Six to seven out of every ten people in America have a blood pressure problem. Three of these people have high blood pressure (i.e. hypertension), while another three to four people have a condition known as pre-hypertension. [1-3]
High blood pressure is serious business. It’s a condition known to cause many problems, some of which can be severe and irreversible. Hypertension can weaken artery walls, make the heart work harder over time leading to heart failure, and can even cause strokes. The latter is of greatest concern because stroke can lead to permanent disability or even death. Needless to say, if you have high blood pressure, you need to take this as a giant red flag showing up in your life insisting that you do something about it.
While we Americans are quick to reach for a pill to fix all of our healthcare problems (including hypertension), the best way to beat high blood pressure is at its core—our diet! That’s correct. High blood pressure is a dietary disease, not a genetic disease, and it’s best dealt with by changing our grocery list.
In fact, the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology even stated this back in 2003 in their article on preventing hypertension, “Hypertension, like most cardiovascular conditions, is a nutritional-hygienic disease. The seeds of hypertension are rooted in physical inactivity, obesity, high caloric intake, and excessive dietary sodium intake as well as alcohol consumption. Genetic susceptibility to hypertension remains ill-defined.” 
By focusing on our diet we can effectively treat, and even reverse, cases of high blood pressure. Some very accomplished physicians have done just that. The works of John McDougall, MD and Alan Goldhamer, DC have already shown that a dietary approach is best for eradicating high blood pressure. Both physicians used a wholes foods, plant-based diet devoid of meat, dairy, eggs, and oil to accomplish this. These doctors used nature’s best medicine in the form of plant foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains) to reverse high blood pressure in their patients. And they did this without any additional side effects.
So, if you have high blood pressure, and you’re looking to tackle this disease without prescription medications, then a change in diet just may be your ticket to making this happen. You have nothing to lose by taking this approach, other than a few extra pounds you’ve probably already been looking to lose anyway. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to take the plunge and adopt the best that nature has to offer—a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle. Your body will thank you in the end.
To learn more about hypertension, including a detailed synopsis on studies looking at both dietary and conventional medicine’s approach to this condition, read my article titled, Hypertension – Overview and Treatment Options.
Dustin Rudolph, PharmD
1 Nwankwo T, Yoon SS, Burt V, Gu Q. Hypertension among adults in the United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survery, 2011-2012. NCHS Data Brief. 2013 Oct;(133):1-8.
2 Qureshi AI, Suri MFK, Kirmani JF, Divani AA. Prevalence and trends of prehypertension and hypertension in United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Surverys 1976 to 2000. Med Sci Monit. 2005;11(9):CR403-409.
3 Gupta AK, McGlone M, Greenway FL, Johnson WD. Prehypertension in disease-free adults: a marker for adverse cariometabolic risk profile. Hypertens Res. 2010 Sep;33(9):905-10.
4 Flack JM, Peters R, Shafi T, et al. Prevention of hypertension and its complications: theoretical basis and guidelines for treatment. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2003 Jul;14(7 Suppl 2):S92-8.