Salt of the Earth – Sodium and Plant Based Diets


Is a plant-based diet sufficient to reach sodium goals?

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This is part of my extended series on sodium. If you missed it, please check out:
• High Blood Pressure May Be a Choice (
• Sprinkling Doubt: Taking Sodium Skeptics with a Pinch of Salt (
• The Evidence that Salt Raises Blood Pressure (
• Sodium Skeptics Try to Shake up the Salt Debate (
• Shaking the Salt Habit (
• Sodium and Arterial Function: A-Salting our Endothelium (

If you’re already cutting out processed foods and still not reaching your blood pressure goals, see my last video, Wakame Seaweed Salad May Lower Blood Pressure ( and a few others:
• Hibiscus Tea vs. Plant-Based Diets for Hypertension (
• Flax Seeds for Hypertension (
• How to Prevent High Blood Pressure with Diet (
• How to Treat High Blood Pressure with Diet (
• Oxygenating Blood With Nitrate-Rich Vegetables (

Have a question about this video? Leave it in the comment section at and someone on the team will try to answer it.

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Thanks for watching. I hope you’ll join in the evidence-based nutrition revolution!
-Michael Greger, MD FACLM

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26 thoughts on “Salt of the Earth – Sodium and Plant Based Diets”

  1. You should really read what Dr. McDougall says about salt. He points out that salt isn't nutritious obviously, but a little bit of salt on our food makes it a lot more tasty and easy to eat for people and I agree with that. I think we should switch from high fat, high sodium and animal based foods to a low fat plant based diet with a moderate amount of salt. A normal amount of salt is fine and will add a lot of pleasure to our diets without adverse consequences.  Two quotes from the British Medical Journal (2002) and the NHANES III study from the Journal of General Internal Medicine (2008) also give evidence that lowering salt intake isn't unhealthy and won't save a lot of lives. British Medical Journal – “Lowering sodium intake may have adverse effects on vascular endothelium through stimulation of the renin-angiotensin system and on serum total and low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations. In cohort studies, lower salt intake in people with hypertension has been associated with higher levels of cardiovascular disease and in general populations with greater all cause mortality.” NHANES III Study – “Observed associations of lower sodium with higher mortality were modest and mostly not statistically significant. However, these findings also suggest that for the general US adult population, higher sodium is unlikely to be independently associated with higher CVD or all-cause mortality.”
    Hooper L, Bartlett C, Davey Smith G, Ebrahim S. Systematic review of long term effects of advice to reduce dietary salt in adults. BMJ. 2002 Sep 21;325(7365):628.Cohen HW, Hailpern SM, Alderman MH. Sodium intake and mortality follow-up in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). J Gen Intern Med. 2008 Sep;23(9):1297-302.)

  2. Avoiding salt when going out to eat is incredibly difficult. I was just out yesterday with family and I didn't get anything at the restaurant we stopped at because everything was made out of salt.

    I really don't understand why there aren't a few no salt added options at every restaurant for people who are trying to eat a little more healthy. Maybe they figure everyone who wants to do so has given up on restaurants already. I have.

  3. we need 1500 mg of salt in our diet a day right?? half a teaspoon? Is this achievable following a strict raw vegan diet? I don't think so. in my experience, adding a pinch of salt in water before the gym (around 400mg assumingly) has helped me with dealing with heart palpitations, which was uncomfortable and hindered my training tremendously. Now I'm fine. the human body needs salt to prevent water toxicity, it's real and not to be underestimated, this is directed towards athletes who drink alot of water but don't sweat enough. We salt, and its difficult to know how much unless you know exactly, what is 100% going in your mouth.

  4. what if you are unable to eat seaweed products due to allergies? I am unable to eat any seaweeds, kelp, etc. I went without added salt for over two years and found i felt much better after starting to include a small amount of Himalayan salt in my diet.

  5. Wow I am no where near the 1600 mg of salt, but I am a european vegan :/ Right next to me is an old can of veggies I ate as a whole, without the Water it was 455g of veggies (green beans), containing 4g of fucking salt. Either the measurements are wrong or something else is fishy, since they didn't taste salty at all…

  6. The logic is unconvincing at best. Salt has been one of the most valuable produce in human history. If you shouldn't take more than a half teaspoon of salt, why has it been sought after for so long a time? Something's wrong about this.

  7. Yes I noticed after being on WFPB for a while how much salt is in everything! We went out to a Cajun restaurant and I ordered some gumbo. Holy Dead Sea! I thought I was going to have a stroke right there in the booth. It was good but yeah made me realize how true your video is.

  8. Lack of sodium salt in the diet is dangerous and can cause heart attacks. Lack of potassium salt is a problem as well. These salts make electrical currents possible, they are electrolytes. These currents make signaling possible from the brain to muscles. Your heart is a muscle. If you were to remove all salt from your body, your heart would stop and you would be brain dead in five minutes. Many animals risk their lives climbing steep cliff faces to get to salt outcroppings. If you have a taste for salt, eat it. Most of the salt scare is very old research. Sodium is essential, like water. To little is the danger.

  9. And if you have low blood pressure caused by heat, what is the solution? We are told to take salty food to increase the blood pressure.

  10. I've helped some older people get on the starch solution. They use a lot of salt like 4 to 8 grams per day. But their blood pressure is in check. How can that be?

  11. salt is my achilles heel , but I bet I consume less than most Americans because I eat no meat and way more fruit !

  12. Correlation is not causation. Many people with high salt intake usually have high salt intake from eating unhealthy foods- it's not just the salt itself in those foods that are causing them to be unhealthy. There is plenty of research out there showing that cutting salt for some people is actually dangerous. There is also no "one size fits all" for salt, some people can function perfectly fine with less than a gram of salt while others NEED more. I'm not saying to eat however much you want but "lower your salt" is not as big of a deal as people make it to be and it should not be said as a blanket statement when it can actually hurt some people.

    From my personal experience, I eat probably twice the salt that anybody else eats and have always had low blood pressure. On the other hand my dad died at 47 from hypertension even though he was on medication for it plus he had to cut salt out of his diet 10 years earlier. I know this is anecdotal but as I said, there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to salt. Most people can filter salt very well and it has almost no effect on them while others have an immediate reaction to it. Test it yourself, go on a low salt diet and see if there are any improvements if not, then you don't need to cut your salt.

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