Lowering Our Sodium-to-Potassium Ratio to Reduce Stroke Risk

Lowering Our Sodium-to-Potassium Ratio to Reduce Stroke Risk
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The potassium content of greens is one of two ways it can improve artery function within minutes of consumption.

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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.

More than a thousand years ago, an ancient Persian medical text advised, for the treatment of hypertension, lifestyle interventions—such as “[a]voiding…meat, and pastries”—and recommended eating spinach. A thousand years later, researchers discovered that a single meal containing spinach could indeed reduce blood pressure, thanks to its nitrate content. All green leafy vegetables are packed with the stuff, which our body can use to create nitric oxide that improves the flexibility and function of our arteries—which may be why eating our greens may be one of the most powerful things we can do to reduce our chronic disease risk.

Just switching from low-nitrate vegetables to high-nitrate vegetables for a week can lower blood pressure by about four points. And, the higher the blood pressure they started out with, the greater benefit they got. Four points might not sound like a lot, but even a two-point drop in blood pressure could prevent more than 10,000 fatal strokes every year here in the U.S.

Potassium-rich foods may also act via a similar mechanism. If we just got the minimum recommended daily intake of potassium, we might prevent 150,000 strokes every year—because potassium appears to “increase…the release of nitric oxide.” One week of eating two bananas and a large baked potato every day significantly improved arterial function. Even a single high-potassium meal—containing the equivalent of two to three bananas’ worth of potassium—can improve the function of our arteries. Whereas a high-sodium meal—which is to say, a meal with the regular amount of salt most people eat—can impair arterial function within 30 minutes.

Whereas potassium increases nitric oxide release, sodium reduces nitric oxide release. So, the health of our arteries may be determined by our sodium-to-potassium ratio. Two slices of bacon worth of sodium, and our arteries take a significant hit within 30 minutes. But, add three bananas’ worth of potassium, and you can counteract the effects of the sodium.

When we evolved, we were eating ten times more potassium than sodium. Now, the ratio is “reversed”—more sodium than potassium. These kinds of studies “provide…additional evidence that increases in dietary potassium should be encouraged.” What does that mean? “More…beans, sweet potatoes, [and] leafy greens,” which are like a super-good double whammy—high in potassium and nitrates.

This recommendation to eat spinach from the 900s is pretty impressive—though they also recommended bloodletting, and abstaining from sex. So, we should probably take ancient wisdom with a grain of salt. But our meals should be added-salt-free.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Kristina DeMuth. Image has been modified.

Video credit: Daniel Black.

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.

More than a thousand years ago, an ancient Persian medical text advised, for the treatment of hypertension, lifestyle interventions—such as “[a]voiding…meat, and pastries”—and recommended eating spinach. A thousand years later, researchers discovered that a single meal containing spinach could indeed reduce blood pressure, thanks to its nitrate content. All green leafy vegetables are packed with the stuff, which our body can use to create nitric oxide that improves the flexibility and function of our arteries—which may be why eating our greens may be one of the most powerful things we can do to reduce our chronic disease risk.

Just switching from low-nitrate vegetables to high-nitrate vegetables for a week can lower blood pressure by about four points. And, the higher the blood pressure they started out with, the greater benefit they got. Four points might not sound like a lot, but even a two-point drop in blood pressure could prevent more than 10,000 fatal strokes every year here in the U.S.

Potassium-rich foods may also act via a similar mechanism. If we just got the minimum recommended daily intake of potassium, we might prevent 150,000 strokes every year—because potassium appears to “increase…the release of nitric oxide.” One week of eating two bananas and a large baked potato every day significantly improved arterial function. Even a single high-potassium meal—containing the equivalent of two to three bananas’ worth of potassium—can improve the function of our arteries. Whereas a high-sodium meal—which is to say, a meal with the regular amount of salt most people eat—can impair arterial function within 30 minutes.

Whereas potassium increases nitric oxide release, sodium reduces nitric oxide release. So, the health of our arteries may be determined by our sodium-to-potassium ratio. Two slices of bacon worth of sodium, and our arteries take a significant hit within 30 minutes. But, add three bananas’ worth of potassium, and you can counteract the effects of the sodium.

When we evolved, we were eating ten times more potassium than sodium. Now, the ratio is “reversed”—more sodium than potassium. These kinds of studies “provide…additional evidence that increases in dietary potassium should be encouraged.” What does that mean? “More…beans, sweet potatoes, [and] leafy greens,” which are like a super-good double whammy—high in potassium and nitrates.

This recommendation to eat spinach from the 900s is pretty impressive—though they also recommended bloodletting, and abstaining from sex. So, we should probably take ancient wisdom with a grain of salt. But our meals should be added-salt-free.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Kristina DeMuth. Image has been modified.

Video credit: Daniel Black.

Doctor's Note

That was a satisfying video to script: short and sweet, self-contained, with actionable information and a little humor thrown in.

Why might abstaining from sex not be the best idea for cardiovascular health? The opposite may actually be true. See my recent video Do Men Who Have More Sex Live Longer?

What else can we do about stroke risk? See Preventing Strokes with Diet and Best Foods to Reduce Stroke Risk.

More on potassium in Potassium & Autoimmune Disease and 98% of American Diets Potassium-Deficient.

For more on the dangers of sodium, see:

And, sodium isn’t just bad for our arteries. Check out How to Treat Asthma with a Low-Salt Diet, and Sodium & Autoimmune Disease: Rubbing Salt in the Wound?

The wonders of nitrate-rich vegetables are also explored further in:

Sweet potatoes are an excellent high-potassium, low-sodium choice—but what’s the best way to prepare them? Check out The Best Way to Cook Sweet Potatoes.

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

135 responses to “Lowering Our Sodium-to-Potassium Ratio to Reduce Stroke Risk

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  1. Wonderful concept. So easy to understand and so important to our health. There are so many foods high in potassium and low in salt it should be easy to do this. It leads to so many great side effects.

    1. No. This video seems to be kind of… you judge for yourselves.
      I’m not a specialist – I’m only trying to pretend to be one, but:

      1.
      How come potassium is measured in “banana units” and not in normal units like milligrams when it actually doesn’t matter which food we eat as long as it contains potassium. Some people say – but banana is a good source of potassium… not true. It is actually dr Greger that made fun of the urban myth that banana is rich in potassium (as I recall it, something along these lines: “when you ask people about bananas you can be sure that they tell you they’re rich in potassium”).
      In the same lecture tomatoes were mentioned as having a lot of potassium.
      Me – beside vegetable and fruit intake I take potassium chloride (as a salt substitute for foods) and potassium citrate (I dissolve it in water that I drink). I don’t have to care at least about this ratio (ie. sodium to potassium ratio) (one annoying thing to less to remember) because, frankly, you’d have to eat like only tomatoes in order to maintain this ratio. This is because our food is deprived of potassium, so no matter what you do you can’t have high potassium intake when foods are low.
      Supplemental potassium to the rescue – in my case this is also kind of doctor’s order.

      2.
      It is probably not a widely accepted view that potassium lowers BP by increasing nitric oxide release. No, let me rephrase that. Probably the majority of BP lowering effect comes from the effect that potassium has on renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. So it would be good to at least mention it in a video as a context. Now the interesting question is: which part of BP lowering effect comes from renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and which from nitric oxide release.
      The answer may have practical implications – in order to use this nitric oxide release effect it is probably easier to eat some beets than strive to achieve high potassium intake.

      1. I was also thinking about the bananas and specifically greger stating they are actually very low on the potassium content, compared to even a milkshake.

      2. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said “I’m no specialist.” I’m sorry, I’m not trying to be rude, but going off talking about how plant foods are deficient in potassium and therefore we must supplement to not be deficient (supplementing with potassium and other minerals can be dangerous, actually) sounds like paranoia and conspiracy theory at best. At worst, I’d say you’re tied into the supplement market–generally wherever you read or hear about how our food just doesn’t have nutrition anymore, just a few sentences down and you’re introduced to the magic product they’re selling. I’m not accusing you of selling supplements though, I just think think that is how this theory came to be. The healthiest cultures in the world do not supplement, they just eat plant foods and they don’t even worry about isolated nutrients… they just eat–an art lost on us these days.
        I’ve read organics have more potassium and other nutrients which I don’t doubt, it makes sense that something growing in soil as opposed to a swamp of chemicals would. But eating a diet rich in plant foods should supply us with all the nutrition we need. No need to be so freakishly paranoid or suspect our carrot is conspiring against us and holding out on the nutrients it’s supposed to have.
        As for bananas, I will continue to call them a really good source of potassium. One banana having about 9% DV is a pretty easy way to supply extra potassium, and it all adds up and counts.

  2. So eat three bananas with my bacon?? Just kidding.. I’m curious if the timing is important… If the potassium in bananas increases the release of nitric oxide, when is the window for optimum release.. Like if I eat a banana with breakfast is it still in the window when I eat my steamed veg with spinach for lunch??? Would putting Potassium chloride salt substitute on spinach help???
    Inquiring minds want to know…
    m

    1. The guy who runs authoritynutrition.com says a medium banana has 27 grams of total carbs, 14 gms of sugar, so three would clock in at 81/42 grams. He also says that because of the fiber in them even diabetics can eat them. Hmmm. After that he goes off talking about glycemic indexes, and I get lost. But still – is 81 grams of carbs a lot in one slug? If that’s true, it would make more sense for me to get my K from green leafies as opposed to the famous yellow fruit. That’s probably what Dr. G meant anyway. =]

      1. dr cobalt,

        Are you familiar with The Blue Zones? The book about the healthiest, longest-living populations on earth? If so, you may recall that they all live on diets that are carb-based, with only a tiny bit of animal protein, mostly eaten on special occasions. For example, the healthiest of the five Blue Zones groups, in Okinawa, with many centenarians who still socialize daily, still have good, working brains, and do their own gardening, get 80% of their calories from high carb sweet potatoes. All Blue Zones groups eat lots of natural, unrefined carbs.

        This is the diet that makes most sense, when you think of our ancient history, of thousands of years of hunting and gathering before we figured out the weapons thing. Most of the animal protein eaten by our ancestors likely derived from insects on the plants they were eating. Our bodies still need this kind of diet – high in plant foods, with all their fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, and low in fats, without added salt. When we eat the diet recommended by Dr G and many others, based on valid research (that hasn’t been paid for by the animal food industry) we don’t need to worry about or count carbs at all.

        Back to the Blue Zones, the only one in the USA is from a large, long-term study of Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda, California. This study was broken into groups which ate some meat weekly, pescatarians, vegetarians who ate dairy and maybe eggs, and those who ate no animal foods at all. The latter group came out strongest and healthiest, with each group above that having lower scores in health and longevity.

        So – don’t worry about carbs. Just eat them as close to nature as possible, leave off the animal foods and oils, etc., and you’ll do great!

        1. Thanks for your kind response, Rebecca. I think maybe I was misunderstood in my comment; I didn’t express myself well. I have been an avid follower of NF.org for about a year now and have seen perhaps half of all videos. These videos completed my conversion to a full vegan lifestyle. I am definitely on board concerning a WFPB diet.

          The signature line on all my outgoing emails says, “Save your life: http://www.nutritionfacts.org.” It has stirred up a lot of conversations and hopefully some new traffic for Dr. Greger’s site.

          What I was trying to say (above) was that I thought I recalled from one of Dr. Greger’s earlier videos that a single banana can give you a blood sugar spike, except for the fiber, which apparently mitigates the spike. I did not take Dr. Greger’s remark about “three bananas worth of potassium can counteract the effects of sodium” to be a recommendation we should get our K from 3 bananas.

          I have not heard of the book or Blue Zones. Wonder why they call them Blue Zones… I’ll look into that. Thanks for the info.

          1. Exactly Right. People around the planet

            eat a lot of grains: wheat, rice, corn.

            and they eat a lot of BEANS.

            Today we have to put up with a bunch of

            medical doctors telling us that grains are

            bad for us and beans have lectins that

            will kill us.

            It’s like a mine field out there when you are

            trying to find out what is healthy and what

            is not healthy for us. I stick with Dr. Greger.

            He has more science to back up his ideas than

            anyone on the internet.

            1. It doesn’t help that these carnivorous humans are going around talking about they are thriving on eating just meat (organs included) wtf. All I can think is its the hormones in the meat and they are burning our their adrenals. But I am very interested in how that works from a scientific pov.

        2. I have lived in 2 Blue Zones and am now living in the Nicoya peninsula a Blue Zone. It is true that about 95% of their diets are plants and any animal flavouring comes from animals that live on hillsides and mountains climbing and grazing all day in Nicoya, seaweed and minimal fish in Okinowa. The cattle here are not fat and ribs are showing. There are additional factors. First, Okinowans and people in Nicoya are spiritual though religions differ. Secondly, families are central and meals are eaten together. Next, they are physically very active and it is not unusual to see the very old walking long and steep hills. Most do manual labor with little mechanization. You might see a lone person on a very large hill cutting grass and brushes with a simple machete in Nicoya or an Okinawan climbing a tree to pick fruit. People go the bed early and rise with the first light. Also the water here is very hard loaded with minerals, many necessary for good nutrition. In Costa Rica, including Nicoya, all electricity is from renewable energy sources and pollution is minimal. Unfortunately, as Westernization occurs all Blue Zones are disappearing, obesity and Western illnesses occurring, and the healthful lifestyles disappearing. However, my wife and I are trying to follow the old traditions. I did have many illnesses related to a western diet and lifestyle, but when my wife and I chose to live here, we felt that being in a place where living is healthful was far more important than living near health centres when a health related illness arose. Prevention is our focus.

          1. Robert, What you and your wife are doing is remarkable and creative. I hope you’re planning to write a book, or at least a blog, about your experiences. It makes a lot of sense to live where the environment supports your goals of becoming healthy, and encourages you to live close to nature.

            Two friends and I have recently started a group of people who eat WFPB, or are interested in learning about it, or are moving in that direction. One of them is a physician who became disillusioned with current medical practice that simply treats symptoms. The other considers herself to be a food addict and is on Chef AJ’s Ultimate Weight Loss Program. We have all had experiences with people who are actively hostile to our eating for health. Your environment means you are surrounded by people who are great examples instead of detractors.

            You have my best wishes for success in your quest for health and meaningful lives. Please let me know if you are writing about your experiences.

      2. Hi, Dr. Cobalt,

        When looking at a food’s glycemic impact (GI), I find it easier to look at glycemic load (GL)–the amount by which a portion of food raises your blood sugar. The GL of one medium banana is 10. That’s more than many other fruits. A serving (100 grams–2/3 cup) of regular blueberries is about 5 GL (and among common berries, blueberries have the highest glycemic impact.) Measures of glycemic response (GI or GL) will take into account the fiber and phytonutrients in plants, both of which help regulate the rate at which glucose gets into your blood. But keep in mind that these measures do not take into account any fructose in fruit. That’s because fructose bypasses your blood. Instead, it goes to your liver and in the face of ample glucose supplies, gets stored as fat.

        Yes, eat your greens.

    2. Yeah, you may be kidding but I’m willing to bet that would be the takeaway message most people would have! And I am also very curious about the potassium chloride substitute. Good, bad or what?

    3. Shameless plug.. If you like what you see here and have gotten some benefit, DONATE!!! No, I don’t work for the good Doctor but if you want to keep seeing this stuff, throw some $$ to keep it going…
      cheeech I sound like a NPR commercial… sorry
      m

    4. Hi, mitch! Hahah! Very funny about the three bananas with your bacon. Even funnier is that everyone thinks bananas when they think of potassium, but, while bananas do provide a respectable 1491mg/100g of potassium, other food sources are richer. In fact, bananas rank #99 on the USDA nutrient database for potassium content per 100g. Freeze-dried parsley packs a whopping 6300 mg/100g, but 100 grams of freeze-dried parsley is a whole lot of parsley! Most dried herbs are similarly concentrated sources of this and other minerals. Dried plants have more nutrients per gram because, with the water removed, they weigh a lot less. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/nutrients/report?nutrient1=306&nutrient2=&nutrient3=&&max=25&subset=0&offset=0&sort=c&totCount=8121&measureby=g
      My point is that whole plant foods are abundant in potassium. Even your spinach provides 558 mg/100g. Peppers provide over 3000 mg/100g, and are also rich in vitamin C, which makes iron more bioavailable. Why not cook your spinach with some herbs and peppers, and forget about the Potassium chloride salt substitute? I hope that helps!

  3. Dear Dr. Greger and anyone else working on/for NF.O,

    Can we please have an Edit function for the comments? Is this not possible in Word Press? If it is not possible in Word Press, then Word Press has completely missed the idea of forum commenting packages. Perhaps an alternative should be sought?

    I am not an expert in Word Press, but I’m sure someone is. Please, for the health of the forum here, look into it.

    Thank you very much,

    WP

    1. Wade, I’d like the edit function to come back, too, but without it maybe we all can proof read our own comments before sending them off. It’s the editor in me, and even so I don’t always get it right, but I usually find something to correct before sending comments if I proof them carefully first.

      1. Oh yes, I edit and proof a lot. But often need to rephrase or edit-just as I do in all the other forums I participate in. I write a lot, and feel compelled to write less here, because of the concreteness of errors.

          1. Just what I have been wondering. And some of them were among the most knowledgeable. I am very pleased to see Darryl, at least, is still around.

            1. Maybeso – Gosh I don’t see the thumbs down as anonymous cowards. I see it as just a quick way to say I agree or I disagree. . .same thing as the thumbs up. Are the thumbs up people anonymous cowards as well?

              1. Ginger, there was a time here when one could see the names of both the “likes” and the “dislikes.” And if you thumbed yourself up, it would show your name — embarrassing much? Now, of course, you can indeed “up” yourself and get away with it.

                  1. Maybeso – I see what you are saying. But I also have to say that, . . .on the grand scale of the Universe, I can’t feel too upset about an anonymous thumbs up or down. Ultimately, . . who cares?

        1. Wade – perhaps that’s a good thing. Lack of an Edit option disciplines one to think, rethink, be thoughtful, clear, concise. Stops one from blabbing just to blab . .. and taking up space that other’s don’t want to waste their time reading anyway.
          I, personally, enjoy the lack of Edit option – mental discipline is a good thing IMO.

      2. Rebecca, Thank you for your very common sense post about thinking, rereading, and editing before hitting that “Post Comment” button. If one were to think carefully about what they actually want to say, reread and edit it, there would be a lot less complaining about the lack of the edit button.
        Thank you.

    2. I think the loss of notification when someone responds to one’s comment is a much bigger issue, also the lack of a tree structure for replies. The current set up inhibits back and forth on specific topics/threads one might be interested in.

      1. David – I also miss the tree structure. I can’t tell anymore who is responding to who and what. And so the train of discussion gets lost as others post because you can’t follow the back and forth. So when someone asks a question you can’t see what the responses are – that means that if you had the same question, you can’t tell what the responses are. One has to make note in their post who they are responding to.
        I don’t mind the loss of the Edit option as I find it difficult to have no tree structure. Thanks for mentioning this.

        1. Oh dear, I hit the “follow by email” thingie.

          Big Mistake. I give.

          Anybody want to find me can try wpvelo at the gmail. Or find me on FB as others have. I’m done with this zoo for now.

          Cheers!

  4. it looks like today’s video is the second to last video on the cueentv’experimental’ video styles. Couldnt watch today’s video.with the slanted text, and the highlighted-but-not-enlarged text boxes
    The style represented here https://nutritionfacts.org/video/coffee-and-artery-function/ makes for effortless viewing.
    Great topic and info though, and grateful for it . I like the examples of eating potatoes and bananas. just goes to show that the best nutrition can be achieved through ordinary real food – no expensive exotic foods required. Life changing and do-able, thanks Dr Greger !

    1. Today’s video style was bearable, but yet contained too much motion for me. Freeze-framing is now a habitual part of watching these vids. The extra motion is slightly nauseating, but it has slowed down somewhat.

      In order to help a friend who is battling pre-diabetes right now, I just now pulled up a couple of OLD VIDEOS and actually re-watched them. They were SO MUCH BETTER AND EASIER, EVEN PLEASURABLE, TO WATCH!

      I genuinely miss such GREAT work. I had no idea we’d ever come to this crazy mess when I got hooked on NF.O. If the video styles don’t settle down to the “NORMALNESS” of 2014 and 2016, then I’m simply going to watch/recommend/share the re-runs from before crazy maddening geewhiz set it.

      A little red light/green light is refreshing after this “over-animated” stuff.

      Thank you susan for reminding us that there’s only a few more of these to endure. Endeavor to Persevere. But who knows WHAT is next?!

      1. You’re welcome Wade. So Monday will be the last video of the current DVD. After that, we have a new one starting .. the details are available in yesterday’s article https://nutritionfacts.org/2017/05/04/nutritionfacts-org-is-proud-to-help-launch-a-new-organization-balanced/ And, ty Wade for the reminder the other day to proof read posts thoroughly.. a habit which I need to aquire. In my post below, I meant to say I second your appeal for an edit function.

    2. I agree that the coffee one is better. You can read everything. I don’t have the problem with slanted stuff etc., but I find I am pausing the video to see, eg which are the high vs low nitrogen veggies, where before I would pause it only to write them down.

  5. I loved the content and info, thank you so much for info with which we can better change our health habits. But I too DO NOT like the slanted text zooming in and the lengthy pauses in the narration that the zooming flying creates. Your former way is much better! Thank you!

    1. Besides lowering iron levels…it forces your system to create new blood cells using stem cells? The old “bloodletters” were on to something?

      People go HA…HA…HA…but can’t read between the lines? What about the new research showing benefits from “transfusing” younger blood serum?

      Even on a site like this you have the retrograde types. Many are afraid of vampires…. What’s next…werewolves? Space aliens? ;-)

  6. Enjoyed this informative video.
    Question about consistent “low salt levels”in my blood tests, I’m hypothyroid, on Armour, and I have low blood pressure.
    Any ideas would be appreciated.

    1. MM,
      Your low “salt” levels could be either a low sodium, low chloride or both in the blood tests. There are differences…. and you will want to ask what was actually meant by the statement.

      The first things to consider are the losses due to vomiting, diarrhea, sweating or high fevers and or the use of diuretics, kidney disease or low levels of cortisol, aldosterone and sex hormones from a variety of disorders. If the levels are significantly low you should consider a full workup to make certain that you’re not experiencing some level of any of these causes.

      The influence of the hypothyroid is a potential, however with the correction of the Armour might not be the underlying issue. Low blood pressure may be normal for you and not knowing what you’re considering as low will make a huge difference. I’m going to encourage you to do some additional testing to rule out the other issues.

      Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger

  7. Dr Gregor I want to say a huge Thankyou for all of your work and advice . After 2 years of trying to go fully plant based on my own with your videos. I am now working with Adam Stevens in the UK who is using an amazing digital accountability program with me to make the best choices to reverse my Diabetes and long list of other problems, he to is amazing and adheres exactly to your reccomendations

  8. That’s is funny…In one of your annual presentations you specifically said that bananas weren’t even in the top 100 for potassium! You must have forgotten that since it is being mentioned here as 2 bananas a week for potassium.
    But I am a big fan of yours and am very grateful for your great work!!!

    1. Hi Alida
      Dr. Greger is reading/quoting from research articles. They used bananas. If I had to guess they use bananas in the research because it is a common fruit people eat.

  9. I liked the format of your older posts. This new format gives me motion sickness, with the constantly flipping pages. What is the point of flashing something in front of you that you can’t read. I am sure I am not the only one who has this issue.

  10. Question: Would sodium raise blood pressure if absorbed through the skin? I just started using baking soda mixed with a little water as a deodorant. I really like it but was wondering if that could significantly raise the level of sodium in my body?

    1. I doubt if any substantial sodium would be absorbed, but I would be more concerned with the effects of the high PH on your skin. Baking soda is very alkaline and over time can burn or irritate delicate skin. I use it too, but mixed in with cornstarch, arrowroot or colloidal oatmeal 1-5 or so, dusted on lightly with a puff, and barely visible. I’ve even added pulverized herbs for their scent and odor reducing benefits too, or some people add their favorite scent or essential oil to a cotton ball and set it into the covered mix. You may want a back up for that sleeveless black dress, but this works pretty well!

  11. Hello, so i have inflamed carpal joints due to overuse. I’ve been on a plant based diet for a few months now. Eating food based off of the Daily Dozen app. Today my chiropractor told me to stop eating legumes, peanuts, grains, corn, and potatoes. These foods are a staple in my diet. He also said to incorporate more meat, chicken, and bone broth into my diet. Doesn’t this go against a lot of what is taught on this website? I feel confused about what is right for the body again. What is the proper diet for a human being to be at optimal health? Also, should i track my macronutrients? Such as protein, carbs, and fats.

    1. Let me just tell you what I had to do (though no doctor told me to – it was just trial and error).
      I had to stop eating legumes, peanuts and grains (of course I never ate meat, chicken, and bone broth). These caused all kinds of inflammation – including inflamed carpal joints (and arthritis in many other joints). It might have felt like an overuse when in fact it was kind of oversensitivity reaction (at least in my case).

      Despite this for many years (like 8 years) I was doing relatively OK because I was eating a lot of black cherries – this was my cure where no other worked. Of course countless numbers of doctors were visited.

      Had I stopped eating gluten and meat at some point, I’d still be quite OK and I could eat legumes, but finally my stomach inflammation got so bad (confirmed endoscopically and by biopsy) that I got oversensitivities to many foods (including legumes which is the worst that can happen because you have no staple protein food then).

      What can you do? Try elimination diet, but remember that it may be tricky. Take me for example – I suspected gluten was an issue, so I started eating rice.
      The problem is that this rice must have contained some traces of gluten from production lines (it has to be specifically a gluten-free rice). Another problem is that I am probably allergic to rice anyway although I never got to find out for sure – I’d have to get me some gluten-free rice but what’s the point if I really don’t like rice anyway?

    2. Hi Andrewdimas,
      Thanks for your question about your diet. I am volunteer moderator at this website. Firstly congratulation in taking care of yourself by using Dr Greger as a good source of nutrition information. You mentioned that you have been incorporating daily dozen into your diet. How did you feel as your body is a great indicator if the food that you are having is agreeing with you. Every individual is unique and Although high whole food plant based nutrition is the best way for good health the amount that different individual can tolerate can vary. For example I personally have to be careful how much beans and when I have it so that my body can digest and absorb the nutrient from it.

      Also I found some information on exercise for your hand to get relief from inflamed carpal joint. I hope these information are useful to you.
      I shall refer you to Dr Greger lecture and I hope that would give more broader information for you.

      Food as Medicine: Preventing & Treating the Most Dreaded Diseases with Diet

      Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Relief

    3. Just wanted to say that there is rampant dietary disinfo out there, from specialists on down, that have no clue about the proper diet and base their advice on their personal preference instead of the actual facts and science. I was diabetic for years carefully following the advice of my doctors and the American Diabetes Ass. diet, who I considered experts and now consider ……… (you fill in the blank), because within weeks after starting on an 80-10-10 McDougall type diet (that they warned against) after seeing the movie Forks Over Knives, I was no longer diabetic, and that was 5 years ago. Dr Greger is in the trenches with the research, he knows the facts, trust him and all the other plant based doctors who walk the talk because it works, and there is proof instead of hearsay and opinion! Unless you have noticed particular sensitivities to the foods mentioned to avoid, they are health promoting, and the foods he wants you to add are NOT. Fact not opinion! Don’t let yourself be a victim of the white coat authority effect that sways your own better judgement!

    4. no link to the research….

      For this study, the researchers had to examine artificial ligaments that they grew in a lab. (No one is going to sign up for a study that requires knee surgery just to evaluate results.) However, they were able to compare blood samples from these artificial ligaments to samples from human participants in their study. The eight human participants were all young, healthy men who took a gelatin and vitamin C supplement. An hour later, they engaged in the high-impact activity of skipping for one hour.

      The researchers evaluated both the participants’ blood and the lab ligaments for the amino acids that are the building blocks of collagen. These, in turn, help build tendons, ligaments, and bones. They found that the supplement did, in fact, increase the levels of collagen ingredients. It also benefitted the mechanics of the lab ligaments.

      The researchers concluded that a gelatin and vitamin C supplement, when combined with exercise, can help the body repair itself more efficiently and avoid injury more effectively. If you’re worried about your joints, this could be a good place to start. Dr. Janet Zand

      1. https://www.womenshealthletter.com/Health-Alert-Archive/View-Archive/2731/Gelatin-Supplements-Are-Good-for-Your-Joints.htm I looked up your source for the quote Fred, and it isnt a very reputable site. They are selling supplements. Geletin is an animal product .

        Those who enjoy a whole food plant based eating style reap all the wondrous benefits of consuming plant nutrition while avoiding the deleterious effects of consuming animal products (or supporting animal industry) that this website warns about.

        1. I like to pay attention to many sources of info. I use around 1.5 TBS gelatin per day. I could list few other sources for recommendations for using gelatin.

          Just because someone uses supplements when treating people does not mean they are treating in an invalid way.

          There are studies saying that higher intakes of animal protein are good for men over 65. I try to use “clean” protein when possible….that is as free of contaminates as possible….hard to do. I can tell when I’ve indulged in too much animal protein…sluggish and stupid. Vegetables = lighter and brighter.

          I would like to remain as healthy as possible for as long as possible…that means being able to “get around” and not fall and break a hip like a neighbor recently did. He ended up in a nursing home…then was back…and now is likely in the home…or off to the happy hunting grounds.

          You need to have muscles (exercise program/creatine/essential aminos)….strong bones (magnesium/strontium)…joint flexibility (gelatin/horsetail). You need to have a brain (cognitex) to know what to do.

          When you are older…somethings going to get you…you makes your choices and you takes your chances. When you hit 65…get back with me.

          1. Fred, you are exactly RIGHT.. I am 72 and I noticed that when

            I went 100 percent pure vegan that I lost energy, strength, and I

            lost muscle density. Now that I eat a little bit of meat, take creatine,

            iodine supplement, vitamin C supplement, omega 3 supplement,

            potassium supplement, B complex supplement…..I feel much better,

            and I am stronger.

            1. To Fred and John – I have been thinking, also, about the points that you both raise. I, too, sometimes feel like I just need a “little something more” nutritionally. But let me digress a little bit first and suggest that you both take a look at the work of Dr. Valter Longo. He is the head of the aging and gerontology department at UC-Davis. He also has a lab in Italy. He has done a whole lot of work on cellular aging and too much to summarize here. A lot of his work has been on the benefits of fasting on the aging cells and how to use fasting to help us. All very interesting. I’m going to share a link with you of a recent presentation and you can Youtube other presentations he has on the web. I encourage you to watch everything. Here is one:
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgo5-5f3Q-Q
              The above link is his latest Youtube post. Somewhere towards the end he states that his research shows that, in general, we benefit from a low protein WFPB diet (and if you know that Mother’s milk is only about 1-3% protein this makes great sense). However, his research is revealing that once we get to about age 65 that we do, in fact, require more protein. He hasn’t learned the “why” part of it yet I don’t think. He is writing a book now about his findings which will be first published in Italy. Dr. Longo is like Dr. Campbell – he goes where the science takes him (digression there).
              Now having said the above, at 64, I sometimes, too, feel like I need a more concentrated source of protein and fewer carbs. I can’t explain the feeling exactly, but I do sense it at times. Perhaps it has something to do with my reduced activity level from decades gone by – who knows? But for me, rather than go back to eating meat (being WFPB, SOS for 10 years now), I choose higher protein vegetables for starters like asparagus, greens, broccoli, etc. But also I choose some seitan products that one finds more of on the market now. Seitan is still very high in complete protein but does not have the animal protein worry. If you’ve read Dr. Campbell’s book, his experiments showed that no matter how high he made the protein content in his experiments, as long as it was plant based protein it did not increase cancer. I went back and checked that a number of times. There are also a great number of seitan recipes on the web on Youtube, . . some healthier than others for added oil and frying. But I have been experimenting with seitan now for a couple of years and have learned that if you flavor the seitan with the same things that we flavor meat with one can create a fairyly good tasting meat substitute. For a corned beef I use traditional corned beef spicing, etc. Other flavoring to add to seitan to create a rich flavor are tomato paste, nutritional yeast, steak seasoning (yes! – have you ever tasted a piece of steak without added spicing? – it is completely flavorless), wood smoke flavoring (ok’d by Dr. Greger). Monks have been eating seitan for hundreds of years. You make it using vital wheat gluten (google it).
              Here is a link to a great site where you can look up various vegg to determine their protein value:
              http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2311/2
              I’ve given you the link to asparagus to get you started and you can see that asparagus is 27% protein – complete protein at that.
              Thanks for bringing up this topic. Perhaps I’ve shared something helpful. All the best –

              1. Thanks for this information. I’ve never heard this information before.

                I will check it out. Meanwhile I will increase my asparagus intake.

                jOHN

                1. John – here’s a link to an example of seitan products on the market. I get one at my local health food store from a company called Sweet Earth that makes a variety of seitan products.
                  http://www.sweetearthfoods.com/our-products/#seitan
                  But other companies make seitan products as well. Sweet Earth has a seitan product that, when you put barbeque sauce on it, tastes just like a BBQ sandwich.
                  All of the WFPB docs warn against diets too high in protein. I am not a protein-a-holic. But I find that using seitan here and there helps me to stay the course and remain on a WFPB diet.
                  Sweet Earth has recipes on its website.
                  If you are one who cooks, it is much cheaper to make your own seitan. A bag of vital wheat gluten from Bob’s Red Mill cost about $7.00. It makes about 2.5 full recipes of seitan – I made a meatloaf last night and there are plenty of leftovers. So it’s more economical to make your own if you feel comfortable. One thing I’ve learned about making seitan is to flavor the water that you use to make the seitan (usually 2C vital wheat gluten to 2C liquid). I use vegg broth, tomato paste, nutritional yeast, granular onion and garlic, hickory smoke flavor and any other additional flavors depending on what you’re making. The point is to get the flavor into the seitan rather than on it. Also, most seitan recipes I see call for boiling the seitan. I’ve learned to steam it instead (just like you steam vegetables), usually about 45 mins, and then I put it in the oven and broil the top just a little bit.
                  Have fun exploring and good luck to you.

            2. I actually try to minimize animal protein intake…maybe 3-4 ozs with any meal…mostly now and then. The creatine/essential aminos are just 2xs per week when I do my exercise program.

              I feel best when I do not eat animal protein to much of an extent…anything much more than a salad or a veggie soup drag me down some….though occasionally I get an urge for meat and so forth. Even my whole grain cornbread biscuits are a bit heavy.

              A primary benefit is my exercise program as far as remaining able to move around when I want to….the reality is either exercise regularly or sit down and go to hey.

              I take other supplements that I think have some research behind them….those that promote health and longevity.

              My siblings are real idiots when it comes to diet and lifestyle….unfortunately I find it is important to avoid for the most part…people like this. IMO…you need to think about it…you are over 65….if you are lucky and don’t have some serious ongoing chronic disease…you have till you are 85….and as you approach this age…you might start to drool. So it makes sense to me to put a strong emphasis on maintaining health…cause if you don’t..you are likely going to go the other way. Call it a hobby.

              I’ve done genetic testing that shows no negative predispositions except for several tendencies for being overweight….which shows up with my siblings. I managed to plateau at maybe 20 lbs overweight…I’ve noticed that older people tend to lose weight…so I’m waiting. ;-)

              My siblings for the most part just keep on as they always have…oblivious to the approaching brick wall…and old El Morte just behind it. Guess it’s pedal to the metal…have fun while you still can and so forth. (they are the result of corporate lifestyle conditioning?) They talk lot and I guess try to scare the boogy man away. Not get a brain and try to use real info to increase your chances of a healthy life.

              At any rate it’s an ongoing learning experience…there’s a signpost up ahead…..

          2. I am a pistmenopausal woman Fred who has benefitted greatly from eating a wfpb diet. My athletic endevours have not suffered in the least. I am extremely active. I maintain good muscle on a trim frame. From what the plant based doctors say, and what Dr Greger has provided evidence for on this website, animal products are not only unnecessary, but have negative consequence in the diet. Supplements are not required beyond vit B12 and perhaps vit D (if you do not get year round sun exposure etc) and maybe omega 3 from vegan source if you dont consume flax.

            All this, and my conscience is clear in not contributing to the horrors of the animal industries. No animal needs to die for me today.

          3. Fred,

            I realize many people don’t choose to eat a whole foods plant based diet, but I’m convinced it is superior to any other way – and it’s the natural diet for humans. But you are free to make your own choice, based on your experience and preferences.

            I’ve got you beat in years. I’m 74. I’ve overcome an aggressive type of breast cancer that two other women I knew both had. They were younger than me – one in her 30s, both ate meat, and both lived about 18 months after diagnosis. For me it’s been seven years. I really pay attention to Colin Campbell’s research showing that animal protein feeds cancer and causes it to grow, while plant protein does not. Both of those women ate meat, one ate a ketogenic diet of mostly meat and fat, with added veggies.

            For many years I ate about as you describe. I studied nutrition in a fairly formal one year course and became a nutritional therapist. The trouble is, the course followed a more Paleo type program, starting with Weston A Price and Pottenger’s messages. But there are many newer studies showing better outcomes without all the meat and fat they recommend.

            For two years following my nutrition course I ate cleanly raised beef, eggs, chicken, wild-caught salmon, etc. Then came the BIG lump in the breast that hadn’t been detectable a year earlier.

            It was after this that I discovered The China Study and other valid information which has helped me get well and stay that way. Even if I rarely stray into a bit of cheese or seafood, it is almost always when I’m served at someone else’s home or have little choice.

            There’s plenty of proof that plant protein is both sufficient and superior to animal protein when you eat a varied diet with beans, whole grains, greens, other veggies, fruits and a few nuts and seeds.

            When eating animal protein it’s hard not to become too acidic. When that happens you lose calcium from the bones to neutralize things. This is the cause of osteoporosis in Western eaters, most of whom get too much animal protein.

            I wish you health and long life.

    5. andewdimas
      I’ve found naturpathic doctors are also very pro meat , most likely paleo . For me personally I have found problems with potato , being hard on my joints , but sweet potato very positive effect. In a facebook interview doctor greger did maybe two weeks ago , someone asked if all potato diet would be safe and healthy . Dr Greger at that time said you would have vit A deficiency , he also repeated twice don’t try an all (white) potato diet.
      I would find my facts here , certainly not McDougall or Furhman sites and certainly not on any paleo sites.

  12. Hi WFPB Nancy, Thanks for your question. Dr Greger has a good video that I refer you to it for your question also I researched a few more references for you. I hope these are useful to you.
    Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. It is made up of sodium, hydrogen and carbon. Of these three elements, the sodium is of particular concern with regard to blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, 1 teaspoon of baking soda contains 1,000 mg sodium. Unless the individual has any blood pressure issue it seems to be fine considering right amount. Also its use and interaction with other medication should be discussed with your doctor.
    Alkaline Water: a Scam?
    Baking Soda

    Baking Soda & Blood Pressure

    1. Thank you so much, spring03! It seems that sodium bicarb doesn’t have the same effect on blood pressure as sodium chloride. So I can keep using baking soda as a deodorant and not worry about a possible spike in my blood pressure. Excellent!

  13. I bought potassium chloride powder several years ago to mix with table salt. Then I heard or read that it inhibits b12 absorption so I stopped using it. I still don’t know how safe it is or is not to use this salt substitute. I use potassium citrate instead.

  14. How did people 1000 years ago even know about hypertension? They didn’t have any blood pressure cuffs, machines, or stethoscopes to measure hypertension back in those days. They probably didn’t even know what systole and diastole pressures are.
    This statement that people 1000 years ago wrote and understood about the dynamics of hypertension sounds a little fishy to me.

    1. While the first measurement of blood pressure was published by Stephen Hales in 1733. The medieval Persian physician Al-Akhawayni was writing about a disease he called al-Imtela’ (“the Fullness”) which matched many characteristics of hypertension. From the cited text:

      In [Al-Akhawayni’s] opinion, the disease could result from the excessive amount of blood within the blood vessels. He believed that in patients with al-Imtela’, the total amount of blood is not normal. However, the quality is normal and could carry out its functions. According to Al-Akhawayni, al-Imtela’ can manifest itself with symptoms including the presence of a pulsus magnus, sleepiness, weakness, and dyspnea. After these general descriptions, he explained the possibility of an acute event occurring with this disease as follows: “… when severe facial blushing, engorgement of the vessels [superficially located in the head and the neck], and protrusion of the eyes occur,… there is concern that a vessel [of the brain] becomes ruptured and uncontrollable bleeding occurs, or ‘sakteh’ [stroke] occurs … and there is the threat of death …; epistaxis may occur …”. It is noteworthy that Al-Akhawayni in discussing the causes of stroke in Sakteh (stroke) chapter of Hidayat described al-Imtela’ as the etiology of hemorrhage within the cranial cavity. He also criticized Rhazes’ (865-925 AD) notion on hemorrhagic stroke. These aforementioned descriptions could correspond to an early explanation of hypertension, its crisis, and the associated hemorrhagic stroke.

  15. The title of this video should include reversing the ratio not lowering it.

    I’m convinced that anyone who switches to a pro potassium diet from a pro sodium will be much better off.

  16. What about potassium Chloride? Good or bad?
    Safe if you don’t have kidney problems or take blood pressure potassium medication?
    Upper limit?

      1. Medical doctors prescribe 20 mEq of potassium chloride
        in liquid form to their cardiac patients. Some patients get
        40 or 60 mEq of potassium chloride. Do you think these
        medical doctors working in ICU are hurting their patients?
        If so, maybe you should confront them.

        1. John – Re: potassium in ICU use, . . . No, doctors are not abusing their patients by administering potassium. There are situations when one has disease where the chemistry gets way out of whack. Potassium administration is common in certain emergency situations. When my Mother had lung cancer, it was a common action of the disease to have dangerously low sodium (doctors don’t know why lung cancer causes this situation) and we had to administer that mineral, by IV, to keep her alive. This situation is way different from healthy individuals taking potassium as a supplement.

    1. Nancy,

      Regarding the use of potassium chloride vs sodium chloride…….as a salt substitute….. in moderation is probably fine. You might however find that using herbs in your food more satisfying. The bitter aftertaste of the potassium product is notable to many and more potassium via veggies is preferable.

      Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

  17. Are there any articles on treating vitiligo with a plant based diet, or any research on it? I’ve tried searching on here, but I haven’t found even a mention of it, I asked my dermatologist and she scoffed at the mention of using diet to treat vitiligo and wrote a prescription for steroid creams instead.
    Any info is much appreciated!!!

      1. Thank you! I do take both of those supplements, it seems hard to find anything else diet related when it comes to treatment, I’ve only been wfpb since January, but I’m really hoping it’ll help

    1. I found two articles that you may want to share with your dermatologist. the first is a general article citing the study which was mentioned by another commenter (Maxine)
      http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vitiligo/diagnosis-treatment/treatment/txc-20319051
      Limited studies show that the herb Ginkgo biloba may return skin color in people with vitiligo. Other small studies show that alpha-lipoic acid, folic acid, vitamin C and vitamin B-12 plus phototherapy may restore skin color for some people.

      The other article suggests diet definitely can be used as an adjunct to non-dietary treatment. Certainly knowing that vitiligo involves the immune system which can be bolstered by a whole food plant based diet makes the case for using diet at least in addition to other treatment to treat vitiligo.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28317532 The Role of Diet and Supplements in Vitiligo Management.
      Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder that involves the interplay between oxidative stress and the immune system. Preliminary observations suggest that the presence of gluten in the diet may play a role in vitiligo development in some patients, but to date vitiligo-specific diets have not been studied. The role of oral supplements, including vitamins, minerals, and botanicals, is increasingly being investigated as adjuncts to conventional medical treatment due to their antioxidant and immunomodulatory activity. Studies suggest that many of these agents may have some efficacy as monotherapy, but more often as adjuncts to topical agents and phototherapy.

      1. Missy,

        You will find a lot of people who have adopted a whole foods plant based diet have turned around other autoimmune conditions. You’ll find such stories on http://www.drmcdougall.com and probable elsewhere.

        I would also like to point out NOT to use folic acid, which is the artificial form of the B vitamin, but instead to always use folate, the natural form. This can be tricky, because sometimes even manufacturers list folic acid when they mean folate. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer and ask. When you take folic acid the body can’t convert it all to the usable form and the excess folic acid the body can’t use has been associated with cancer.

  18. Hello Doc;
    Great video as always! I would like to know if you will be recording and selling this class, as I was unable to make the deadline to sign up!
    Last Chance to Register for Research Training
    Nine days and counting until my 4-hour live research training webinar on May 6th, but you only have until April 30th, this Sunday, to register. (Instructions will be sent out to registrants on May 1st). All the tips, tricks, and techniques I’ve learned over the years on how to research health and nutrition topics packed into 4 hours. If that interests you, register today!

    Please, please do sell this!!!!
    thanks so much for all your hard work and care!

  19. Hello. I have a very important question. I’m an aspiring vegan who’s looking for many healthy alternatives for the foods I have used to eat in the past. I’m also very busy in following the app “Daily Dozen” as much as I possibly can, but I still have a slight issue. I simply enjoy and adore cooking up tasty dishes, but I have not found a way to cook as of yet with something to replace the butter I used (from the brand Alpro). Are there cooking oils or is there anything else I can cook with? I really need help?

    Kindest regards.

    Everhart

    1. E3V3E,

      Your question about using a substitute for butter is a good one. I know it’s hard to think of changing your cooking so it doesn’t include added fats at all, but that’s what the science shows is healthy and natural for humans to eat. We get fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, and other foods.
      Even broccoli has fat, amazingly enough.

      People are used to using oils and butter because they carry flavors so well. You will probably find you enjoy foods better if you totally abandon the way you used to cook and take a new approach. I have many whole foods plant based cookbooks, some much better than others for flavorful foods.
      Some use oils, so I leave that out. Now that I don’t think in terms of something to replace a meat, two sides and a salad, I find our meals are more flavorful, varied and interesting than ever.

      My go-to cookbook these days is the Plant Pure Nation one. The cookbook author is Dr Campbell’s daughter-in-law and she has a lot of really tasty recipes that use no oil or butter. Her take on mayonnaise is the tastiest I’ve tried and keeps at least two weeks in the fridge, so you can put it on sandwiches or make mock tuna with a chickpea mix.

      There is a website and newsletter for Forks Over Knives. They have an app with zillions of recipes and new ones weekly in their newsletter. Most sound quite tasty.

      When I want to make something from the old days, but cleaned up, I Google the food along with Dr McDougall. An example for a special occasion might be “carrot cake McDougall”. The McDougall website has hundreds, maybe thousands of recipes, some better than others. But if it’s ever been cooked without oil or animal input you’re likely to find a recipe there. Their newsletter also has several new recipes every month.

      There are a lot of others and I certainly haven’t tried them all, but of those I have tried, these usually come through for me.

      Good luck with your transition, and good health to you.

    2. You could replace butter with olive oil, it would be better but not really healthy….
      There is no need for oils, it takes some time to adapt, but you’ll see, after adapting, you will find dishes with oil soo oily… you will learn to cook with more spices and herbs and appreciate all these tastes.

      But what you can use are nuts, seeds as well as some tahini, peanut butter…

  20. What about salt loss by sweat?
    Do the salts lost in sweat reflect the ratio of potassium to sodium in the blood or is one of them lost preferentially?
    It gets hot in my town but people are exclusively given sodium chloride, it seems like some mixture would be healthier.

    1. Kal,

      We do indeed lose some potassium….. In this interesting study of soccer players check out their sweat contents. The ratio between the sodium vs the potassium loss is 7.6x’s more sodium loss.

      So even with really vigorous exercise you do have some loss, but not a gross amount, compared to the sodium. Use a green drink with lots of fluid to replenish your sweat loss and remember to not wait till your dehydrated…..

      Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger

  21. Thank you so much for this website! I loved reading how not to die and all of the rich information that is given here! I have a question concerning and cholesterol that maybe someone could help me with? I have been on a whole foods plant-based diet for 16 months now and obviously feel better than I ever have in my life , However my cholesterol continues to be high. I was tested in September 2016 and my total was 222 with an LDL of 157. Just received my results from last weeks test and my total is 213 with LDL of 146. I’m 33 years old, 5 foot 100 pounds-I’m incredibly active, I teach yoga and I eat really well so I’m really perplexed as to how this number isn’t budging much:( Tha is in advance for any responses!!!

      1. I eat VERY limited oils, I mostly cook with water when a recipe calls to begin with oil. My fats are walnuts and avocados. I’m really frustrated watching all these films and hearing about so many who come off statins within weeks of changing to a WFPB diet and my numbers continue to be too high. My BP is always 110/65 and I feel fantastic all the time, but this cholesterol has got to go:)

        1. Maybe too much avocados (that are high in saturated fat, same for coconut)?
          Other question: did you loose weight recently (which causes higher cholesterol levels, since you are “eating meat”?
          What worked for my husband: no oil, flaxseed grounded every day 2 spoons, oatmeal every day, lots of greens (cruciferous), berries, beans. But it takes time, it goes faster for people that change from a very poor diet, my impression….
          Already fantastic your BP is not concerned!

          1. I don’t think it’s too many avocados, however I could reduce my consumption and see if that helps. I have not Lost any weight, I have always fluctuated between 95 and 100 pounds since I was in my early 20s and I’ll be 34 this year. I have a tablespoon of ground flax in my kale smoothie every day and also consume a lot of beans. I will increase my oatmeal consumption. Thanks for the tips!

            1. You are very slim!!!! Are you on a raw diet? Did you check (with for example cronometer.com) the calorie breakdown (relation protein/carbs/fat in calories) of what you eat in a day? Maybe you could find a response there? Maybe you eat very healthy but not enough carbs in calorie, so that you end with lots of fat in the relation? give it a try!

              And yes, I think what is lacking in nutritionfacts.org is exactly a place where to find out why somebody that (seems) to do all right, has still high cholesterol, or high BP, or high uric acid… I mean, this is important to know, and it is really important because the good results are impressive and if we cannot get there, we should know why or where to search!

                  1. I haven’t recently, but has been normal in past. I’m also an ultrasound tech and know my thyroid looks good!

        2. Sarah,

          I’m so sorry you’re experiencing such a difficult problem, especially when you’re trying to hard. I can see why you’re terribly frustrated.

          I often suggest people write Dr McDougall, at http://www.drmcdougall.com with questions like this, or at least peruse the success stories on his site.
          He’s awfully good about responding with general information, but of course he can’t give you personal specifics. Still, he will send links to appropriate talks and articles about your specific problem. If you write him, be sure and tell him how hard you’re trying and how you are eating. He may have you cut out avocados, nuts and seeds.

    1. Sarah,

      You may be genetically inclined and working overtime to reduce this level, may be counter productive.

      May I suggest you have a fractionated lipid panel and see if your actually putting yourself at risk with these levels ? You can assess you risk using a full findings of the types of cholesterol along with other indices and get a much better answer of potential CV risk.

      Please see: Genova Diagnostics and others. As an FYO you can do these tests without a physicians orders.

      Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger

      1. I sure will do this! Thank you so much! It’s hard not to get caught up in the numbers! I have scanned myself (ultrasound tech) and can confirm I’ve got no visible plaques in either carotid or aorta! Thank you again!

      2. drkadish,

        Would any doctor be able to translate the results of this test, or would it have to be someone who uses food for healing the way you must?

  22. The last line of this video is to have salt free meals. I understand this to be iodized table salt, but is this also say no Himalayan pink salt?

    1. Yes, several of the plant based doctors, including Dr G, advise that we shouldn’t add any salt, not even Himalayan pink salt. Others suggest that minimal use of salt (not into the recipe or while cooking, but just a sprinkle at the table) is OK.

    2. Based on what I’ve seen, the studies don’t seem to focus on the difference between natural salts such as himalayan pink salt, and table salt. I don’t think there’s enough insight into this. Personally though, life is too short to be salt free. I’d rather be less than “perfect” and actually enjoy myself. I don’t eat potato chips, but I do add natural salt to my meals and even eat snacks with added salt sometimes, I try to be smart about it but I also want to live, not live to eat. Despite daring to not omit salt from my diet or at the dinner table, I have extremely low blood pressure and really good arterial function. I’m very healthy. But I do try to cut out salt where it’s not needed, like I stopped buying salted peanut butter, I add less to my food than I used to, etc.

  23. Hi

    I seem to have the opposite problem. I get 5 times more potassium than sodium. So the ratio is not good.
    I don’t know how to fix this (unless I use 1.8 grams of salt in my food)?

    I eat my greens, fruits, seeds, grains, nuts and beans.

    Regards
    Mikael

    1. Mikael,

      I was thinking the same thing. There are many days when I’ll have upwards of 5000mg of potassium while not even reaching 400mg of sodium. Does anyone know if there is a problem with a potassium:sodium ratio that is skewed so heavily towards the potassium side? Could this be throwing off my electrolyte balance??

  24. As long as you aren’t taking any potassium supplements and are only getting your potassium from a plant-based diet, you should be fine. It’s not possible to overdose on potassium in the amounts that it is found naturally in food. If you are sweating a lot of losing a lot of fluids from diarrhea or vomiting, adding some sea salt to the surface of your food can help you replenish sodium.

    Be well,

    Dr. Jamie Koonce, L.Ac., DACM, Dipl.OM

  25. I recently began using a salt substitute (“Morton” or “Nu Salt”) as a source of “Potassium Chloride” because I find it difficult to have a diet where I receive 4700 milligrams of “Potassium” from food. Thanks

  26. Please consider using less pan-n-zoom effects throughout the video. It’s a bit dizzying for some of us.

    Ken Burns (famous documentary filmmaker) invented and perfected how and when to use effects on static images and documents.

    With a little practice using the Ken Burns effects, I believe Dr. Greger has the stuff to be a great documentary filmmaker.

    Thank you for publishing the videos that helped me change my family’s life for the better. Keep it up!

    Greggery (yeah, really)

  27. What do you think about KCl salt substitute for flavor as I eat tons of fruit and vegetables and am not really low on KCl?

  28. Unprocessed fruits and vegetables have a tremendous potassium to sodium ratio across the board. There is no need to supplement. KCl used in excess can cause electrolyte imbalances that can lead to fatal outcomes. It doesn’t taste very good either. Best to avoid. This article reviews much of this info in the introduction (there is not much relevant info in the abstract): http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1541-4337.12291/full

    Dr. Ben

  29. Here’s a question about sodium to potassium ratios. Recently, I started using Cronometer to get a sense of my nutrient intake and balance. My blood work last time I had it analyzed was stellar and my blood pressure is good. One of the nutritional balances it measures is Potassium:Sodium. According to Cronometer, I am getting too much potassium (via foods recommended here in this video. legumes, sweet potatoes and leafy greens etc) that the only way to achieve a good balance is to add salt to my diet. I don’t really want to reduce my intake of potassium rich foods as they are fundamental sources of high fibre and nutrient rich carbs and protein. Is it actually safe to add more salt to get a better ratio? or should I be questioning Cronometer’s recommended ratio?

  30. I hope I get a reply back on this. I’m wondering what is the best way to make a sweet potato? I’ve seen the video you posted but it isn’t exactly clear and other things I have noticed on the website do not make it clear. Sure, I saw that you said boiling sweet potatoes decreases glycemic index but what about for the people who do not need to follow a low glycemic diet. Many say boiling actually loses nutrients. I haven’t heard much about steaming sweet potatoes (at least not on the website) Would steaming them be just as fine?. I also notice you mentioned about acrylamide in baked sweet potatoes, yet I have seen a recipe on here that said to bake the sweet potato. Also, it isn’t clear is it safe to eat the sweet potato skin or not? Videos and info here haven’t been too helpful. For boiled or steamed sweet potatoes wouldn’t the skin be okay to eat? Is it only different when it comes to baking, roasting, or frying them?

    I hope someone gets back to me answering these questions.

  31. I think your questions will be answered by viewing this link: https://nutritionfacts.org/2015/11/24/is-it-better-to-bake-boil-or-steam-sweet-potatoes/ Regarding the skin, I just did some research on this and while peeling may be advised for white potatoes due to pesticides, there are fewer pesticides found on sweet potatoes and with good washing, scrubbing you should be able to eat them using whatever cooking methods, enjoying the beneficial fiber you’ll be taking in. Hope that helps.

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