5 Foods that Raise Blood Pressure

Do you suffer from high blood pressure? In that case, we're going to show you which foods to avoid in your diet to keep this under control.
5 Foods that Raise Blood Pressure
Saúl Sánchez

Written and verified by el nutricionista Saúl Sánchez.

Last update: 19 August, 2021

Having high blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It is important to modulate this parameter, especially as the years go by. Although there is a genetic determination, diet plays an important role and that is why there are foods that raise blood pressure.

Currently, there’s a specific diet prototype for people with high blood pressure, known as the DASH diet. This has a high spectrum of foods capable of exerting a modulating effect on your diet.

Foods that raise blood pressure

According to research published in the American Journal of Physiology, the microbiota plays a special role in modulating blood pressure. In this sense, it’s advisable to maintain a healthy intestinal flora, with high diversity from a bacterial point of view. Dysbiosis could generate an increase in blood pressure values.

What’s clear is that there are some foods in the diet that have been shown to increase cardiovascular risk. For this reason, they should be avoided, and you should favor those that are considered healthy.

Next up, we’re going to show you which are the foods that raise blood pressure. It’s not a problem if you consume them from time to time, but their inclusion in the diet on a regular basis should be avoided.

1. Sugary drinks

Sugary drinks, such as soda, are among the worst foods you can include in the diet. They have high amounts of sodium, added sugars, and additives. Its regular consumption is associated with an increased risk of developing metabolic illnesses, such as diabetes.

In fact, there’s evidence that fructose, when administered in liquid form, causes more significant damage to organs such as the liver or pancreas. For this reason, consumption in children is very worrying.

Soft drinks are an excellent way to increase the calories in your diet, although, in this case, they’re empty calories. They don’t contain essential nutrients. They’re not even useful for improving hydration status.

In addition, due to their high content of added sugars, they could affect blood pressure levels, increasing them. In fact, a high intake is associated with an increased cardiovascular risk.

As if all this weren’t enough, sugary soft drinks are capable of negatively impacting the intestinal microbiota, especially when they contain artificial sweeteners. Many of the additives in everyday use reduce the density and diversity of the microbiota.

Sugary drink that raises blood pressure.
Soft drinks increase blood pressure, and they don’t provide any health benefits.

2. Licorice

Despite the fact that licorice is an element with positive properties for health, it could cause an increase in blood pressure. Of course, we’re talking about licorice in its natural form, not sweets.

This food has phytonutrients capable of stimulating the function of the immune system. It can also act as an antiseptic, reducing infections by pathogenic microorganisms.

However, its regular consumption could cause sodium retention and an increase in potassium excretion. Influencing electrolyte exchange negatively impacts blood pressure levels.

3. French fries

Tubers are high-quality foods. They have a good content of complex carbohydrates; which are good to include in the daily diet. However, the cooking method is important. If they’re cooked or baked there’s no problem, but frying reduces their quality.

When a potato is subjected to an oil frying process, not only is its energy value increased, but the process also adds trans-fatty acids. These are produced through the application of high temperatures to vegetable oil.

According to research published in the journal Nutrients, this type of fatty acid increases blood pressure, inflammation levels, and the risk of presenting alterations in the lipid profile. For this reason, its presence in the diet should be reduced as much as possible.

To do this, simply opt for less aggressive cooking methods, such as the iron, the oven, the steam, or cooking with water. Also, it is key to use vegetable oils instead of butters.

Potatoes are recommended foods in almost any diet. They provide carbohydrates and other essential micronutrients, such as a good dose of vitamin C. In addition, they have a good fiber content.

4. Alcoholic beverages

Of all the foods we’ve mentioned, alcoholic beverages are the only ones that should be completely restricted in your diet. Simply an occasional consumption will harm our bodies, because alcohol is considered toxic.

In addition, and contrary to what was thought for many years, alcoholic beverages are not good for cardiovascular health. Regular intake has been shown to cause your blood pressure to rise. It also affects the functioning of many other organs, such as the liver.

5. Coffee

Taking coffee occasionally causes a temporary increase in blood pressure.

However, its regular consumption generates a protective effect on the cardiovascular system. This is evidenced by a study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension . The phytonutrient content of this drink is associated with a better state of health and a lower cardiovascular risk.

Of course, we must bear in mind that the caffeine present in coffee is a toxic substance at high doses. When 250 milligrams are exceeded in a single intake or 300 milligrams throughout the day, side effects can be experienced. Among them is an increase in blood pressure.

It’s also good to keep in mind that caffeine is capable of creating tolerance. This means that the cognitive effects it causes are reduced as the body gets used to the dose.

Cup of coffee that increases blood pressure.
Hypertensive people should limit their coffee intake, as they could experience a momentary increase in blood pressure.

Avoid foods that increase blood pressure in the diet

As we’ve seen, there are a number of foods capable of raising blood pressure if they’re included regularly in the diet. For this reason, it’ll be necessary to limit its consumption if you are prone to suffering from high blood pressure. At the same time, it’s important to prioritize the presence of fresh food in your daily food intake.

In any case, both to modulate blood pressure and to improve health, it’s essential to promote the practice of physical exercise and good rest. Some habits, such as meditation, can help you reach a state of emotional stability that also affects cardiovascular function.

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