High Blood Pressure May Be a Choice

High Blood Pressure May Be a Choice


High Blood Pressure
May Be a Choice” For the first 90% of our evolution,
we ate diets containing less than a quarter
teaspoon of salt a day, because for the first 90%
of our evolution we ate mostly plants. We went millions of years
without salt shakers, and so our bodies evolved into
salt conserving machines, which served us well until
we discovered salt could be used to
preserve foods. Without refrigeration,
this was a big boon to human civilization. Of course this may have led to a
general rise in blood pressure, but who cares if the alternative
is starving to death since all your food
rotted away. But where does that
leave us now, when we no longer have to live
off of pickles and jerky? We are genetically
programmed to eat ten times less salt
than we do now. Even many low salt diets can
be considered high salt diets. That’s why it’s critical
to understand what the concept of “normal” is
when it comes to salt. Having a “normal” salt intake can
lead to a “normal” blood pressure, which can help us to die from
all the “normal” causes, like heart attacks
and strokes. Doctors used to be taught that
a “normal” systolic blood pressure is approximately
100 plus age. “Systolic” blood pressure
means the top number, and indeed that’s about
what we’re born with. Babies start out with a blood
pressure around like 95 over 60, but then as we age that 95
can go to 120 by our 20’s then 140 in our 40’s (the official
cut-off for high blood pressure), and keep climbing
as we age. That was considered normal,
since everyone’s blood pressure creeps up as
we get older. And if that’s normal then heart
attacks and strokes are normal too since risk
starts rising once we start getting above
the 100 we had as a baby. But if blood pressures over a
100 are associated with disease, maybe they should be
considered abnormal, perhaps caused by our
abnormally high salt intake— ten times more than what our
bodies were designed to handle. Maybe if we just ate a
natural amount of salt, our blood pressures naturally
would not go up with age, and we’d be
protected. Of course to test that theory
you’d have to find a population in modern times that
doesn’t use salt or eat processed food
or go out to eat. For that you’d have to go deep
into the Amazon rainforest. Meet the Yanomamo people,
a no-salt culture. Lowest salt intake
ever reported, which is to say normal-for-
our-species salt intake. And so what happens to
their blood pressure? They start out with a blood
pressure of about 100 over 60 and end up with a blood pressure
of about 100 over 60. Though theirs is described
as a salt deficient diet, that’s like saying they have a
diet deficient in Twinkies. They’re the ones, it seems,
eating normal salt intakes apparently leading to truly
normal blood pressures. Those in their 50’s have the
blood pressure of a 20 year old. The percentage
of the population tested that had high
blood pressure? Zero. Whereas elsewhere
in Brazil, up to 38% of the population
may be affected. The Yanomamos probably represent
the ultimate human example of the importance of
salt on blood pressure. But look it could have
been other factors: they didn’t drink alcohol,
ate a high-fiber, plant-based diet,
lots of exercise, no obesity. There’s a number of plant-based
populations eating little salt that experience no rise in
blood pressure as they age, so how do we know what
exactly is to blame? Ideally we’d do an
interventional trial. Imagine, if you took people
literally dying from out of control high
blood pressure, so called malignant
hypertension where you go blind from
bleeding into your eyes, your kidneys shut down,
your heart fails, and then you withhold from those people
blood pressure medications so their fate is
certain death, and THEN you put them on a Yanomamo
level of salt intake, a normal-for-the-human-
species salt intake, and if instead of dying,
they walked away cured of their
hypertension, that would pretty
much seal the deal. Enter, Dr. Walter Kempner
and his rice and fruit diet. Patients came in
with blood pressures of 210 over 140 dropping down
to 80 over 60. Now, the reason he
could ethically withhold all modern blood pressure medications
and treat with diet alone? The drugs hadn’t
been invented yet— this was back
in the 1940’s. Now, the diet wasn’t just
extremely low salt, but strictly plant-based, extremely
low fat, protein, and calories. But there is no doubt that Kempner’s
rice diet achieved remarkable results and Kempner is now
remembered as the person who demonstrated beyond
any shadow of a doubt that high blood pressure
can often be lowered by a low enough
salt diet. Forty years ago
it was acknowledged that the evidence is very
good if not conclusive that a low enough reduction
of salt in the diet would result in the prevention
of essential hypertension— that rising of blood
pressure as we age— and its disappearance as a
major public health problem. It looks like we knew how to
stop this four decades ago. In that time, how many
people have died? Today, high blood
pressure may wipe out 400,000 Americans
every year. 1,000 unnecessary
deaths every day.

78 Comments

  1. I've read something couple years ago and stopped using salt, also I use chronometer and all minerals are always over 100% but sodium just couple percent, later I've read that not enough salt may be worse than too much, so I started adding little over teaspoon of himalayan salt to my rice. (Recently I've learned about iodine so I plan to purchase Swanson Kelp 225 mcg (it's the cheapest iodine supplement I can find)) Anyway, this video made me think that I don't need to bother adding the salt to rice and not care about sodium not being 100% in cronometer?

  2. Lol, a lot of your nutrition videos are so out-dated, almost no nutritional expert now-a-days blames salt for hyper-tension, except for the salt sensitivity folks who are a minority, and assuming you balance it out with potassium.

  3. "The assumption that lower salt intake would in the long run lower blood pressure, to our knowledge, has not yet been confirmed in longitudinal population-based studies."
    http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=899663

  4. Let's see, you change all the variables, then you say – "the salt did it"??  What kind of Science is that?  Fake.   The obvious thing to do is give some Yanomami some salt shakers and see what happens (assuming you can keep them in the jungle doing what they always have done).  Probably nothing.  Some of the longest living peoples on earth gobble salt like it was candy.  It is the diet, not the salt level that keeps the arteries clean.  It is the clogged arteries loaded with calcium so they lose their elasticity. obesity and lack of exercise that does most people in.  Don't let industry feed you and get off the meat and dairy.  Non-foods like GMO soy products that are really destructive.  This is what the research is showing.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. I have also heard the opposite that low sodium diets are linked to increased mortality. Plus, I bet these amazon savages are hunters.

  9. 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.

  10. OK, does it necessarily follow that because we evolved in a scarcity of salt and got much less of it in the distant past than we do today that our bodies "WERE DESIGNED TO HANDLE" just that amount?  I know that might seem like a picky point, but I find most of these videos insert little almost subliminal arguments like that to create a mental framing of the problem.

    Does that mean our bodies are only designed to handle so much water because the human environment 100K years ago did not have a lot of fresh water … maybe salt is the issue or maybe it is not.  There is so much more we insult out bodies with today other than salt.

  11. Can a perversion of the legacy of Kempner by industry-abetted propagandists, akin to what has happened to poor Ancel Keyes's legacy since his death, be far behind?  I sure hope not.  Thanks for posting this.

  12. Also check out Dr. Eric Berg's latest testimony video of an old man with hypertension who lowered it extremely by just supplementing with Vitamin D3 and K2, both are extremely important for proper Calcium transportation etc. <
    Guys, the solutions are here and available to almost everybody on this planet. Doesn't it feel great to just know? Let's try to share all of that precious information.

  13. The Yanomami people also are up and moving around working hunting all day.  They get lots of exercise as well.  I imagine they don't eat any processed food, and I wonder how much meat they get too?  To make this all about salt, or put it into only one dimension seems a bit unfounded

  14. People of the amazon also get plenty of vitamin D from sunlight which does a whole host of things including lowering blood pressure.

  15. believe it or not I lowered my blood pressure by raising salt intake up to 20 grams a day. it worked for me but didn't work for my friend.

  16. EHEHAHEHEAHAHAH YOU STUPID AMERICANS ARE SO FUNNY.  JUST EATING YOURSELVES TO CHRONIC DISEASES LOLOLOLOL.  IM AN SUPERIOR PLANT EATING HUMAN BEING LOOLOLOL.  YES, CONTINUE EATING ANIMALS AND PROCESSED FOODS YOU STUPID AMERICANS AAAAAAHAAAHAHAHEHEHOEHOAHOEHOAHAHOEHOAHA!!!!!!!

  17. Thanks for posting this.  I am currently following the rice diet and I have seen for myself the power of a plant-based low sodium diet on my own blood pressure–nothing short of amazing. It is really criminal that this information is not widely available to the general public. Thanks for posting.

  18. My life happens to mirror that of the Yanomamos exactly other than I eat 5 grams of salt per day for some reason. My name is Control Group. Why wasn't I told about that study?

  19. On the whole these are short lived people. Their genetic mix may also be atypical. An extremely low salt diet messes with your ability to control blood sugar levels. You want to lower your blood pressure? Take down you weight. That's a duh!

  20. Yes, congratulations – 100,000 subs. Watched it happen. You are an inspiration and a beacon of light in murky waters.

  21. agree with doctor that less salt is good for BP.  now for salt consumers, my 10 cents on the subject.  Salt is not just salt nowadays.  there is processed (usually iodized) salt, sea salt, rock salt.  processed salt is the most convenient but the most toxic and to be avoided.  Don't be fooled by the iodine.  iodine should be preferably got from whole foods.  too much and too little iodine can both adversely affect you.  if you must use salt preferably use sea salt or rock salt.  these have 82 elements besides Na Cl.

    of course, remember not to use ANY salt in excess

  22. I think is not salt but the type of salt. Table salt contain no minerals, thus the harm. The human body should be able to remove anything excessive. Thus high blood pressure is an indicator not a problem.

  23. 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

  24. Recently many elderly friends have been hospitalized for hyponatraemia – but uncertain about all of their prior BP and medication. At least one was medication-free.

  25. 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.

  26. Thank zou so much for the great work! Also, in another movie bz Dr. Greger he sazs that Olive oil nad sunflower oil could paralzye the blood vessels for some hours. Knowing that, adding plants and excluding animal fats and salt we can cure from that disease.

  27. As specialist, I do believe Hybetez Remedy is actually good way to cures your hypertension naturally. Why don't you give it a chance? maybe it can work for you too.

  28. 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.

  29. Is Hybetez Remedy helpful to cure your
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  30. 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.

  31. 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

  32. 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…

  33. 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.

  34. As expert, I think Hybetez Remedy can be good way to cures your cholesterol naturally. Why not give it a shot? maybe it'll work for you too.

  35. Cutting salt intake is as easy as not eating overly processed foods and processed foods. I have greatly reduced my sodium intake but eating whole plant based foods.

  36. It seems that all salt intake recommendations need to be taken with a grain of salt, an individualised grain.

    We ate a low salt diet in my family because my father had hypertension. We also ate few processed foods. (I have eaten few processed foods most my life.) At 61 my blood pressure is typically 80 something over 50 something, as it has been throughout my life.

    However, I am not well and have not been well most of my life. In my 50s I developed salt wasting and had to begin consuming more salt than the average person ought to consume (about 1.25 to 1.5 teaspoons a day) just to be able to stay upright. My blood pressure did not increase as a result of the increased salt. It's likely I needed more salt throughout my life given my symptoms, and I sometimes wonder if I'd have been healthier had I realised that low normal lab readings of sodium indicated a problem for me. (Keeping my lab readings in the mid range helps me feel a lot better.)

    On average low salt might very well be good for most people, but it's not going to be good for everyone.

  37. Nice video. You may also want to checkout the review of High blood pressure on my blog at garyreviews. com/high-blood-pressure-review/ Thanks. Drew.

  38. As specialist, I'm sure Hybetez Remedy is actually great way to cures your diabetes safely. Why don't you give it a chance? perhaps it can work for you too.

  39. I understand that salt intake raises blood pressure in the following way:  it makes your body hold on to extra fluid.  When there is extra fluid coursing through your vessels, it naturally makes the pressure on your vessels increase.  Your vessels compensate for this by literally growing muscles and tightening so that they can withstand the higher pressure.  The tightening of the vessels with more smooth muscle naturally reduces the open space inside the vessels and makes the fluid push even harder against the vessel walls, which cause them to in turn develop even more smooth muscle, and so on.   This creates a downward spiral in which eventually after many years the force against the vessels gets so strong that they'll burst and cause a hemorrhagic stroke (or some other sort of rupture).  Correct me if I'm wrong, this is my understanding of chronic long term danger of eating too much salt.
    A concern I have is something I can't find information on.  What about SHORT TERM danger of eating huge amounts of sodium you're not used to?  If you regularly eat 3000 mg of sodium every single day, your kidneys acclimate and start to regularly excrete all that unnecessary sodium out of your body daily, so that the water retention phenomenon daily isn't that extreme.  But what if you're someone like me, who eats virtually no actual salt?  I track food on Cronometer and I get usually 200-300 milligrams of sodium a day.  If my body is used to 300 milligrams a day, and then all of a sudden I have 8 slices of a Tombstone frozen pizza (5,200 milligrams of sodium at once), isn't the immediate water retention phenomenon going to be way worse for me than it is for the average Joe eating 4,000 milligrams every day?  This "average Joe" has kidneys that have acclimated to his high intake and excrete all of that out every day.  My kidneys don't do that because they're used to only a few hundred a day. Isn't my immediate danger significantly worse than this "average Joe"?  If the variation (between milligrams you're kidneys are acclimated to excrete out and milligrams I sit and eat at one time) is large enough, is there any danger of rupture happening immediately from just one extremely salty meal?
    In other words, is it dangerous for someone like me to go out once a month to a restaurant and gorge on a delicious salty meal* and consume 6,000 milligrams at once even though my kidneys are used to just 200-300 a day?  Should I be worried about any vessel ruptures?
    *this theoretical delicious salty meal would still be a vegan meal

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  42. This blood pressure solution “Zοtοsο yuku” (G00GLE it) really works. Other products I`ve attempted only lessened the blood pressure for the moment. I am happy I found this since it does work. My blood pressure level has been persistently running at about 145/90. Under normal conditions, my Blood pressure is now 120/70.

  43. Are you seriously standing there and suggesting if we ate no salt we'd all have a baby's blood-pressure? And that would be a good thing? Sure sure, there's ansolutely nothing else that separates us from babies except salt comsumption. How did I not notice before? 😂😂 This is some garbage, wow! If the smug tone alone wasn't emough…

  44. Is there a need to eat salt when exercising vigorously? Say, running an hour or more per day? I have read that many athletes eat salt to replenish the sodium lost through sweat. Is this necessary?

  45. Help me understand an aspect of Kempner's rice diet. I thought that:
    Rice was very high on glycemic index
    Therefore, almost like eating pure sugar, and that
    Sugar intake had strong parallels with hypertension and heart disease

    What am I missing? I'm not hypoglycemic, but if I eat a bunch of rice, a food coma follows in 20 minutes…?

  46. I was on blood pressure meds. I switched to a vegan diet and lost 3 stone making me a normal weight. I stopped taking meds as l thought my blood pressure would be normal, and it was for three months then my pressure was taken 4 weeks ago and from 140/80 it had risen to 180/100 which is stroke territory. So l went back on the meds and my pressure is now 130/70. So why was it normal for a while then went up to dangerous levels. I don’t drink, smoke and am vegan. I make all my own food and am careful about salt intake. Wish someone out there had an answer. I take anti histamine year round which can affect the blood pressure. The meds sometimes make the blood supply too low. My hands get very painful in coltish weather and l can feel a bit faint when rising. These symptoms disappeared when l was off the meds. There is a,ways a price to be paid!

  47. They're called the Yanomami. And they do eat fish and meat:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yanomami

    I do agree too much salt is not good.

  48. This guy dont know jack about sodium and the body's handling of it ! Lowered salt intake active RAAS activation ! The kidney have a much easier time getting rid of salt than trying to contain it during low intake !

  49. as a vegan over 17 years…My last blood pressure reading was 109/67….hummm maybe I should completely let go of salt also, I do like salt on my potatoes a little too much …lol

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