effort to heal, the body responds with repair processes that include inflammation. One of the responses to this inflammation is the lowering of the serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the blood. Thus, low vitamin D in the blood is a result of being ill, not the cause of sickness. This is the main the reason studies using vitamin D supplements have consistently shown no benefits to patients with common chronic diseases. The metabolic imbalances created by administrating this unnatural substance may actually be responsible for the increase in falls, fractures, and other damage. (Vitamin D is a hormone synthesized with the help of sunlight; it is not intended for oral intake or injection.)

          3. Dr. McDougall has excellent information. You are of course encouraged to follow dietary and supplement recommendations right for you. It may be that certain doctors like McDougall and Greger vary slightly on their recommendations, but all have similar end goals. For example, I think Ornish used small amounts of low-fat dairy and egg whites in his program. Nevertheless he has found amazing results. I don’t think McDougall promotes those foods. Rather then fight about who is “wrong” perhaps they are both correct and the most important factor is an overall healthful diet composed of plant-based foods? Same for vitamin D. There can be toxicities (hence the importance of an Upper Limit) but there also may be deficiencies where supplementation could help. Too many unknowns. Dr. Greger has videos on more videos on vitamin D, if interested.

    2. I was using hibiscus tea regularly until a month or two ago when I ran out and I haven’t reordered yet. My blood pressure was often below 90/55 which they said was borderline low. Now that I haven’t had any hibiscus for a while, my blood pressure is back to around 105/70. But, I had no ill effects with the lower value and was able to exercise just fine. I’m looking forward to getting more hibiscus and appreciating the tea’s bright ruby red color which shows that it’s loaded with health-giving antioxidants.

      1. Good for you! You have achieved something great. You should reward yourself. You can brew Hibiscus tea overnight in the refrigerator. It is naturally sweat. Be careful, your heart can make sounds afterward.

          1. Your heart can sound like it is digesting things. If you can hear your heart beat, or see your heart beat, you probably have an Iodiene deficency, hyper tyroidism. Make sure you get slightly more than one half teaspoon of table salt a day. Try to work your self up to the goal. Everybody thinks salt is too salty but not having any iodiene for over 25 years is bad. This site also recomends a D vitamin. D Vitamins, the sunshine hormone, can crack around your heart. Your body in sections is planning for a worst case scenario, but you can do the best with nutrition and orthomolecular medicine. Be safe when you began a plan to get minimum nutrtition.

            1. I don’t know what this post actually means.
              If my heart started sounding like it was digesting things I’d get to a doctor right away. Maybe even call 911.
              Make sure to ingest a minimum of 1/2 tsp. of salt per day for iodine?
              Vitamin D can cause a crack around the heart?
              Like I said, I don’t know what this post means…

              1. The human body has 23 required atoms. Almost all people are deficient in most of them.
                Carbon (even if you get it in food it is not as good as if you get it in the form that comes from sunshine, D3, recommended for Vegans)

                Many diseases can be tracked to a deficiency of one of these 23 atoms. A deficiency of any can put you in disease. Hearing or seeing your heart beat is hypertyrodism. Eat slightly more than one half teaspoon of table salt a day. Hyperthryodism is a deficiency of Iodiene. The vegan diet recommended in this site is more effective, and maybe too effective, for many illnesses. I was incorrect in saying that a vegan diet can treat autism. Sunshine can though.

      2. I have been drinking hibiscus tea but not seeing any improvement in my blood pressure. How much do you drink and how long before you saw results?

        1. For lowering blood pressure, this site recommends:

          hibiscus tea
          brazil nuts
          whole grains
          vegan diet
          flax seed meal

          There is a video you can watch:

          I believe Hibiscus tea had the biggest effect on people who switched from Coffee to Hibiscus tea before their test. Caffeine can raise your blood pressure. They give you two numbers for your blood pressure, being a parent, any stress, can effect this number. It is perhaps the most variable number presented by Internal medicine. Yet, Vegans have the lowest couplet, and are sometimes told to add some meat back. The best couplet would be about 60/100 or under, which would be hypo tensive to any doctor. The one that would be too high would be about 100/145. This can happen right after a run, after something exirerating, or even when sinning. Stress can be good and bad for the body. As long as it is handled well. They have studied that blood pressure raises during sex or long distance running, but people who do these things with care usually have lower blood pressure.

    3. Hi Brigitte, I’ve had the same question at times. I have naturally low bp, sometimes measured as low as ~80/55. Sometimes I’ve wondered if generally eating whole foods plant based, or certain teas including hibiscus could potentially cause problems. The funny thing is for me, I never actually experience any negative effects of my low blood pressure.

      I drink hibiscus tea fairly regularly in the summer just because I like the taste, eat flax daily, and have no problems with it. I consider it something not worth worrying about if it’s not causing me any detectable symptoms. In general I have no fainting, dizziness, etc. But I think you should pay attention to the effects on your own body and go from there. Monitor your bp if you can, pay attention to dizziness, fatigue, etc. and discontinue if you find yourself experiencing symptoms. If you have any other complicating issues or medications, probably best to talk to your doctor about it.

      1. Hi b00mer! Thanks for sharing! I’m glad to ear that you have a low blood pressure and drink hibiscus tea without problem. So, I’ll drink hibiscus and see the effect on my blood pressure some day. As I never experience fainting nor dizziness, I guess there’s no risk.

  1. prevention magazine recommends: beans, kiwi, peaches, bananas. kale, red bell pepper, broccolli, sweet potato, quinoa, avacado (in part)
    this site recommends:
    beets, hibiscus tea, seaweed, grapefruit, beans, brazil nuts, whole grains, vegan diet, flax seed meal for high blood pressure.

    The techniques to lower blood pressure are the same as those used to defeat lie detector tests, to be a sniper, to be a quarter back, to deal with loss, and can include thinking of anything that does not change, including a food, a city, a color, a proper noun, or a descriptive term. Also visulaizing an attractive peer, and swearing or ticking as if you were her (him). Perhaps the most effective way to control blood pressure is to pee before a blood pressure test. Direutics, things that make you pee, are often called water pills, and can include caffeine and potassium. Watermelon might be the most effective treatment for high blood pressure, as it has so much water.

      1. I actually like most of their suggestions overall: eat more plant foods, exercise, rest, meditation, vitamin D, beet juice, and blueberries :) The breakfast ideas could use some modifications, but if you look at them from a wfpb perspective, a lot of them look pretty nice. Breakfast burritos, potato hash, tofu/chickpea scrambles or omelets, pancakes/waffles/oatmeal with fruit. Their first suggestion is sweet potato with lentil chili and tomatoes – no modifications needed! I also LOVE that they mention 700 calorie breakfasts. Mainstream health sources are always hyping these 200-300 calorie meals, and I always think – are these recommendations for babies??? Or are you supposed to eat 10 of them? So, yep I agree, definitely too heavy on the eggs and meat but not as bad as I expected from an obviously non-vegan magazine. Maybe I’m just in an optimistic mood at the moment.

        What I found really exciting is on the first slide, they quote Dr. Neal Barnard(!!!). How great to have one of our plant strong M.D. advocates quoted by a mainstream health magazine. :)

        1. Hi b00mer, points well made/taken. It’s just shocking to me what passes for heart-healthy eating advice in the mainstream media. Trying to shove that square peg into the round hole over and over again is so sad (no pun intended). The only prevention going on here is preventing deviation from business as usual. (Not as optimistic as you…)

          On a semi-related note, allow our imaginations to ponder what sort of laser-guided ‘bliss point’ smart bombs the processed food industry is going to create with this research:

      2. OMG! That would be funny if it wasn’t so sad and scary. As soon as I saw the photo I started to laughing, but only for a second. Geeez, doesn’t that site have an editor or is Prevention just a shill for poultry/meat industry?

        1. Prevention certainly isn’t what it used to be in founder J. I. Rodale’s day.
          Just an opinion but, ever since he passed, it seems they sold out to “Big” everything.

  2. I think the analysis of Kenyans ignores genetic influences. My family history is rife with heart disease. I’m a vegetarian eating a near ideal diet and exercise regularly. My blood pressure hovers at near hypertensive levels. I guess I should have picked Kenyan parents …

        1. I could be. I never thought I was and thought sodium was not only not bad but necessary although in moderation. Since I eat hardly any canned or processed foods, I thought I was avoiding most of the sodium in the SAD. Lately I have been trying to cut way back on it. It’s very hard for me to enjoy oatmeal without a little salt in it, etc. but I think if I keep cutting back my tastes will adjust. So far have not seen any bp lowering results. I’m thinking I’m just going to die when my time comes. I beat my father by 20 years already so that’s something.

      1. In my case, yes. My wife and I have had almost the same vegan diet for over 30 years. I have HBP; hers is perfect. Nonetheless, I’m making improvements, including adding a healthy heaping of flax seeds each day and reducing processed food to almost none. So far, my BP has not responded to anything. My doctor says it could just be the way my vasculature is laid out. Many of his patients eat way worse yet have normal BP.

    1. Me too, artlm2002! There doesn’t seem to be a way for me to lower my HBP with diet! Is there a book Dr. Greger recommends that might “hold me by the hand” with ALL the do’s and dont’s? It’s very disappointing to still be popping three pills daily for what seems, the rest of my life.

    2. Science shows that our genes can be turned on and off by our diet and lifestyle. You say you are vegetarian. Have you thought of going vegan and get rid of all the animal foods? Also there could be another underlying problem keeping your blood pressure levels high. Stress can be one.

        1. I played with a bp measuring device a few years ago and got so I could lower my bp 15 points by relaxing. Years ago I wore a biofeedback device in order to learn how to relax specific muscles and cure a chronic injury.

          1. Interesting. I’ve found that I can lower my BP through relaxation techniques as well, though it varies. I wonder how long the effects last. By the time I’m done with deep breathing, etc. I can often get down to 120/80. But my reading before doing that is 140/90…so I figure that’s what it is most of the day.

        2. Sorry for the late reply. A vegan diet does not necessarily mean a healthy diet. If you have not gotten rid of the simple carbs or processed carbs then you are still eating poor. Get rid of all junk food, all processed foods, exercise regularly and try to keep your stress levels low and learn to manage what stress you do have. If you are not already doing these things.

          1. I have been following Dr. McDougall’s Starch Solution for 2 years. I do not eat processed foods, unless you count whole grain pasta and sometimes bread. I don’t eat much sugar and never processed sweets. I do not exercise regularly. I have COPD which isn’t much of an excuse as I am supposed to walk on a treadmill but usually just don’t have the energy. I guess also I don’t have the motivation, since I never saw results when I did do it. Maybe if I had stuck to it. It could have something to do with the inhalers I have to use.

            1. Dear Ms Wiggens, As a moderator on this site, I’m concerned about the fact that it sounds like you were advised to walk as part of your treatment for COPD yet you’ve indicated you don’t have the energy or motivation to do so. It sounds like you need to have a clearer idea for those recommendations and identify exactly what barriers are preventing you from sticking to it. Do you need a different form of exercise? (Many people lose motivation using treadmills) Do you need to walk outside? With a partner? With music? What WOULD motivate you to get that recommended exercise? These are questions you need to consider carefully then come up with what works for you.
              Others have tried to give you recommendations about your frustration with your efforts to eat more healthfully, yet the resultant high blood pressure and many of those comments are on target. One mentioned “white coat syndrome” Do you take your blood pressure readings at home? If they are not elevated at home, advise your healthcare provider and it’s possible it could involve anxiety in the dr’s office. Also check out the inhalers you use for side effects. Working more closely with your healthcare provider as well as tweaking your diet and getting back to an exercise program you can keep with should help. Here’s to improved compliance and readings!

        3. You have to be 100% minimally processed, though, not just “vegan.” No junk food, maybe avoid even low sodium canned products like beans. What a bummer. :( I have orthostatic hypotension from a plant based diet and have to be careful standing up!

          1. what do you do to help your OH? a friend was just diagnosed and i was wondering if there was anything she could do (dietary) to help. she eats a Standard American Diet :(

  3. I am a vegan and think the information quite interesting/informative but I am also a big believer in lots of exericise, including intense exercise (for those who are conditioned enough for that), and so am wondering what the role of physical activity might play in the differences, especially over the long term.

    1. I think the two are married: diet and exercise. Dr. Greger certainly believes in the importance of physical activity, based on the research. This video about diet and exercise may help. Let me know? We have loads of information on exercise, and I am sure some of the research mentions blood pressure.

      1. The “diet and exercise” video is very interesting as it shows the benefits of both exercise and a WFPB diet. I’ll look at some of the others.

  4. >> How to Prevent High Blood Pressure With Diet

    Uh, got to the end of the video and still waiting? Lots of hand-waving eating fruits, beans, not eating processed meats, etc … but no specific advice on what to do to lower high-blood pressure SPECIFICALLY? Lots of pointing to other people in other countries … but I cannot move to another country and change my past. Seriously, how about being very specific … that is … do eat “X”, do not eat “Y”. That might be helpful.

    1. Good points. I think it’s very hard to say that eating “X” leads to “Y”. Dietary patterns are more important. Foods pointed out in this video are to center the diet around Whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruit, and dark green leafies. That is fairly specific, but perhaps another video or post could be better for answering this question? Here is information regarding hypertension with many foods lists. Lowering sodium intake is ever important. See if these help?

    2. Nothing personal, but maybe what you perceived as “hand waving” is the solution? Eating the diet specified IS as specific as it is going to get. We all need a WIDE VARIETY of nutrients in our whole food to be in the best possible health. We all look for the “magic bullet” that will keep disease at bay, and so many companies are willing to make huge profits on this idea with a plethora of supplements, vitamins and exotic “cures” for our ills, especially Big Pharma.
      The simple truth is there are very rarely (if ever) panaceas that will solve the problems, it is a systematic approach based on what we take into our bodies overall. Since most medicines come from plants, plants ARE the medicine. Not one isolated kind, all of them. I can’t move to another country or even barely afford groceries, but I DID change my present, some of my past and definitely my future by switching to a WFPB (whole food plant based) diet at 57. Five years later it just gets better, so it’s never too late if you are still breathing!

    3. Some of the specific foods that have shown in studies to lower BP, which Dr. Greger mentions in other videos/articles on the site, include: flaxseeds, hibiscus tea, watermelon, and raw carrots and scallions. With the exception of one very impressive flaxseed study, the improvements tend to be modest; and the results are averages. Still, the sum may be greater than its parts.

      I’ve had HBP for decades; my wife’s BP is perfect, despite eating almost the same diet as me. Genetics? But – I’ve recently upped my game; getting rid of almost all the oil and processed foods (except for lightly processed foods like tofu), and adding way more flaxseeds than before. If this doesn’t make the numbers budge, it’s meds for me. I already have an enlarged aorta and need to do whatever it takes to lower the numbers. (I also exercise at least a little each day, and more on the weekends.) Oh, I’ve also started meditating. I’m not very good at it, but perhaps with practice…

  5. There is a new book about migraine disorder. What I think she is saying is environmental changes of neurons causes chemical interactions at the neuron’s level resulting in biochemical inbalance. Nutrition components are needed for proper neural activity. She explains the sodium potassium pump. She cautions against ingesting anything with sugar, preservatives, coloring, etc. Then she goes on to talk about to prevent a migraine attack one must keep hydrated. It’s all about sodium -potassium-calcium to water ratio. If blood pressure is low ingest more salt if blood pressure is high ingest more potassium rich foods. Can blood pressure regulation really be that simplistic?

    1. I’m not sure. I think it depends on many factors, but what you display is a good start. I am not as familiar with hypotension so just adding more salt may not be a “cure”. Definitely eating more potassium-rich foods will help.

      1. I have eaten a WFPB no processed way for several years but have bouts of raised BP which I relate to chronic migraine disorder. Am aware of the importance of potassium but it hasn’t changed my BP challenge.

      2. On further reflection of what the book was saying she is using hydration for aborting an imminent migraine attack. So for enhancing hydration to use salt if BP is low but to use potassium if BP is high? Is that how hydration works? I can see adding salt to water but eating potassium rich foods how fast is that going to work? My migraine brain is trying to process this information. Please help me understand hydration. Thank you.

  6. Your research minded mind found research from other research minded minds about white rice not being a problem if animal products are not consumed with it. But “Dr” Fuhrman doesn´t agree with his research minded mind according to this research from other research minded minds So which mind is right. Please declare war against “Dr” Fuhrman´s research minded mind so we can pick up the pieces after the carnage and hopefully find some final research “truth” please. Basically, I am just about to reject research minded minds and all that follows and just trust nature. Humans suck really.

    1. Sorry to hear you are discouraged. White rice is very appetizing. When mixed with beans, it makes a perfect protein. Soy beans are a perfect protein on their own. I would say perhaps chromium could lower the diabetes risk. 48 grams of whole grain are recommended. We are supposed to eat 6-11 servings of grain a day. If all that was whole grain, we would be eating a half pound or more of whole grains. How would you get your whole grain? Oatmeal? Shredded Wheat? Whole grain bread? Pop corn or corn? Rice with some bran oil added back? Rye bread? Did you know that Zypreza is one of the most profitable drugs in the history of pharmacy and can cause type II diabetes? Vitamin B3 can reduce other heart disease risk factors, by taking up to two grams a day. Remember to eat your crusts.

      1. Hi Matthew, I find it fascinating that you are so knowledgeable about Zyprexa-an anti-psychotic. You have been making some high-falutin’ claims on this site today without a shred of evidence to back them up. Let me show you how it is done. For example, I do not see any evidence Zyprexa causes type 2 diabetes. Here’s my fact-based evidence:

        Now it’s your turn. Please provide fact-based evidence for ANY of the claims you have made today on this posting. How about backing up your claim that Zyprexa is ‘one of the most profitable drugs in the history of pharmacy.’ Or how about ‘swearing or ticking’ or ‘peeing’ lowers blood pressure. Maybe there’s a language barrier here, but peer-reviewed, published papers are generally well written in English and we can all understand them here.

        1. I gained a pound a day on Zyprexa. (I went from 160 to 240 lbs in only six months). I developed prediabetes during this time when I was running five miles a day. That was when I was 23. I lost 50 lbs as soon as I switched. Do you work for Lily? That pill in particular is a pipeline to the grave and is the fattening of black America, innocent people who are being poorly treated for heart disease. Niacin would better help them with their blood sugars. It costs $100,000 a year for the uninsured.

            1. Yes, Haldol is worse. My son had real problems with that drug. It is like Elivel; it has no purpose but to create a profit source for the maker.

              1. Perhaps you would draw strength from these links:




                Abram Hoffer: Orthomolecular Pioneer
                R. SEALEY, B.Sc., C.A.; S. CARTER
                Page 116

                An Interview with Abram Hoffer
                A. SAUL, Ph.D.
                Page 122

                Abram Hoffer Tributes from Around the World
                Various Authors
                Page 130

                Three Classic Papers by Abram Hoffer

                Orthomolecular Treatment of Schizophrenia (1972)
                A. HOFFER, M.D., Ph.D.
                Page 151

                The Adrenochrome Hypothesis of Schizophrenia Revisited (1981)
                A. HOFFER, M.D., Ph.D.
                Page 160

                The Future of Psychiatry (1996)
                A. HOFFER, M.D., Ph.D.
                Page 183

                Here’s to long life!

          1. Matthew, I understand better where you are coming from. When I was 23 I was doubled over in pain with Crohn’s disease and gaining weight on a steroid called prednisone. I, too, could run 5 miles for a workout, but was struggling to make it to the bathroom from any other room. My whole life collapsed as a result of my illness and I struggled to make something of what remained. But that was decades ago and I am doing much better now. A lot older and maybe a bit wiser. I am glad you have made it to this website; we all need to eat as best we can for optimal health, no matter what else we are struggling with in our lives..( And, no, I don’t work for Lily.) Good luck and good health.

            1. Thank you for finding this site. Welcome. my apologies for my tone. Perhaps you still struggle with a milk allergy. 2/3 of Americans have it. It can cause extreme intensinal cramping. Maybe lactaid would be a better treatment for it than prednisone, which is suggested for intenstinal pain? I am 33 and on the road to recovery on vitamin B3.

            2. Perhaps this link is of use to you:
              Dietary Treatment of Crohn’s Disease
              the caption:
              “Meat (including fish), cheese, and animal protein intake in general have been associated with an increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In the meantime, plant-based diets may not only help prevent such conditions, but treat them as well, resulting in the longest recorded remission rates for Crohn’s disease.”

    2. Thank you for this very important issue Godwin. Dr. Greger, (or someone else), it is imperative that you reply to the article on Dr. Furman’s site (link in Godwin’s post). Dr. Furman is saying that white rice and white potatoes are extremely bad for one’s health. We need to know if this is true? Because of the arsenic reports in brown rice, I have switched to white and basmati rice. Am I doing more harm than good?
      Also Dr. McDougal has always promoted white potatoes as a healthy starch. So while I mostly eat sweet potatoes, I also eat white potatoes. We need to know the truth based on science. Should we stop eating white rice and potatoes?? Thank you

      1. Dr Fuhrman asserts that white rice, white pasta and white potatoes should not be a central part of the diet. He also posts a link to a South Korean study that concludes that increasing portions of white rice eaten is associated with a higher risk of T2 Diabetes. No mention to the amount of fat in the participant diet. Refined grains eaten with fat can block the transport of glucose into the cells by insulin action and lead to insulin resistance which can lead to T2 diabetes. Dr Greger has a recent video about this very subject. Potatoes are not a grain and Fuhrman links them to a high GL of about 26. No studies were linked about potatoes and diabetes on Fuhrman’s blog.

        1. I have never understood the white potato hate. White potatoes have little in common with white rice and white pasta, except that they’re all white. There’s more to a food than just a glycemic load number. I’m with McDougall on this one. I eat white potatoes and sweet potatoes almost every day.

            1. A large baked potato with skin has 1600mg potassium,83.7mg magnesium, 3.2mg iron, 7g protein and 7g fiber according to Good stuff!

          1. Let me echo that. I WAS diabetic before going WFPB, and white potatoes are certainly no issue for me. I do totally agree with the problem of consuming even healthy starches with a high fat diet…which in itself was a huge contributor to my many health issues. The only healthy fat as far as I’m concerned is part of a whole food and under 10% of my daily intake. Beyond that my blood sugar will start to rise. Maybe not true for healthy people, but in order to BE healthy, it makes sense to me to stay around that figure. Try going into a foraging situation as our predecessors did, and eating even that amount of fat! Maybe I am off base, but the fact that human breast milk, the sole food for infants with a fast growing brain and body is around 4% fat (and 1% protein!) says a LOT to me about our requirements later in life!

      2. I eat red rice, based on a previous video by Dr. Greger (“Brown Rice vs. Black Rice”)…Goodwin regarding the arsenic, the rice I buy is from Bhutan (Lotus Foods). Bhutan is very isolated country and I’m hoping that their soil is less contaminated than other countries. Regardless, although I make an big effort to eat organic and avoid contamination (such as arsenic) I just try to eat nutrient dense foods. Nutrition is complex and I hope that the nutrients that I consume will provide more benefit than potential toxins (like arsenic) that may be in my foods.

      3. I eat lots of white potatoes, usually everyday. I am 60 and in pretty good health. I also continue to eat brown rice. I have not seen any studies that show that the arsenic in the rice is just recent. I am figuring that it has been in it for years and the cultures that eat a lot of rice, brown or white are usually in pretty good health.

    3. I eat red rice, based on a previous video by Dr. Greger (“Brown Rice vs. Black Rice”)…Goodwin regarding the arsenic, the rice I buy is from Bhutan (Lotus Foods). Bhutan is very isolated country and I’m hoping that their soil is less contaminated than other countries. Regardless, although I make an big effort to eat organic and avoid contamination (such as arsenic) I just try to eat nutrient dense foods. Nutrition is complex and I hope that the nutrients that I consume will provide more benefit than potential toxins (like arsenic) that may be in my foods

  7. I was one of those who started plant-based diet for prevention-started it without hypertension, pre diabetes… I did not want to suffer stroke, PAD or diabetes like my wonderful grandparents did.

    Though I was not hypertensive 115/60, my blood pressure did drop on the WFPB diet to about 100/50 sometimes even a little under 100/40 and, I have never felt dizzy and am the polar opposite of fatigued. I think what really helped me was clearing out the oil along with the animal-based foods. My eye doctor also noticed how beautiful my eye vasculature was on their scan test. I used to hold back when people would notice (like dentist) wow you have great blood pressure or your skin looks great. etc..,, but now I don’t hesitate to say: Thanks, its been that way since I transitioned to a plant-based diet.

    1. I love that you are a role-model of health! And thanks for being a public service announcement! That is great to remind people, especially your health care providers. A single patient’s example can definitely influence those of us in healthcare to learn more about the evidence for plant-based nutrition. :))

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

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

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

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

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


  8. In my 30’s and 40’s, (not vegetarian yet) my BP was sometimes so low they would not allow me to give blood at the Red Cross. Now in my 60’s, and having been vegetarian for over 2 decades and nearly vegan more recently, my doc has me on BP medicine (lowest dosage imaginable) because otherwise it’s high. I eat lots of whole grains, fruits & veggies, and just don’t get it. I don’t drink much caffeine at all either. Also have high cholesterol, even when I was taking red yeast rice. I’ve kind of resigned myself to taking meds. At least I am only on 2, and at a low dosage.

    1. Hi Margreen! Sounds like you are living a very healthy life! :) Did you get to see Dr. G.’s video about B12 and artery health? If you aren’t B12 supplementing yet, that might help the blood pressure (BP). And if you haven’t already made them a part of your daily routine, you might consider adding flax :) which can help improve both BP and cholesterol. Cheers!

      1. Did you know five hour energy has more than 8,000 percent of your daily supply of your B12 needs? It is also legal. B12 is also required of vegans, like those on this site.

      1. Way to go. Iodine as a tool to block pain, I guess, and is an essential unit to all pain. Many plants have to make compounds like iodine very far from the sea, like in the prarie. VItamin B3 can help people recovering with addictions. Or even just eating pizza crusts. When I was in pain, I consider just eating a pinch of table salt now, maybe not reach for the NSAIDs anymore. No more pain.

  9. Dear Dr Greger I love your website. I have been vegan for 5 years now. I want to keep my blood pressure below 140/90. After watching your video on peanut butter and walnuts I added them to my diet and became concerned because my cholesterol went over 150 and my blood pressure went back up. I am going back to following Dr. Mcdougall and Dr Esselstyn’s recommendation of eliminating nuts and keeping them minimum because I get lower blood pressure readings and my cholesterol stays below 150. I am still use a little almond milk and a table spoon of flaxseed. Peanut butter is very addicting for me and I was having a sandwich every night. I am 56 now. I am interested in what you think about this. Larry

    1. Larry, Since you are not eating any dietary cholesterol, your increased cholesterol numbers could very well be due to biosynthesis due to an increased saturated fat intake. All whole foods contain some saturated fats, and as good as they are, nuts are no exception. I recommend you first cast your gaze of suspicion for your worsening bio-markers to you peanut butter consumption because it is not strictly speaking a whole food so there could be all manner of added oils, sugars and sodium, including hydrogenated trans fats which will increase your cholesterol and salt which may very well be the culprit for any increases in BP. If your are already eating peanut butter that consists of nothing more than ground peanuts and without added sodium, then you may consider expanding your consideration to your overall fat and sodium intake. Your nut and nut butter intake my be pushing your body past a threshold beyond your bodies ability to cope with the excess fat burden.

      What percentage of your caloric intake is fat? Are you eating eating added oils? If so, try favoring whole plant sources of fats over refined ones by eliminating the added oils first. How much process and prepackaged foods are your regularly eating? They are harbingers of stealth refined fats, sugar and salt. The same goes for restaurant prepared foods which rely heavily on pre-processed food and seasonings.

      Everyone can improve their diets, even those following a vegan one. The closer one adheres to a whole foods plant based diet, the better they will do. Apologies in advance if you have already considered and implemented these steps.

      1. Recently I have gone back to following what Dr Esselstyn, Dr Mcdougall, and Dr Ornish recommend, no nuts if you want to reverse heart disease. My labs are taken every 4 to 6 months and for 5 years my cholesterol was below 150 until I added plain peanut butter and a table spoon of walnuts. With either walnuts or peanut butter my blood pressure pressure starts to approach 140/90. Without nuts I get some good numbers, really good numbers. I am 56. I always wanted to be vegan and want to stay off any kind of blood pressure medicine which is important to me. I have a disability and have been hand-cycle racing for three years. I want to keep my blood pressure down and not have a first heart attack when I doing 30 or forty miles in the hot sun. I think maybe it’s the extra saturated fat in the nuts that is causing the problem. I am not an expert, I don’t know, I just go by what the numbers are showing me. Everybody is different the peanut butter is delicious and addicting but these guys are also saying anyone over 20 years of age who has been on the standard American Diet has heart disease. I do understand these studies are showing nuts are good for you, they just maybe aren’t so good for me. Thanks for you responses.

        1. The only added salt and oil may come from when I eat out. My wife an I eat out and I have the wheat past a with marinara at Olive Garden, I also eat a veggie sub on wheat bread at Subway, and at Pollo tropical brown rice, black beans and corn. But the biggest difference seems to come when I stop eating the nuts.

        2. Hi Larry,
          If you go to the websites of the fast food chains you mention above you will see those meals are very, very high in fat and sodium and sugar. I would stop that first before limiting nuts. Olive Garden, Pollo, and Subway are probably your issue. (Unless of course you only go rarely) this is the kind of stuff you are eating. “The ingredient, azodicarbonamide, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in food as a bleaching agent and dough conditioner” from a CNN article. This is in Subways bread.

  10. Hi Dr Greger, I love your website and have been following a vegan diet for 5 years now. I want to keep my blood pressure below 140/90 and my cholesterol under 150. After watching you video on walnuts and peanut butter I added them to my diet. Since then my cholesterol went over 150 and by blood pressure had gone back up. So recently I have gone back to following Dr Mcdougall and Dr Esselstyn’s recommendation of eliminating nuts and I am now getting better blood pressure numbers again. I do still have a little almond milk and a table spoon of flax seed. Peanut butter is very addicting for me and I was having a sandwich every night. I am interested in what your thoughts are about nuts in my situation. I am 56 now. What are your thoughts on cashew milk. Larry

    1. Dr. Greger believes nuts are very good for you:
      synopsis: If you actually eat them nuts not only prevent stroke but postpone death
      synopsis: Nuts prevent cancer and delay death in even small servings
      Synopsis: Walnuts fight cancer best and delay death the most and should be part of everyone’s diet

      Synopsis: Nuts lower cholesterol

      Nuts in any amount do not seem to contribute to weight gain.

      Even pistachio, macademia, and brazil nuts are extremely good for you. Brazil nuts could help save the rain forest. Almonds give money to California farmers who are starving for some rain, although almonds are expensive of rain.

      Peanut butter is very good for you.

      Did you invent cashew milk? There are foods here that could work synergistically to lower blood pressure.

      hibiscus tea
      brazil nuts
      whole grains
      flax seed meal

      Caffeine can raise your blood pressure before any test.

    2. I love Michael Gregor, but if you want another viewpoint on nuts, I would read what Jeff Novick has to say about them. For me, nuts cause unwanted fat gain, so I only eat maybe an ounce of walnuts per day, and no nut butters.

  11. This more than indicates that a mainly plant based diet is the best for the human cardiovascular system. Hypertension is a marker that “there is something rotten in the cardiovascular system” – was it Shakespeare…….? :-)

  12. Okay, what is too LOW blood pressure? Last time I had it measured it was 85 over 55! My diet is great, but I was a little concerned after a lifetime of having much higher readings pre-dietary change, even when taking propranalol for ages for frequent premature heart beats. The doctor didn’t seemed concerned, so I didn’t press it…just wondering?

    1. I think the current view is that so long as you feel fine, low blood pressure is nothing to worry about. If you start fainting, feeling dizzy, etc. then it could be an issue. Know that you’re in good company. A lot of people following a healthy diet have “very low” blood pressure, which, as Greger’s pointing out, should probably actually be considered “normal” blood pressure. Remember that we’re being compared to a population that’s primarily unhealthy, overweight, etc. What’s considered “normal” in these times might not be something so great. ;)

      1. Thanks Kim. I was just kind of concerned about the only drug I take for PVC’s, which is also used to lower blood pressure, for migraines, etc. and have taken if for quite a while, at a lower dose now, but even before changing my diet and taking it my BP was still borderline. I was just concerned about it’s effects and also the fact that a lot of drugs aren’t the same for people over 60. A few years ago I had a UTI I ended up in the ER for a bad reaction to an antibiotic of all things! I am not a fan of pharmaceuticals to say the least, and needless to say after that I am even less so. The last time I felt one coming on I started chugging water spiked with cranberry juice and chowing down all kinds of fermented foods to boost my immune system. Did a great job, with only a couple side effects….now I crave fermented food and no more meat or poultry comes into the house at all….they can go out and eat it if they must! lol. Cool thing is, I never again had a UTI since, and I used to get them regularly! (Thanks Dr G for that E coli video!)

  13. I am 65, exercise daily and and 7 pounds over my ideal weight. My blood pressure is consistently 130-135/60. There is such a wide gap and I don’t know what it means. I will increase my veggies and fruit after watching this video!

    1. Jean, what’s your diet like? It’s it all plant food? It’s it all vegan? Is it all unrefined? Which foods do you eat the most of daily? How much oil and what type? I’ve found that these answer to these kinds of questions really matter.

      1. Mark, I am not vegan and I do eat some meat, but do eat a lot of vegetables. I use grapeseed oil and olive oil and avocado oil and coconut oil for cooking and some organic butter. I am gluten free and eat no substitutes. I hardly eat any processed foods and I have a protein shake everyday which I have recently been adding mixed berries to. I take several supplements including a high quality fish oil. I used to have low blood pressure for years and them in my late fifties it went to 120/ then 130/ and sometimes 140/ but diastolic pressure has always been low and remains 40-60. I read that the high gap between systolic and diastolic puts me at risk for stroke.

        1. Some suggestions for you:

          – Substitute fish and tofu for meat (generally, eat more fish than meat)
          – Go easy on butter and coconut oil – use mostly olive, avocado and canola oil
          – Make sure to include whole grains and legumes in your diet (there are gluten-free oats available).
          – Eat not only berries, but all kinds of fruits, vegetables and whole plant foods – particularly those with purple color: red grapes, plums, pomegranates, red cabbage, red onions, eggplants. If you can find them also purple carrots and tomatoes, black rice, corn, quinoia and potatoes.
          – Drink hibiscus tea, aronia juice and red wine if you like – they are excellent sources of the same blood-pressure lowering purple pigments (anthocyanins) found in purple fruits.
          – Supplement vitamin D (2000 IU) and magnesium (400 mg).

          Equally important as diet: weight and exercise!

          1. Why the fish recommendation? I’d say stick to a healthy, whole foods plant-based diet like Greger recommends. Zero animal foods. Ditch the oils, butter, etc. or use very infrequently in small amounts; get your fat from nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut (either coconut meat or coconut milk).

            1. Why fish? Because the evidence for health benefits of regular fish consumption is overwhelmingly positive, even if some vegans don’t like that. Some people look for a dietary ideology they can subscribe to. That’s fine, but that’s not what interests me – I’m only interested in the evidence. Of course I respect peoples decision not to eat fish for ethical reasons (and therefore I would never try persuading an ethical vegan to eat fish), but that is an entirely different issue.

  14. are salts based on Potassium chloride good for you? im eating this alternative salt in place of the normal one, and now im wondering if it is safe. the one that i take don’t have any E620 (GLUTAMIC ACID) but in the market are many alternative salt with that here in Spain. thank you!!

    1. it will be very nice to see a video on alternative salts, are there alot of myth about it.. and at the same time some times one needs to add some flavor to the food and normally its just to much sodium… as well to know if are there any safe alternative like this potassium chloride or when you take it daily is harmful for you? thank you!

  15. I Have been a vegetarian for about 20 years and a Vegan for the past 2 years. My diet is based on Dr Gregor’s recommendations and Dr Mc Dougall/Dr Campbell as well. However my blood pressure has risen if anything over the past year . My systolic is frequently in high 130s (. I sometimes manage the 120s) . My diastolic on other hand is generally mid 70s sometimes under 70 rarely going into the 80s. I am confused as Dr McGregor seems to indicate that if one follows a whole food plant based diet ones BP should be way lower than I am achieving. My BMI is 22 and I exerise every day . Swimming and walking mainly. I am 69 years old . I eat porridge every morning with flax seeds and blueberries or other fruits- with plenty of broccoli , spinach ,lentils, beans etc for other meals and nuts in moderation. I cant see how I can improve my diet or lifestyle and am reluctant to go on medication. My Cholesterol is 5.1 – not great either considering. My GP thinks I am borderline for statins but its up to me . Not sure what to do. I have a coffee in the morning and drink green tea for the rest of the day – possibly too much. I wasn’t aware of Hibisus tea being good for lowering blood pressure but have now ordered it and will have a go with it. Appreciate any advice.

    1. Hi Mary, you may want to read my comment to another of Dr. Greger’s videos regarding blood pressure. I gave the example of a woman who suffered from severe familial hypertension and who experienced a dramatic improvement by following my dietary advice. You have to be aware that there is a strong genetic component to the susceptibility to high blood pressure, and it may well be the case that your 20 years of eating a vegetarian diet actually safed you from developing severe hypertension. Contrary to what Dr. Greger recommends, I don’t think that it is necessary to eat a strictly plant-based diet for optimum health and blood pressure. Including some fish and yogurt in your diet may actually offer additional benefits. If you don’t want to eat fish for ethical reasons, think about taking an algae oil EPA supplement offering the same beneficial, highly unsaturated fatty acids that are otherwise exclusively found in fish. If you don’t want to eat dairy, there is soy yogurt available as well.

    2. Mary, until I really cut out all added fats, keeping intake below 10% overall, even with whole foods, and eliminated ALL animal products, my BP hovered around 130/80. I think we all have hereditary predispositions to health issues… we are all different and have to experiment to see what suits us best. Some people can eat some of what I can’t with no problems, but as they say, heredity may load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger. (Or something like that.)

  16. What do we think the role of stress (increased cortisol) in modern society vs kenyan society in raising blood pressure. Given an ideal diet here in North American i feel blood pressure below 110/70mmHg is not possible unless stress is controlled.

  17. Among all the discussions I have read regarding blood pressure, I have never seen the question raised of how blood pressure is determined in the first place: in the hospital or clinic, or at home? AVERAGE blood pressure or the Maximum blood pressure taken from different readings? It is well known that many people (most?) have higher blood pressure readings when a nurse is taking it than when one takes it using a sphygmomanometer in the comfort of one’s home. In my case, I’m often 160 or more (systolic) in the hospital, but usually 120-130 at home, on average–I usually range between 110 and 140. If I were to take my average BP at home, it would be about 125/70, which is not ideal, but nothing to be overly concerned about.

  18. Hi Dr Michael
    Hi, as requested, ive moved our email discussion to the video forum.

    My vegan niece showed me your videos on the health benefits of a low
    leucine, low animal fat diet.

    I have had fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for 39 yrs, since
    12yrs old.

    I am a Science teacher; Physics major in New Zealand and have
    experimented with a number of diets and am currently doing a strange
    combination of calorie restriction, intermittent fasting.

    I have issues with blood sugar (i have a testing kit) if i eat too much
    starch and therefore use 50/40/10: fat, carb, lean animal protein (100g/day).

    All fat is from avocado, olive and flax oil.

    Is this harmful? my lipid bio-markers are excellent 1:1 ldl:hdl ratio.

    180cm (5’11”) and 72kg (158lbs).
    thanks for any feedback or references you can guide me to.

    what’s your absolute LDL?
    Dr michael

    total cholesterol 5.4 mmol/L
    ldl cholesterol 2.7 mmol/L
    hdl cholesterol 2.45 mmol/L
    cholesterol/HDL ratio 2.2
    triglyceride 0.6 mmol/L
    the total cholesterol is high. is this a problem given the good ratio?
    cheers jonathan

    need to get LDL under 1.8
    Dr Michael

    cheers although my
    understanding was the ratio was more impt than raw ldl level

    Depends if you want low
    risk or no risk

    risk profile for current ldl values and
    would olive oil negatively impact my risk if total calories average near
    cheers JG

    If you wouldn’t mind, please ask your questions on the site so everyone
    can benefit? I’m sure others have the same types of questions. Just post your
    question in a comment under a video–thanks!
    In health,

    1. I don’t know enough to venture whether your indeed excellent ratios of TC/HDL and HDL/LDL and your very low TG outweigh your somewhat elevated TC and LDL (I suspect that a lot of people would be very happy with these numbers). I think they go to show that calorie restriction plus restriction to relatively ‘good’ fats (avocado, olive, flax) may be associated with high HDL and may not unduly raise LDL (which is just over 100 mg/dL)…and this is despite the fact that your fat consumption is quite high (50% of total calories). I guess the key is calorie restriction–you say 1,800 calories a day, which is impressive. Not very many of us can eat so sparingly. However, I’m puzzled by your accounting. You say you eat 100 g. of lean animal protein per day, and you say that protein accounts for only 10% of your calories. 100 grams of protein is about 400 calories, which would imply that you are eating 4,000 calories per day–not 1,800. I would be even more impressed if you obtained these good cholesterol numbers on 4,000 calories. Still, that would not be sustainable in the long run unless you were extremely athletic and burned 2,000 calories or more per day…and that wouldn’t be very sustainable for a 51 year old.

  19. While Dr. Greger did not actually mention in his video that the
    Kenyan study he referred to took place in 1929, a search based
    on the description he gave, together with the Donnison video source
    data, made it clear that the American Heart Association (AHA) Journal
    article titled Heart Disease in Africa, with the sub-title Hypertension in Sub-Saharan African Populations, identified this study, as the Donnison study, that took place in 1929. The study took place “at a native hospital in the South of
    Kavirondo in Kenya, during which period approximately 1800 patients
    were admitted, no case of raised blood pressure was encountered,
    although abnormally low blood pressure was not uncommonly encountered.
    On no occasion was a diagnosis of arteriosclerosis or chronic
    interstitial nephritis made.”

    The AHA Journal article was written by Lionel H. Opie MD, DSc and Yackhoob K. Seedat MD, PhD in 2005.
    They observed, something that Dr. Greger failed to observe, that
    “Today, more than 75 years after Donnison, when change has been
    sweeping through Africa, extensive epidemiological studies show that
    hypertension is one of the commonest cardiovascular ailments in Africa
    and that BP assumes much more importance with increasing age.” The
    authors go on to state that ” the
    migration of people from traditional rural areas on the northern shores
    of Lake Victoria to the urban settings of Nairobi was associated with
    an increase of BP (as assessed by the random-zero sphygmomanometer).
    The urban migrants had higher body weights, pulse rates, and urinary
    sodium-potassium ratios than did those who remained in the rural areas.16 This
    suggests a marked change in diet of new arrivals in Nairobi, with
    higher salt and calorie intake and a reduced potassium intake. The
    higher pulse rates in the Nairobi participants also suggest that
    increased autonomic nervous system activity could contribute to the
    higher BP levels.”

  20. I’m a bit confused about the dietary habits of the native africans. Dr Greger states that the native africans ate a diet of cereals, legumes, fruits, vegetables – plant based, and it seems he cites the study (C P Donnison. BLOOD PRESSURE IN THE AFRICAN NATIVE. The Lancet Volume 213, No. 5497, p6–7, 5 January 1929). However, reading the study, I dont seem to be able to find that statement. In fact the opposite is what I find (” Meat is frequently consumed by the races in South Kavirondo, though possibly not to the extent that it is consumed in England. “). Could you help explain this? I just want to make sure I have it right :) THANKS for all the great work that you do!!!

  21. I am 55 yr old woman, nurse, and plant based since Jan 2015. However I have never eaten more than a serving or two of animal products a week most of my life. I am 50 Lbs overweight as well.I have fibromyalgia. I have been on 20mg of lisinopryl for yrs. However, I went prob 6 months last yr without any bp meds and my pressure remained normal. I have had episodes in the past when my bp would spike. Go back on 1 pill a day for a few weeks then back off again. This time it was different. a week and half ago my bp spiked to 180/104. I had slight headache in forehead, eyes felt like i had pressure on them. they were blood shot, and blurry vision. I started taking 1 pill a couple days. it didnt drop, took two a day, didnt drop, then took 2 before bed and 1 more in AM cause it was still high. So took 3 pills a day for a couple days. Now I am taking 80 mg a day and 2 tb flax for last few days. Still my bp is high. This doesnt seem normal. My bp has never been this out of control. I take a b12 and d3 as well. Is there something I am missing? Also even tho I eat small amounts, plant based I havent lost anymore since Jan 2015 when I did 30 days juice fast and lost 32 lb

  22. I have the opposite problem. I have hypotension and I just don’t know what to do I really need help…I’m almost desperate enough to go on a blood pressure medication to raise it! I am also hypoglycemic….

  23. I have a concern which is not addressed with respect to the study of Rural Western Kenyans. Perhaps it could be argued the study is simply pulling out those genetically more ‘resilient’ men, or those with ‘genetically’ lower blood pressure values throughout their lifetime, subsequently being those who survive past age 40. The numbers of these lucky people being concentrated as the age groups increase past age 40, with those less lucky passing away? I agree it is likely that everyone in this study had a very similar diet and one low in animal protein, it would be interesting to have conclusive evidence to have such an argument laid to bed though, given the argument this study was being used to make. Thanks.

  24. I smoked for 20 years, October 2014 i was diagnosed of Emphysema my doctor told me there is no permanent cure for the disease, i was given bronchodilators to help me relax my bronchiolar muscles, I managed on with the disease till a friend told me about a herbal doctor from South Africa who sell herbal medicines to cure all kind of diseases including emphysema, I contacted this herbal doctor via his email and made purchase of the emphysema herbal medicine, i received the herbal medicine through DHL within 5 days, when i received the herbal medicine i applied it as prescribed and was totally cured of emphysema within 18-20 days of usage, the symptoms reduced till i even forgot i had emphysema, i went back to my doctor for diagnosis with spirometry and he confirmed i was free from the disease, contact this herbal doctor via his email drlusandaherbal(AT)gmail(DOT)com or website on www(DOT)drlusandaherbal(DOT)weebly(DOT)com

  25. I’m a wellness consultant, and one thing that has been baffling me with a current client is the strangely inverse relationship between her pulse and her blood pressure. She’s on a mostly plant-based diet at this point and has seen vast improvements in many health markers, but one thing that continues to remain is when her blood pressure is lower, her pulse is high, and vice-versa. She doesn’t often hit what would be considered hypertension, but the correlation still remains.

    What might be causing this? Thoughts?

  26. Hey guys, I have to also ask, like some folks before me did… why is my bp so darn high?

    I’m 45 and have been fit my whole life. I am 6 foot and weigh 168.

    I exercise a great deal (I teach kickboxing) and am ferociously physically fit. I have been a vegetarian for 25 years and a vegan for 8. I drink almost never, not much fat or oil, not much sugar, not much processed foods, tons of nuts and about a half a pound of tofu a day.

    I supplement with d3 and well as vegan dha/epa, and b complex as per Dr. Greger’s recommendations, as well as drink beet juice and about 4 tablespoons a day of ground flax seed. Recently I’ve added magnesium and l arginine.

    I’ve been under the care of a cardiologist who is completely flummoxed that my bp is consistently 140 over 90. I’m I doomed to have to take bp lowering drugs?

    I’m starting to get a little desperate. Help a guy out….

    1. Hi Daniel,
      I am one of the site moderators. It is good that you are being evaluated by a cardiologist and I applaud all the efforts you have made thus far. Diet, exercise and sleep are really the main three legs of the stool that need to be in balance for health. It appears that you have covered all these bases so one should probably go looking for other reasons for your elevated blood pressure. Typically people will see a several point drop in BP when they change their diet to one of less sodium and when they lose a few pounds which correlates to many miles of extra capillaries the heart has to pump blood through. For a young, healthy guy at a normal weight this won’t be the case. Before getting ahead of ourselves with more expensive diagnoses your doctor might want to putt you on a monitor that measures your blood pressure constantly over several days to make sure you don’t just have high blood pressure due to the stress of seeing the doctor. This even has a name “white coat hypertension”. If, during you normal day to day activities your BP runs high then one then needs to look at some structural or biochemical reasons why you are persistently borderline hypertensive. Checking for more unusual blood tests and markers can be needed as well as some diagnostic tests to make sure you don’t have physical problems like a renal artery stenosis, pheochromocytoma or a carcinoid tumor, to name a few unusual causes of resistant hypertension. Usually either a nephrologist or an endocrinologist are well versed in these areas and can educate you on the possibilities and the way to proceed.

  27. Redion
    Feb 15, 5:27 PM EST

    Hello I really need your help. My father has high blood pressure and is on 5 different medications. I got him started on a vegan diet. It has been 10 days and we just went to the doctor to see what he would say. The doctor told us that he needs to stop the vegan diet and continue eating meat. I want to get my father off medications. What should I do? He is 55 years old.

    1. Hi Redion, I am one of the medical moderators here :)

      It is definitely safe to discontinue meat! I have no idea what basis the doctor made that recommendation.

      I would highly recommend he follow a whole food plant based diet (whole grains, fruit, vegetables, legumes), with absolutely minimal salt.

      He will need to have his blood pressure monitored as the medications will become too strong…. Maybe time for a new doctor?

    2. I’m a medical professional, and although I am not officially giving you medical advice as you are not my patient, I would suggest you consider looking for a younger, more open minded practitioner. I use plant based diets with my patients all the time, and I have reduced severity of diabetes and hypertension, and in even seen it reverse entirely in the most adherent patients. No added salt, no processed foods, limited dining out, whole-food plant based diets really do work. However, don’t stop the medications without a provider giving you the ok. It’s ok to start the diet, then as your father improves the provider can start tapering off the medications as the blood pressure data indicates. Just my suggestions (not medical advice!).

  28. So, . . this video made me wonder about the Kenyan diet since there is virtually no HBP there. Wikepedia tells us that:
    “Different communities have their own native foods. Staples are maize and other cereals depending on the region, including millet and sorghum eaten with various meats and vegetables. The foods that are universally eaten in Kenya are ugali, sukuma wiki, and nyama choma.”
    Ugali is, in essence, polenta or corn meal mush, made from corn flour.
    Sukuma wiki is any green, often kale, collards, potato leaves, cooked with tomato and spices, sometimes with a little meat.
    Nyama choma is any type of roasted meat, often, and most desired, goat or sheep but could also be camel, etc.
    From what I could tell, it did not seem that the Kenyan diet was particularly vegetarian or vegan. The staples were grains and vegg, but meat was clearly a part of their diet. So I find this information a little confounding to the implications of Dr. Greger’s intimation that meat might be the big difference in blood pressures between Americans and Kenyans. I wonder, now, if there is a different confounding factor perhaps since Kenyans clearly eat meat, . . of many types.

  29. I took my pressure at the local grocery store at one of those kiosks and it was 105 /163.. Yikes.. I have a heavy hand with salt so I have stopped using it and I am adding flax and drinking hibiscus tea . it’s been around a week.. I have been on a Lenten fast which is mostly vegan but I have still eaten some fish which I will try to cut out too… What else should I be doing?… I’m worried.

    1. Hello,
      I am a volunteer medical moderator and help Dr. Greger answer questions on I am also a whole food plant based dietitian nutritionist located in Scottsdale, Arizona.

      Good work for eliminating any added salt. And yes, adding ground flax seed meal is great, as is hibiscus tea. If you were a client of mine, in order to really answer your question, I’d want to know a lot more about what you eat every day and whether or not you eat out. Forgive me, but in case you don’t know, ALL packaged foods that are not whole foods like beans or rice have sodium (salt) added as a “preservative” and a “flavor enhancer”. This is also true of ANY food that you eat at a restaurant, no matter how “clean” it is, or of course, fast food. Salt is ever present in the typical American diet. Another really important point with sodium is to make sure your diet is balanced with adequate potassium intake, too.

      Before we all freak out, please have your blood pressure measured somewhere other than a kiosk. It could have been a bad read, a bad machine, or a bad day. When my dearly departed Mother was struggling with her blood pressure later in life (terrible eating habits, processed foods, etc etc and NO NOT A VEGAN!!) she went every day to the Fire Department where a nice firefighter would measure her blood pressure so she could keep track of her daily reads. This avoided her having to go to the MD and pay a copayment.

      Firefighters love to be helpful! So maybe a trip to your local Fire Department for a courtesy blood pressure check would be helpful!

      Best of luck to you – and let us know how you are doing!

      Lisa Schmidt, MS, CN
      THE Mindful Nutritionist
      Scottsdale, AZ

  30. This does work. When I became a wholefood plant based vegan 5 years ago, at 47, my BP was 112/70. Now at 52 it is 106/66.

  31. After three month on whole food plant based diet my blood pressure stubbornly stays high at about 150-160/100-110…I brisk walk 5 miles 5 tdays a week and all of my food is prepared at home…I do not smoke or drink, never did…no dairy, meat or eggs either…
    Running out of ideas and really do not want to further mess up my health by Blood Pressure Medication…getting a little bit frustrated which is understandable, but it certainly would be nice to see better results after making the change in diet…any suggestions would be highly appreciated…

      1. Thank you Adam for replying so quickly, I really appreciated it…

        My life is really in a good place so I do not think it is stress…the only think I can think of is the fact that I am hypothyroid and RH negative and I know sometimes that can be an issue…

        Also my high blood pressure is not consistently high…it could be OK for few weeks, then I will have a bad week or so…then it goes down to around 120/80…and the cycle repeats…

        When I eliminated animal products back in June it has settled down nicely but since then I had it spike two times and I am currently going through that high period for last 7 days already…it can jump really high to 170/110 for about a day, then stay at 150/100 before finally coming down again…it is very frustrating because there is no warning, I just start to feel bad and I know it is back…

        I never had blood pressure issues until this summer, so I immediately adopted whole foods plant based diet and it improved, but those spikes are worrying me…

        I am a cancer survivor since 1996 and I strongly believe in taking care of things naturally before resorting to RX drugs…their side affects are just not acceptable to me…but this time I am at a loss…

        Is there such a thing as blood pressure being affected by the geographical area you are in or is that pure nonsense…I often move between two areas and seem to do better in one over the other…

        Thank god for the blood pressure monitor because I would thing it is all in my head without that prove…

        I have spent some time watching videos on your site and have incorporated ground flax seeds, hibiscus tea and beet juice into my diet but only couple of days ago so I cannot confirm any improvement as of yet but I will continue…things take time as I have learned in the past…

        Anyway…I apologize for rambling…and like I said, I truly appreciate you taking time through this holiday season to get back to me…


  32. I have read How Not to Die and was initially excited to read that I can control my high blood pressure through healthy diet and exercise. I was prudent to take time to adjust my diet to almost no meat, cut salt and eat the recommended Flax seeds, lots of greens etc. I am 52 years old and very fit with at least 1 hour of daily exercise, either surfing or cycling on the beach. I am 1.93m tall, lean, 90kg weight. I have gone off my chronic meds CO EXFORGE taken for high blood pressure for several years and have been disappointed and concerned that my average reading is 135/91 (resting heart rate 50). I have taken the readings 3 times daily over last two weeks.
    I would very much appreciate your comment as my doctor is strongly advising me to go back onto the meds.
    Many thanks
    Dan Filippi
    South Africa

    1. Hello Dan….I’m not a doctor just a person that feels my health is my own responsibility…so here is my personal opinion and I stress, it is only a personal opinion…I would stop measuring my blood pressure three times a day as I have done on the advise of my cardiologist…you will always be stressed about your numbers instead of enjoying your life…your blood pressure numbers are quite good, in Europe you would be below their healthy guidelines of 140/90…there are countries around the world you would be considered too low…if you are not experiencing any other health issues my recommendation would be to measure your blood pressure after 10 minutes of deep breathing once in bed at night and then first thing in the morning while you’re still in bed…any other measurements are reflective of what you’re doing during active daytime routine…and even then I would reduce measuring to couple of times a week instead of daily…I would continue with my healthy lifestyle but I would cut out animal products completely…no meat, no eggs, no dairy…

      As far as your doctor’s recommendation to go back on blood pressure medication – what is his idea of your desired blood pressure numbers?…your resting heart rate is excellent and if you go completely WFPB and give it some time you would be doing better then majority of people today…read some studies that compare patients with and without BP medication and look at the incidents of strokes and heart attacks in percentage and weight that against the side effects of the drug treatment and then decide…ultimately the decision is yours…your doctor is recommending what he was taught to recommend because he has to make sure he is not open to any liability by not recommending treatment and that’s fine…take everything into consideration and do what you feel is right for you…and remember most of us have years of not so ideal diet to thank for plugging up our arteries and yet we expect to reverse all that in few weeks…I’m WFPB 2.5 years now and my BP is finally where it should be but in my case it took that long…we are all different and have different damage in our bodies…stay with your healthy lifestyle and take a good look at your blood work as well…your cholesterol , your triglycerides, your glucose and so many other criteria …do you have any kidney disorder or gall stones, is your thyroid working properly…all of these can be affecting your BP and you would need to consider them all…lastly I would try to find a plant based doctor or plant based cardiologist for consultation if possible…Boston Heart hospital provides an extremely comprehensive blood test that would tell you a lot about what’s going on…it will measure your CQ10 and PUFAs which other tests do not do…your doctor can send your bloodwork to Boston Heart from anywhere in the world to be tested…go on Boston Heart’s website and get informed ….

      Take a deep breath and enjoy life, some people just have higher BP and that’s what is normal for them…and remember our bodies are intelligent, self healing and self regulating…listen to your body and do the best you can…I wish you all the best on your journey to regaining your health…

      Sent from my iPhone…Kate

  33. Hi,

    Until a few months ago, I had not visited a doctor for approximately 30 years. I went because of extreme difficulty urinating and it turns out that I have an enlarged median lobe for which I am scheduled to have reduced via green light laser therapy at the end of March.
    During the course of my visits, I discovered that my blood pressure is quite high. My last visit indicated that it was 200/100. My doctor advised me to monitor my blood pressure every day, and if is consistently higher than 150/90, I should go to the hospital. At home, my readings generally average 120/78, but this is after a 30 minute walk on the treadmill. Sometimes it goes as low as 106/68 after a treadmill session. Otherwise, it’s been as high as 148/90.
    I have consumed a 100% plant-based diet for about 4 years, and was vegetarian for for over 20 years prior to that. I average 90 minutes per day of exercise, 3 hours per week on strength training, mixed in with brisk walks outside and on the treadmill. I eat many of the recipes from the, “How Not to Die Cookbook,” and consume 3 tbs per day of ground flax mixed with garlic powder. My wife and I are retired and we have no financial stressors. I get an average of 8 hours of sleep each night, have never smoked, and despite only having been a social drinker, have not consumed any alcohol for about 40 years. I do not drink coffee, having quit about three months ago, but do drink 2 – 3 cups of tea per day. The only other liquid that I consume is water, plus homemade soy milk in granola. 95% of our foods are made at home from scratch. We also add salt to none of our cooking, but do use small amounts of sea salt when making fermented products.
    Following are a few stats:
    Age 66
    5’8” (I was 5’10” at the end of adolescence)
    Weight 180 pounds (not sure what I was prior to starting weight training 6 months ago, but I have lost weight)
    Blood glucose 5.2 mmo/L
    Triglycerides 0.92 mmol/L
    HDL Cholesteral 1.47
    Low Density 3.29
    Sodium 141

    Other than my urination problem and the high bp, I am healthy and I rarely even get a cold. My doctor has not mentioned medication yet, but other than that, I am unsure if there are any lifestyle changes that I should make.

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