Hibiscus Tea vs. Plant-Based Diets for Hypertension

Hibiscus Tea vs. Plant-Based Diets for Hypertension

“Hibiscus Tea vs. Plant-Based Diets
for Hypertension ” The latest research pitted
hibiscus against obesity, giving hibiscus to overweight individuals,
and showed reduced body weight, but after 12 weeks on hibiscus
they only lost like 3 pounds, and really only one and
a half pounds over placebo— clearly no magic fix. The purported cholesterol-lowering
property of hibiscus tea had looked a bit
more promising. Some older studies suggested
as much as an 8% reduction drinking two cups
a day for a month, but when all the studies are put together
the results were pretty much a wash. This may be because only about
50% of people respond at all to drinking the equivalent of
between 2 to 5 cups a day, though those that do respond may get a
respectable 12 or so percent drop in cholesterol, but nothing like the
30% drop one can get within weeks of eating a
healthy enough plant-based diet. High blood pressure is where
hibiscus may really shine, a disease affecting a billion
people, killing millions. Up until 2010, there wasn’t sufficient
high quality research out there to support the use of
hibiscus tea to treat it, but there are now randomized double-blind,
placebo-controlled studies where hibiscus tea is compared to
artificially colored and flavored water that looks and tastes like hibiscus tea,
and the tea did significantly better. We’re still not
sure why it works, but hibiscus does appear to
boost nitric oxide production, which could help our arteries
relax and dilate better. Regardless, an updated review acknowledged
that the daily consumption of hibiscus tea may indeed significantly lower blood
pressures in people with hypertension, but by how much? How does this drop in blood pressure
compare to other interventions? Well, the premier clinical trial when
it comes to comprehensive lifestyle modification for blood pressure control is
the Premier Clinical Trial. Realizing that 9 out of 10 Americans
are going to develop hypertension, they randomized 800 men and women with
high blood pressure into one of three groups. One was the control group,
the so-called advice only group, where patients were just told
to lose weight, cut down on salt, increase exercise and eat healthier…
here’s a brochure. In the two behavioral intervention
groups they got serious. 18 face-to-face sessions,
groups meetings, food diaries, monitored physical activity,
calorie and sodium intake. Now, one intervention group
just concentrated on exercise and the other one included
exercise and diet. They pushed the DASH diet,
high in fruits, and vegetables, and low in full-fat
dairy products and meat. And in six months achieved a 4.3 point
drop in systolic blood pressure, compared to the control, slightly better than
the lifestyle intervention without the diet. Now, a few points might
not sound like a lot— that’s like someone going from a blood pressure
of 150 over 90 to a blood pressure of 146 over 90— but on a population scale a 5 point
drop in the total number could result in a 14% fewer stroke deaths,
9% fewer fatal heart attacks, and 7% fewer deaths every year overall. But a cup of hibiscus tea with each meal didn’t
just lower blood pressure by 3, 4 or 5 points but by 7 points, 129 down to 122. And in fact tested head-to-head against a
leading blood-pressure drug, called Captopril, two cups of strong
hibiscus tea every morning, using a total of 5 tea bags
for those 2 cups, was as effective in
lowering blood pressure as a starting dose of 25 mg of
Captopril taken twice a day. So as good as drugs,
without the drug side-effects, and better than
diet and exercise? Well, the lifestyle interventions
were pretty whimpy. As public health experts noted,
the Premier study was only asking for 30 minutes
of exercise a day, whereas the World Health Organization
is more like an hour a day minimum.
And diet-wise, the lower
the animal fat intake, and the more plant sources of protein
the Premier participants were eating, the better the diet
appeared to work, which may explain why vegetarian diets
appear to work even better, and the more plant-based the lower
the prevalence of hypertension. On the DASH diet, they were
told to cut down on meat, but were still eating
meat every day, so would qualify as the non-vegetarians
here in the Adventist 2 study, which looked at
89,000 Californians and found that those who instead only
ate meat on more like a weekly basis had 23% lower rates
of high blood pressure. Cut out all meat except fish
and the rate is 38% lower. Cut out all meat period—the vegetarians
have less than half the rate and the vegans—cutting out
all animal protein and fat— appeared to have thrown three quarters of their
risk of this major killer out the window. One sees the same kind of step-wise
drop in diabetes rates as one’s diet gets more and more plant-based
and a drop in excess body weight such that only those eating completely
plant-based diets fell into the ideal weight category. But could that be why those eating
plant-based have such great blood pressure? Maybe it’s just because they’re
so skinny on average. I’ve shown previously how those
eating plant based diets have just a fraction of the diabetes
risk even at the same weight, even after controlling for BMI. But what about hypertension? The average American has
what’s called prehypertension, which means the top number of your blood
pressure is between 120 and 139. Not yet hypertension,
which starts at 140, but it means we may
be well on our way. Compare that to the blood pressure of those
eating whole food plant-based diets. Not 3 points lower, 4 points lower, or even
7 points lower, but 28 points lower. Now, but the group here eating the
standard American diet was, on average, overweight with a BMI over 26,
still better than most Americans, but while the vegans were a trim 21
over here—that’s 36 pounds lighter. So maybe the only reason those eating meat,
eggs, dairy, and processed junk had such higher blood pressure
was because they were overweight, maybe the diet per se
had nothing to do with it. To solve that riddle we
would have to find a group still eating the standard American diet
but as slim as a vegan. To find a group that fit and trim, they
had to use long-distance endurance athletes, who ate the same
crappy American diet — but ran an average of 48 miles
a week for 21 years. They ran almost two marathons
a week for 20 years. So, if you do that, you know, anyone can be
slim as a vegan—no matter what they eat. So where did they
fall on this graph? Both the vegans and the conventional
diet group were sedentary— less than an hour
of exercise a week. The endurance runners were here. So it appears if you run about
a thousand miles every year you can start to rival
some couch potato vegans. Doesn’t mean you can’t do both,
but it may be easier to just eat plants.


  1. What are the other health problems associated with not getting the vitamins normally gotten from animal products, such as B12, D, and K2?

  2. I sure appreciate the longer videos dr. greger, which gives me so many more points to bring up when discussing this with the many people I am trying to influence!  It really helps us when you do so much work researching the many complex related ideas which put the puzzle together better for us.  The Just Eat More Plants foundational concept keeps surfacing while others get bogged down with various animal vs. plant arguments.

  3. I take 5,000 iu of Vit D-3 and get a Vit B-12 shot every few months or so. In the meantime I take Niacin B3.  Having enough niacin is important for overall good health. As a treatment, higher amounts of niacin can improve cholesterol levels and lower it. I got that info on a search. You can also search what foods have B's in it. The D-3 is the most important for everybody. I would have to lay in the sun all day to get enough that I need My Doctor said. I do take a walk if my foot doesn't bother me, So I also do weights, stretching, pilates, and whatever else I can. 

  4. How effective is hibiscus tea for lowering high blood pressure?

    Watch below or click the link to watch on NutritionFacts.org: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/hibiscus-tea-vs-plant-based-diets-for-hypertension/

  5. Saril (Hibiscus tea) is so delicious! And it makes a great substitute for wine! So- have a plant based lunch or dinner, then have some delicious, strong, tart hibiscus tea (boiled with ginger slices and orange peel, then lightly sweetened with apple juice) . It's really good!

  6. Doc, you really need to clarify whether the hibiscus in these studies is the hibiscus flower associated with tropical islands, or the plant that's called "sorrel" in the Caribbean, roselle in Australia, bissap in some West African countries, etc. They are very different, and there is some confusion concerning this. If you look up hibiscus sabdariffa, it is sorrel/roselle, not the pretty hibiscus flower seen on the boxes of hibiscus tea on supermarket shelves. Please, please research and clarify.

  7. There's an all natural therapy can help you stop hypertension for good, without having to use any unwanted side effects from drugs even if you've been taking drugs for years.

  8. For people who have metabolic syndrome, plant based diets are not the blessing you think for insulin and insulin resistance. Not every diet is ideal for everyone. Clearly low carbs help those who are already insulin resistant but this propensity may be inherited or at least the tendency to.

  9. Guys. cure your cholesterol safely doesn't need to be hard (I used to think it did). I'm going to give you some advice right now. Get a popular diabetes home remedy called Hybetez Remedy (just search it on google). Thanks to it I've eliminated my pain & embarrassment for good with healthy approaches. I shouldn't even be speaking about it cause I do not want a bunch of other guys out thererunning the same game but whatever. I am just simply in a great mood today so I'll share the wealth lol.

  10. Anyone know what is Hybetez Remedy about? I hear a lot of people cures their diabetes naturally with Hybetez Remedy (do a google search).

  11. Is Hybetez Remedy effective to cures your diabetes naturally? I've read numerous good stuff about this Hybetez Remedy (search on google).

  12. As specialist, I do think Hybetez Remedy is great way to cure your diabetes naturally. Why not give it a chance? perhaps it's going to work for you too.

  13. After watching loads and loads of these posts by Dr Michael Greger there is one thing I find which amazes me. Why don't more people press the like button?????

  14. Does Hybetez Remedy (just google it) help me treat my high blood pressure issue inherently ? I notice a lot of people keep on talking about this high blood pressure secret remedy.

  15. Very true. I had hypertension 140/90, went vegan and now 108/63 after a year. No one can believe diet is the only change. My dad died of a heart attack at 40 so I need to be careful.

  16. @4:41-table shows ppl with differing BMI and categorizes the highest BMI v.Lowest for Vegans. There are vegans with BMI like the meateater-this is skewed in favor of vegans you need to compare same BMI's to make it fair. BMI may also be a huge indicator regardless of diet. Even when you used long distance runners that was not a fair comparison. There are plenty of junk food eating vegans that eat processed vegan foods and have higher BMI's. So I am not sure that these studies are convincing me that it is due to the diet alone. Although, vegan diets where they have high BMI the tendency is to have more good fats than bad fats.

  17. I do cardio exercise in the morning and then have a strong hibiscus tea (including eating the flowers that remain) right after. Works great.

  18. My BP went from 130/87 to 114/74 in 2 months of cutting out animal products and not eating fatty or processed foods and sugared drinks including juices. I also lost 15 lbs.

    I ate mostly potatoes rice beans fruits and vegetables. Little bit of nuts and guacamole for plant fats to help with absorption of fat soluble vitamins.

    I feel much better and I look significantly skinnier. Went from 36 waist to 34. Clothes don’t feel so tight anymore. NO EXERCISING. Imagine if I had been exercising!

    Plant based diet works people. Meat/Dairy tastes good but it’s bad for you in the quantities our society currently eats. Avoid it as much as you can and make yourself sexy.

  19. These videos are a helpful reinforcement. It's a continual challenge to learn and practice a healthy veganism if you aren't raised with it. The "life hack" approach is not sustainable. At some point the choice is between nourishing and energizing the body and spirit vs. coping with the consequences of using food as a stimulation and entertainment. Either way, If you don't fill your life with more than food, what is the reward for living longer?

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