10 Foods That Raise Your Blood Pressure

Foods that are high in calories increase cholesterol in your body, which raises blood pressure. Some foods silently add salt to your body and increase your risk of high blood pressure. You don’t even realise that you are eating salt. To help you identify these foods, here’s a list of 10 foods and drinks that knowingly or silently add salt and cholesterol to your body and can raise your blood pressure.

1. Canned foods or beverages

Canned food products are prepared with lots of salt to preserve the food from decaying, and for taste. This decreases the nutrition of the food and silently adds salt to your body. For example, as such, chickpeas are very nutritious and have great health benefits, but if you are using canned chickpeas, then they are harmful to your health. 

Whenever possible, eat fresh foods instead of canned ones. Even if you are using canned chickpeas or other canned vegetables, wash them properly before use to remove the extra salt. Cans are often lined with the chemical bisphenol A (BPA). Eating foods from cans lined with the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) could raise your blood pressure.

2. Deep-fried foods

Studies show that eating deep-fried foods, such as french fries, bagels, and puris, increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Fried foods add a lot of calories and are deficient in healthy nutrients. These increase cholesterol levels in the body and raise your blood pressure. 

You should never reuse the oil that has been used in deep frying, also don’t fry at high temperatures. When you deep fry, oils break down with each frying and their composition changes. As a result, a chemical is formed in food that can lead to cancer.

3. Pickles

Research found that eating pickles can raise your blood pressure. Lots of salt and oil are required for preserving pickles for a long time. Salt and oil stop the food from decaying and keep them edible for long. Adding extra sodium of pickles to your diet causes water retention that puts greater pressure on blood vessels and increases blood pressure. 

Furthermore, pickles are loaded with excess oil that can increase cholesterol in your body. Cholesterol can narrow the blood vessels that prevent the free-flowing of blood and make it harder for the heart to pump blood through them. As a result, your blood pressure rises.

4. Processed cheese

Processed cheese is high in calories and salt. This means regular consumption can lead to high cholesterol, obesity, and high blood pressure, increasing your risk of heart disease. Avoid eating too much processed cheese. 

Instead of processed cheese, go for homemade cottage cheese. You can even eat mozzarella cheese as it contains the lowest salt in comparison to other varieties. Cheese can offer health benefits as they are rich in calcium and vitamins.

However, if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, avoid eating any cheese except homemade low-fat cottage cheese (not the store-bought).

5. Caffeine

Your one cup of coffee may give a boost to start your day in an active mode, but it is not good for blood pressure. Caffeine increases the release of the hormone adrenaline, which is responsible for making you active within some minutes of consumption. 

However, this same hormone adrenaline causes constriction of blood vessels and increases the rate and force of heart pumping. As a result, pressure inside your blood vessels increases. 

Don’t quit tea or coffee completely, instead gradually reduce the frequency, and soon your body will adapt to it. Quitting caffeine all of a sudden will only make you crave it.

6. Dehydration

Keep yourself hydrated. When your body is dehydrated, your brain sends a signal to the pituitary gland to secrete the hormone vasopressin, which is an antidiuretic hormone. It constricts the blood vessels. 

As a result, pressure inside the blood vessels increases, which leads to hypertension. Drink at least eight glasses of water in a day. Drinking enough water in pregnancy is essential, especially if your blood pressure is already high, to prevent toxemia, which is a potentially dangerous pregnancy complication characterized by the onset of high blood pressure.

7. Smoking

Studies found that each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure. The nicotine in cigarettes is the main reason for high blood pressure. Nicotine stimulates the central nervous system. High blood pressure is caused by both an increase in cardiac output and total peripheral vascular resistance

Nicotine acts as a stimulant in the body. It stimulates the adrenal glands to release more adrenaline. It forces the heart to constrict more forcefully, which affects the heart pumping capacity. 

It narrows your blood vessels and hardens their walls. As a result, your blood flow gets restricted, which increases peripheral vascular resistance and makes your blood more likely to clot. If you smoke, quit it as soon as possible—people who quit smoking live longer than people who smoke.

8. Alcohol

Research found that any alcoholic beverage can increase your blood pressure. Alcohol interferes with the effectiveness of your anti-hypertensive drugs. In fact, even one drink can change the way your blood pressure medications work and increase the side effects of blood pressure medications.

Alcohol increases blood pressure by increasing cortisol (stress hormone) levels.  Alcohol stimulates the release of vasoconstrictor angiotensin II and induces inflammation that inhibits nitric oxide production in the body. 

Alcohol is high in calories and may contribute to unwanted weight gain, which is a risk factor for high blood pressure. If you want to prevent high blood pressure, quit drinking completely.

9. Sugar

It might surprise you, but research found that high sugar intake is linked with hypertension. Not only because it leads to obesity, but it causes high blood pressure through a different mechanism too. Sugar elevates uric acid in the body induces oxidative stress and decreases endothelial nitric oxide availability. 

It also activates both renin activity and angiotensin activity in the kidney. Nitric oxide suppression, as well as enhancement of angiotensin activity, constricts the blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure. Sugar also gives empty calories and increases cholesterol in the body. 

Increased cholesterol causes plaque to build up inside your arteries, and arteries become hardened and narrowed. As a result, your heart has to work much harder to pump blood through them and cause an increase in your blood pressure.

10. Packaged snacks

Potato chips, popcorns, sev, banana chips, and other packaged snacks have lots of salt in them. More the flavours, the more the salt content. Flavours like salted, cream, and onion have more salt content. Additionally, these are high in saturated and trans fats, sugar, and other low-fibre carbohydrates. 

Consuming too many packaged snacks increases bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body. High LDL levels may lead to the formation of cholesterol plaque in the blood vessel that constricts the free-flowing of blood and may eventually lead to the development of coronary heart disease. You don’t need to stop eating snacks completely, but do limit your servings and frequency. Look for a plain version instead of flavoured.

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