High Blood Pressure May Be a Choice

High Blood Pressure May Be A Choice

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High Blood Pressure May Be A Choice

DESCRIPTION: Eating a diet low enough in sodium (salt) can prevent the rise in hypertension risk as we age.

High Blood Pressure May Be A Choice

I’ve badly neglected sodium on NutritionFacts.org, but that’s all going to change. I have about a dozen salt videos queued up that dive deep into the existing controversies. It’s such an enormous topic that it was a bit intimidating at first. There are more than 8,000 ( ) articles on the topic in the medical literature, but that’s what you have me for! If you appreciate my efforts please consider becoming a regular supporter by clicking on the donate ( ) button above.

High Blood Pressure May Be A Choice

For more on Kempner and his rice diet, see:
• Kempner Rice Diet: Whipping Us Into Shape ( )
• Drugs and the Demise of the Rice Diet ( )
• Can Diabetic Retinopathy Be Reversed? ( )

High Blood Pressure May Be A Choice

Canned foods are infamous for their sodium content, but there are no-salt varieties (Canned Beans or Cooked Beans? ). Cutting down on sodium is one of the ways we could be Improving on the Mediterranean Diet ( ). Beyond heart health it could also help our kidneys (How to Treat Kidney Stones with Diet ). But if you cut down on salt, won’t everything taste like cardboard? See Changing Our Taste Buds ( ).

High Blood Pressure May Be A Choice

More on hypertension in How to Prevent High Blood Pressure with Diet ( ) and How to Treat High Blood Pressure with Diet ( ). What if you already eat healthy and still can’t get your pressures down? Try adding hibiscus tea (Hibiscus Tea vs. Plant-Based Diets for Hypertension ) and ground flax seeds (Flax Seeds for Hypertension ) to your diet. And make sure you’re exercising regularly (Longer Life Within Walking Distance ).

High Blood Pressure May Be A Choice

Have a question for Dr. Greger about this video? Leave it in the comment section at and he'll try to answer it!

High Blood Pressure May Be A Choice

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High Blood Pressure May Be a Choice

Subscribe for free to Dr. Greger's videos at:
http://nutritionfacts.org/subscribe/

DESCRIPTION: Eating a diet low enough in sodium (salt) can prevent the rise in hypertension risk as we age.

I’ve badly neglected sodium on NutritionFacts.org, but that’s all going to change. I have about a dozen salt videos queued up that dive deep into the existing controversies. It’s such an enormous topic that it was a bit intimidating at first. There are more than 8,000 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=%22Sodium%2C+Dietary%22%5BMesh%5D) articles on the topic in the medical literature, but that’s what you have me for! If you appreciate my efforts please consider becoming a regular supporter by clicking on the donate (https://nutritionfacts.org/donate/) button above.

For more on Kempner and his rice diet, see:
• Kempner Rice Diet: Whipping Us Into Shape (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/kempner-rice-diet-whipping-us-into-shape/)
• Drugs and the Demise of the Rice Diet (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/drugs-and-the-demise-of-the-rice-diet/)
• Can Diabetic Retinopathy Be Reversed? (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/can-diabetic-retinopathy-be-reversed/)

Canned foods are infamous for their sodium content, but there are no-salt varieties (Canned Beans or Cooked Beans? http://nutritionfacts.org/video/canned-beans-or-cooked-beans/). Cutting down on sodium is one of the ways we could be Improving on the Mediterranean Diet (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/improving-on-the-mediterranean-diet/). Beyond heart health it could also help our kidneys (How to Treat Kidney Stones with Diet http://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-to-treat-kidney-stones-with-diet/). But if you cut down on salt, won’t everything taste like cardboard? See Changing Our Taste Buds (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/changing-our-taste-buds/).

More on hypertension in How to Prevent High Blood Pressure with Diet (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-to-prevent-high-blood-pressure-with-diet/) and How to Treat High Blood Pressure with Diet (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-to-treat-high-blood-pressure-with-diet/). What if you already eat healthy and still can’t get your pressures down? Try adding hibiscus tea (Hibiscus Tea vs. Plant-Based Diets for Hypertension http://nutritionfacts.org/video/hibiscus-tea-vs-plant-based-diets-for-hypertension/) and ground flax seeds (Flax Seeds for Hypertension http://nutritionfacts.org/video/flax-seeds-for-hypertension/) to your diet. And make sure you’re exercising regularly (Longer Life Within Walking Distance http://nutritionfacts.org/video/longer-life-within-walking-distance/).

Have a question for Dr. Greger about this video? Leave it in the comment section at http://nutritionfacts.org/video/high-blood-pressure-may-be-a-choice and he'll try to answer it!

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46 thoughts on “High Blood Pressure May Be a Choice

  1. ok, but people who live in the rainforest do not have the same stress
    levels, have more exercise I am sure, and don’t drink booze…. a lot of
    variations I think, but I do agree about salt…. and the rice diet…of
    course rice and plant base diet will reduce BP… but its not a sustainable
    diet in today’s society…. balance in all things is key to good health.

    1. +CommonSense
      Not all environmentalists are bastards, but many of those who are into
      not-eating animals, animal right activism and environmentalism are really
      crazy and violent indeed. For instance, PETA, is notorious for violence and
      killing animals. Weird!

    2. +CommonSense
      Actually those who self proclaim as Christians aren’t real Christians.
      Adolf Hitler and Vatican Catholics called themselves “Christians” but they
      were worst than Charles Manson the vegetarian.

  2. Blood pressure lowers a lot from avoiding animal products/oil because the
    arteries clear out. Eating leafy greens opens the arteries due to the
    nitric oxide (nitrates in plants). See Dr. Pam Popper on sodium as well.

    1. +futurevideo10 —— Some people argue that it is the extra iodine that
      the Japanese people get from eating seaweed that gives them good health and
      longevity, and not the fish.

  3. Dr. Greger,

    I have always had low healthy blood pressure but have been eating very low
    salt diet for years. But I am curious how you would explain the Kuna
    indigenous people of Panama whose traditional diet includes an average of
    something like 8000 grams (that’s grams NOT milligrams) of sodium/per day
    and yet have zero high blood pressure?

    Also, though I think Kemper’s research is very compelling indeed, his diet
    did also 1) remove many things from the diets of his patients and 2)
    replace those things with much higher potassium intake.

    So to me, it still seems a bit unproven whether it is high sodium intake,
    low potassium intake, or some other aspect of a crappy diet that causes the
    epidemic high blood pressure we have now.

    I would love any comments you have on this!

    Thank you

    1. +Geoffrey Levens
      Japan and Hong Kong are not among high diabetes rates, their rates are
      below world average rate. Even UK and other neaby nations have lower
      diabetes rates than India and other South Asian nations that have very low
      meat and fish consumption.

      diabetes.co.uk
      UK diabetes prevalence

      Currently, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK is
      estimated to be 3.2 million.
      This represents 6% of the UK population.

      England 6.0%
      Northern Ireland 5.3%
      Scotland 5.2%
      Wales 6.7%

      World diabetes prevalence

      It is estimated that 382 million people are living with diabetes in the
      world, which is estimated to be 8.5% of the world’s population. Further
      still, an estimated 175 million people have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.

      Prevalence of diabetes and ethnicity. Ethnicity has a big role as diabetes
      is five times as likely to develop in Pakistani women, two and a half times
      as likely in Indian women and diabetes is four times more prevalent in
      Bangladeshi and Indian people as a whole.

      Generally speaking diabetes prevalence is often six times higher for people
      of South Asian origin and three times higher for those of African origin.

      The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) currently states that the top 5
      countries with the highest amount of diabetic patients are as follows:

      China
      India
      United States
      Russia
      Brazil

      http://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-prevalence.html

    2. +Geoffrey Levens
      Low sodium intake does NOT improve blood pressure, according to a
      presentation made at the European Society of Cardiology 2013 Congress,
      there is not much improvement in blood pressure resulting from restricting
      sodium intake, which means that recommendations to the general population
      to reduce salt intake are not necessary or helpful.

      Dr. Andrew Mente (McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario), reported that
      in his study of almost 100,000 people, none of the populations studied had
      intake of sodium at or below the 2.3 g per day recommended by most health
      authorities.

      In this study, sodium and potassium intake was measured using urine
      excretion. Intake was between 4,200 and 4,800 mg per day in North America,
      Europe, South Asia, Africa and South America. Sodium intake was over 5,500
      mg per day in China. Only 3.1% of the study subjects were consuming less
      than 2.3 g of sodium per day, and less than 1% of study subjects were
      consuming less than 1.5 g per day.

      The researchers then looked at changes in systolic blood pressure as it
      relates to 1-gram increases in sodium consumption. Response was only
      significant in certain groups–hypertensive patients, elderly and those
      consuming more than 5 g per day.

      References:

      Population-wide sodium guidance “makes no sense” in most countries
      SEPTEMBER 4, 2013 Shelley Wood

      Andrew Mente, Giuseppe Mancia, PURE-Sodium: Heterogeneity in the
      associations of urinary sodium and potassium with blood pressure: The PURE
      sodium study.

  4. If I followed the DASH diet, my BP would be 160/110. They allow 1500 mg of
    sodium per day. I have to go no sodium to have a normal BP. Whatever sodium
    is in my fresh food is what I get in a day. That’s around 500 mg.

    1. +allencrider

      I fear I am in the same boat if I want to really get by BP down.
      What do you eat, and how to you plan your diet … that seems almost
      impossible to do?

    2. +justgivemethetruth No packaged food seems to be the only solution. I
      learned to make my own catsup and things like that. There’s a supermarket,
      Safeway, that sells no-salt bread. Otherwise, I have to do without. I put
      hot sauce on everything and that helps.

    3. +allencrider

      I am just getting seriously started on low-salt, plant-based, etc.
      I will eat a small amount of some kind of meat a few times a week with is
      lowering with every week.
      I find it hard to fill my diet up with the things I should be eating.

      My best effort so far has been to replace breakfast with oatmeal, fresh
      ground flax and hemp seeds, walnuts, and fruit made with hemp milk. That
      takes me almost an hour to eat, but it keeps me full almost the whole day.
      It’s surprisingly good.

      The problem is that I just crave for all the stuff that I usually eat, and
      some that I even gave up such as cookies or ice cream. I just let it slide
      and try to do better in the future.

      Then for dinner I have brown rice with steamed veggies. The thing is I
      cannot just eat that for the rest of my life. I put soy sauce on my rice
      and veggies, so that is a source of salt, but not too much I think.

      I also try to work in fruit and maybe some pasta with tomato sauce and
      veggies … but there is salt in the tomato sauce.

      How did you figure out how to make catsup? Does it taste good? I like
      tomato sauce and tomatoes. So far I’ve made a pretty good turnaround, but I
      have to find a lot more things to eat or I turn to processed stuff.

    4. My dear +justgivemethetruth , soy sauce is loaded with sodium, ditch it,
      water it down, or use in moderation! Like tomato sauce? Try canned crushed
      tomatoes, and season them yourself (garlic, basil, onion powder). You can
      also get a cheap bread machine and make your own delicious low-salt or
      salt-free bread. At dinner, try mixing different kinds of beans with your
      cooked veggies, they’ll fill you up. Finally, learn to love the fruits and
      veggies, it will save your life. Once you make a habit of filling your diet
      with a variety of them (variety is the key), you will enjoy their flavors
      more than craving salt and sugar. Best of luck to you, I’ve knocked down my
      borderline hypertension considerably by going plant-based, and I feel like
      a new person. I want you to make it there, too.

    5. +Snowball Hat

      I don’t put salt on anything, well maybe once a month … I’ve never been a
      big salt eater. I have to doubt I ever have a problem with salt, but I am
      ready and willing to do what I can to reduce it to see it is affecting me.

      The soy sauce I used has 700mg of sodium per tablespoon … that is not so
      much. I would never use close to a tablespoon of soy sauce on my food, and
      that is maybe half of the recommendation to keep sodium under 1500
      milligrams … so I don’t think a little soy sauce is going to kill anyone
      … at least I hope, and it is only when I eat cooked rice and steamed
      veggies.

  5. The rice diet still didn’t prove that it was the low salt that lowered the
    BP, it could’ve been the plant-based diet that was the main factor. I think
    salt does play a role in high BP, but I don’t think it’s as important as
    switching to a whole foods plant-based diet. I would’ve been curious to see
    the results of adding a little salt to the Yanomami’s diet and then see if
    their blood pressure increases drastically.

    I used to have high blood pressure (around 145/100) and when I went vegan
    it dropped to around 120/80. However I was a junk food vegan at first and
    was consuming around 3-4 grams of sodium per day. But my BP *still*
    dropped. Now I don’t eat the vegan junk food and eat healthier with whole
    plant foods and only 1.5-2 grams of sodium and my BP only dropped a little
    (now it’s around 110/70).

    Dr. John McDougall also says a little bit of salt won’t hurt, and that
    switching to a whole foods plant-based diet is the biggest factor for
    lowering BP. I think 1500mg of sodium per day is ideal, and maybe a little
    more if you’re active and sweat a lot but 2000mg being the upper limit.

    On a side note, a good way to tell if you’re getting too much sodium in
    your diet is go for a hard workout and taste your sweat afterwards. If it
    tastes salty then you’re eating too much salt.

    1. +The Fruitman

      Good points … I read the articles about blood pressure, and I don’t see
      where they even understand what causes it or how it works. It makes sense
      that salt is a factor, but who knows what the salt intake is supposed to be?

      If you have high blood pressure or arterial disease, it makes sense that
      salt might aggravate that, but to cut down on the problem it would also
      make sense in the long run to eat less meat and processed foods, and then
      the range or salt would probably not has as bad an effect.

    2. +The Fruitman I am currently following the rice diet. It works when I
      follow it precisely. Whenever I have veered of course and started to add
      salt, my blood pressure has risen accordingly. I have been following the
      diet for a year. It’s really not a diet. It’s a lifestyle change. The
      salt is the factor that influences the blood pressure I can say from my own
      personal experience.

    3. +Faith Williams Oh ok, interesting. I know salt plays a role in high blood
      pressure, I just think cutting the meat and dairy plays a bigger role. When
      you did add salt to your diet how much was it?

    4. +The Fruitman It depends. Like with any “diet”, I haven’t always followed
      it precisely. The times I added salt to my food and/or ate processed food
      (which all contain salt) the higher my blood pressure rose. With the rice
      diet, you aren’t to add ANY salt to your food. Sodium intake is limited to
      only what occurs naturally in whole foods. No processed foods are
      allowable other than bread.

    1. +Jared Fontaine Great, Would you like to volunteer to be one of the people
      “eliminated” as a part of that surplus population reduction?

    1. +cruciferousvegetable Try a salt substitute like NuSalt which tastes like
      salt but is potassium based rather than sodium based. Has zero sodium.

    2. +Benjamin Foster I do have it in the cupboard. It works for a while, then
      you start craving. However it does reset your salt cravings at a lower
      level. It does work.

  6. I’ve been on a plant based diet for 3 months now with low to no sodium and
    fat. I started with really high blood pressure, not overweight and very
    active exercising daily. I stopped taking my blood pressure medicine when I
    started my change in lifestyle l, however my blood pressure is still high.
    I have some issues with stress management but I would think that my blood
    pressure would have dropped by now, this issue is scaring me and i am
    almost ready to go back on my Meds last BP measurement was 150/95… Need
    some advice… What do I do now? Any tips to lower BP? Thx

  7. I don’t think high BP is entirely caused by diet. I’ve seen a few vegans
    now that have high BP and they eat a low fat, whole foods diet. There were
    other studies down on how high fruit or high amounts of fructose intake
    effecting the BP. I’m not entirely convinced that salt and fat is the sole
    cause of high BP especially when healthy vegans have issues with it. I did
    for some time and honestly, I cut back on fruit and sugar and HUGE amounts
    of carbs (not on a low carb diet at all) and I’ve also incorporated healthy
    fats (whole food fats). My BP has been normal as of late. Also, stress.
    That’s a huge one. These super low fat diets are bogus in my opinion.
    Unless you have a heart condition, lowering your fat so much can mess you
    up! I get people who eat a standard american diet can lower their BP by
    simply switching to a whole foods plant based diet but…this whole
    80/10/10 stuff is getting a little out of control. I’d like to see the
    studies done on how keeping fat down too low can effect your hormones and
    thyroid. Nobody seems to talk about that very much. Yet, time and time
    again, people give up a vegan diet because they have thyroid issues. Wonder
    why… *sarcasm*.

  8. Dr. Greger is an expert about animal foods and plant foods and has over 100
    videos on them. In this video he says that salt is the sole cause of high
    blood pressure. Maybe this will help. Wild animals do not eat salt and do
    not get high blood pressure. That is correlation and can come from hundreds
    of things. Here is a causation study. They gave wild animals (rats &
    monkeys) salt. They got high blood pressure. The more salt they gave them,
    the higher the blood pressure. Salt is not a food and is as addictive as
    heroin. See http://hub.me/ajMJb for the details of this information. About
    the question below. Many things can prevent hypertension, for example
    walking 20 miles a day.

  9. Is Hybetez Remedy helpful to cure your
    hypertension safely? We’ve learn a lot of good things about this Hybetez
    Remedy (just google search it).

  10. I used to argue against Greger on this issue on his webpage for comments. I
    quoted some opposite studies, and quoted Dr. Browning an advocate of
    Himalayan salt. But, now that I have watch this video about 3 times. I have
    been persuaded by Dr. Greger’s arguments that avoiding salt is something I
    should do. I look at this way, if Gorillas whose DNA is very close to ours
    are able to live a healthy life without sea salt, or Himalayan salt, then
    so can I. I am also thinking that if Gorillas can live a healthy life
    without vitamin supplements, powders, smoothies, and juicers…..then so
    can I.

    1. +johnny102marvin your metabolism and constitution isnt that of a gorilla.
      We have evolved differently. Common sense. Try eating what gorillas eat and
      see what happens to you. Common sense.

  11. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/its-time-to-end-the-war-on-salt/
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2752096/Salt-DOESN-T-cause-high-blood-pressure-new-study-claims.html
    http://chriskresser.com/specialreports/salt/ enough references in the above
    articles to blow this vegan fanatics claims. He cherry picks his data and
    gives outdated research and references. And his condescending “i-am-
    a-superior-being” way of talking makes one want to club his bald pate with
    something heavy and blunt

  12. Right, good bye salt my friend, we can no longer continue this
    relationship, this thing we had was great but it’s time we both moved on
    with our lives…

  13. since I started eating salt a lot my symptons of orthostatic hypotension
    have vanished. My blood pressure has now risen to a normal level. Only bad
    thing is that I need explain myself when adding salt to my diet.

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