Blood Pressure is the measurement of the force applied by the heart to push the blood around the body. There are many causes for rise and fall of the blood pressure and one of the most common is eating. Yes, eating affects your blood pressure and it generally goes down by a few points after you have your meals.
In this article we are going to discuss the reason how eating affects blood pressure, and a list of foods that are responsible for rise and fall of blood pressure.
Why Does Blood Pressure Go Down After Eating?
When you eat something, blood flows into the small intestine to assist the digestion. It causes a decrease in blood pressure. To compensate this, the veins which are present outside the intestine constrict and as a result, the heart beats faster in order to maintain a stable blood pressure throughout the body.
In some cases, people experience a sudden drop in the blood pressure which is known as Postprandial Hypotension.
What is Postprandial Hypotension?
The sudden blood pressure fall after a meal is known as Postprandial Hypotension. Postprandial refers to the time period just after taking a meal. It is commonly seen in older people. A sudden drop of blood pressure can cause lightheadedness.
Causes of Postprandial Hypotension
Small intestine requires a lot of blood supply for digestion, so just after taking the meal, heart rate increases and the veins in other parts of our body get constricted to maintain the balance.
Symptoms of Postprandial Hypotension
How Long Does Postprandial Hypotension Last After Eating?
For around 70 percent of people, postprandial hypotension lasts for around 30 mins to 60 mins after taking a meal.
10 Foods That Raise Blood Pressure
There are many foods that are responsible for increase in blood pressure. Here are the 10 foods that increase blood pressure –
1) Salt:- Salt is one of the most common ingredients used on a daily basis that is responsible for increasing blood pressure.
2) Sauces:- All types of sauces such as ketchup, soya sauce, barbeque sauce, schezwan sauces, etc. contain high amounts of salt which increases blood pressure.
3) Canned Foods:- Almost every canned product, including canned vegetables, and soups have salt for preserving the food.
4) Sandwiches:- Sandwich, one of the favourite snacks, contains a lot of salt as it is made up with meat, cheese and mayonnaise.
5) Unhealthy Snacks:- Snacks such as chips, cookies, nuts etc. contain a lot of salt which raises the blood pressure.
6) Pickles:- Pickles have large amounts of salt which raises the blood pressure.
7) Alcohol:- Drinking alcohol may raise your blood pressure slightly, but if taken in high amounts, it can cause a sudden rise in blood pressure.
8) Dairy Products:- Dairy products like milk, paneer, cheese are full of calcium, but it also contains salt naturally. One cup of low fat milk contains 100 mg salt. Dairy products such as Cheese have a quite high salt level.
9) Red Meats:- Ham, bacon and sausages are prepared by soaking them into water, salt and different spices.
10) Added Sugar:- Added sugar presents in processed food is a big cause for blood pressure rise.
10 Foods That Lower Blood Pressure
Here are some foods that lower high blood pressure –
1) Citrus Fruits:- Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits have the qualities that can help you reduce high blood pressure. But grapefruit juice can interfere with blood pressure medicine, so it’s better to consult a doctor before having it.
2) Fatty Fish:- Fatty fish contains omega-3 fats which is very helpful in reducing blood pressure naturally by decreasing swelling and reducing the level of veins constricting compounds known as oxylipins.
3) Pumpkin Seeds:- Pumpkin seeds are full of magnesium, potassium, arginine, and amino acid which reduce high blood pressure.
4) Beans and Lentils:- Beans and lentils have high nutrients value like fibre, magnesium, and potassium which helps to reduce blood pressure.
5) Berries:- Berries have a lot of health benefits. It contains anthocyanins that increase nitric oxide levels and reduce blood pressure.
6) Pistachios:- Pistachios are very high in nutrients that help to regulate blood pressure and maintain the balance of potassium.
7) Carrots:- Carrots have high phenolic compounds like chlorogenic, p-coumaric, and caffeic acid which help relax the veins and decrease the swelling.
8) Greek Yogurt:- It is a nutrient compact dairy product, that has potassium and calcium which helps to control high blood pressure.
9) Herbs and Spices:- Some particular herbs and spices help to reduce the blood pressure and relax the venis. Celery seeds, cilantro, saffron, lemongrass, cinnamon, cardamom, sweet basil and ginger are some herbs and spices which help to reduce the blood pressure.
10) Chia and Flax Seeds:- Chia and flax seeds are full of potassium, magnesium and fibre, and help to control high blood pressure.
From the above discussion, we get to know that how eating affects blood pressure and that a fall in blood pressure by a few points after meals is normal. Apart from that, above mentioned common foods tend to raise or reduce the blood pressure, so you should keep a check on it.
Q1) Why do doctors suggest you measure your blood pressure in the morning before meals?
Ans) If you are taking blood pressure reading at home, it is advisable to take the reading in the morning before meals. Because usually blood pressure drops after meal, so you will not get the accurate reading right after the meals.
Q2) Does fasting lower blood pressure?
Ans) Yes, many studies have found that fasting can help you lower blood pressure. But excessive fasting can lead to electrolyte imbalance. Electrolyte imbalance can make your heart unstable, so be careful while trying fasting.
Q3) Does drinking water lower blood pressure?
Ans) Yes. Human heart is made up of 73% water and is rich in minderals such as calcium and magnesium which help in reducing blodd pressure.