Updated: 2021, May 9

Diet, Not Drugs, Is the Key to Eliminating High Blood Pressure

Your diet - what you eat and drink - has a real effect on your heart and blood pressure.

Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure, is rampant in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that one-third of adults in the U.S. suffer from hypertension.[1]and in adults aged 65 or older, this number climbs to over 60 percent.[2]

Diet, Not Drugs, Is the Key to Eliminating High Blood Pressure
By making nutritional and lifestyle changes, you can control your blood pressure. Shutterstock Images

But here’s some information that may raise your blood pressure: Diuretics, beta-blockers, and calcium channel blockers, drugs commonly prescribed to treat hypertension, can increase your risk of developing breast cancer or diabetes.[3-10] However, there is good news: making key nutritional and lifestyle changes is a safe, risk-free and highly effective path to recovery.

Blood Pressure by the Numbers

Let’s start with a working definition of your blood pressure measurement. Your reading consists of two numbers – let’s use 120/70 as an example. The first (higher) number represents systolic pressure – the force that your blood exerts against your artery walls when the heart contracts. The second (lower) number represents diastolic pressure – the force that your blood exerts against your artery walls when the heart relaxes.

You should aim to achieve a systolic blood pressure under 125 using nutritional excellence rather than through medication. That’s because, in addition to the other side effects I have mentioned, drugs used to lower systolic pressure can lower the diastolic pressure excessively, which can lead to falls and increase risk of heart attack, especially in those older than 65.[11-13]

The “Silent Killer”

Human Kidney Failure

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can damage your blood vessels, heart and kidneys. Shutterstock Images

The danger of having high blood pressure is that it causes almost no symptoms even as it damages your arteries, heart and kidneys. That’s why it is often referred to as the “silent killer.” In some cases, very high blood pressure can cause dizziness or headaches, but most people don’t realize that they have hypertension until they are diagnosed during their annual checkup.

such as kidney failure, liver disease, sleep apnea and anemia – can cause your blood pressure to rise to dangerous levels. But the truth is, most people suffer from “essential hypertension,” which is driven by poor lifestyle and eating habits. Being overweight, eating a low-plant food, high sodium diet, and being sedentary are all factors that lead, inevitably, to essential hypertension, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and increased risk of premature death or disability.

But there are diet and lifestyle changes you can make – right now – that will not just reduce your risk of hypertension, but actually get rid of it. So let’s get started!

Hippocrates Said: Let Food be Thy Medicine

The “Father of Medicine” expressed this profound truth more than two millennia ago. During my thirty years of practicing nutritional medicine, I have harnessed the healing power of food to help tens of thousands of patients recover their health, lose weight and extend their longevity.

In the vast majority of cases, poor food choices cause high blood pressure and high cholesterol; in the same way, excellent food choices can reverse these conditions. When it comes to high blood pressure, nothing compares with the safety and therapeutic efficacy of a program combining salt avoidance, a nutrient-dense, plant-rich (Nutritarian) diet, and vigorous exercise. It has no risks, and it provides substantial benefits. In addition to lowering your diagnostic test numbers, you will experience other benefits, including weight loss and protection against dementia and cancer.

Reduce Blood Pressure Naturally

Reduce Blood Pressure Naturally

Eating a healthy diet is important for managing your blood pressure. Shutterstock Images

To help you reduce your high blood pressure and high cholesterol safely and quickly, I have created the Transformation 20: Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Program. This 20-day plan contains daily menus, recipes and other tools to help you make dramatic changes in less than three weeks. More detailed information is found in my book, The End of Heart Disease, which will teach you the vital information you need to make a full and permanent recovery.

Results on individuals with cardiovascular risk factors who made the switch to a Nutritarian diet were published in a scientific article in 2015: in particular, those who started out with hypertension, experienced a 26 mm Hg average reduction in systolic blood pressure over the first year on a Nutritarian diet.[14]

Here are some changes you can implement right now:

  • Make your diet mostly whole plant foods – raw and cooked vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, and fresh fruits
  • Avoid salt, sugar, oil and commercial baked goods.
  • Make salad your main dish for one meal a day – eat a bountiful salad consisting of at least five cups of greens, plus raw cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes, beans, colorful veggies – and top it with nut- or seed-based dressing.
  • Eat your G-BOMBS superfoods: Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries and Seeds
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • Avoid animal protein – or have no more than 8 ounces per week
  • Exercise regularly and vigorously.

This micronutrient-rich dietary program will help you attain a healthy weight, which is another important contributor to healthy blood pressure levels.

Read Next: Things To Know About The Blood Pressure Reading

If you need more help in lowering your blood pressure, consider adding freshly squeezed vegetable juices to your daily meal plan. You can also do therapeutic exercises, meditation and therapeutic fasting to address your blood pressure issues, all effective options to avoid the need for harmful drugs.

For the overweight, food addicted people who are incapable of changing their diet without professional help, consider a stay at the Eat To Live Retreat. Where you can learn to prefer to eat and live healthfully. Since drug-treated normal blood pressure is still a significant risk, remaining at high risk and drug dependent should not be an option.

[1] Benjamin EJ, Virani SS, Callaway CW, et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2018 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. Circulation 2018, 137:e67-e492.
[2] Fang J, Gillespie C, Ayala C, Loustalot F. Prevalence of Self-Reported Hypertension and Antihypertensive Medication Use Among Adults Aged >/=18 Years - United States, 2011-2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018, 67:219-224.
[3] Li CI, Daling JR, Tang MT, et al. Use of Antihypertensive Medications and Breast Cancer Risk Among Women Aged 55 to 74 Years. JAMA Intern Med 2013.
[4] Largent JA, Bernstein L, Horn-Ross PL, et al. Hypertension, antihypertensive medication use, and breast cancer risk in the California Teachers Study cohort. Cancer Causes Control 2010, 21:1615-1624.
[5] Li CI, Malone KE, Weiss NS, et al. Relation between use of antihypertensive medications and risk of breast carcinoma among women ages 65-79 years. Cancer 2003, 98:1504-1513.
[6] Rosenberg L, Rao RS, Palmer JR, et al. Calcium channel blockers and the risk of cancer. JAMA 1998, 279:1000-1004.
[7] Gupta AK, Dahlof B, Dobson J, et al. Determinants of new-onset diabetes among 19,257 hypertensive patients randomized in the Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial--Blood Pressure Lowering Arm and the relative influence of antihypertensive medication. Diabetes Care 2008, 31:982-988.
[8] Wilcox CS. Metabolic and adverse effects of diuretics. Semin Nephrol 1999, 19:557-568.
[9] Zillich AJ, Garg J, Basu S, et al. Thiazide diuretics, potassium, and the development of diabetes: a quantitative review. Hypertension 2006, 48:219-224.
[10] Elliott WJ, Meyer PM. Incident diabetes in clinical trials of antihypertensive drugs: a network meta-analysis. Lancet 2007, 369:201-207.
[11] Tinetti ME, Han L, Lee DS, et al. Antihypertensive medications and serious fall injuries in a nationally representative sample of older adults. JAMA Intern Med 2014, 174:588-595.
[12] Messerli FH, Mancia G, Conti CR, et al. Dogma disputed: can aggressively lowering blood pressure in hypertensive patients with coronary artery disease be dangerous? Ann Intern Med 2006, 144:884-893.
[13] Tringali S, Oberer CW, Huang J. Low Diastolic Blood Pressure as a Risk for All-Cause Mortality in VA Patients. Int J Hypertens 2013, 2013:178780.
[14]Fuhrman J, Singer M. Improved Cardiovascular Parameter With a Nutrient-Dense, Plant-Rich Diet-Style: A Patient Survey With Illustrative Cases. Am J Lifestyle Med 2015.
Facebook youtube pinterest Twitter linkedin

Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

Dr.Joel Fuhrman Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a family physician, NY Times best-selling author and nutritional researcher.

View All