8 Foods That Raise Blood Pressure (And What to Eat Instead)

Blood pressure, or the force of your blood against your artery walls, plays an important role in keeping your body healthy and vital. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are blood pressure affects everyone, and if you have high blood pressure (hypertension), it can take its toll on your health. Luckily, many foods can help you lower your blood pressure, so read on to learn more about what these foods are, as well as some ideas on how to incorporate them into your diet. 

For those who already have high blood pressure, reducing your sodium intake and eating foods that lower blood pressure can be beneficial to reducing symptoms and preventing long-term damage caused by hypertension. Here are eight foods that you should avoid if you want to keep your blood pressure in check, and suggestions for healthier alternatives instead.

  1. Processed Meats

This is because a diet high in processed meats may increase blood pressure, and can lead to heart disease and stroke. If you eat processed meat, try eating it no more than three times per week, and make sure it’s nitrate-free if possible. Other healthy protein sources include beans, lentils, and tofu.

Processed meat is less healthy for your heart than other protein sources because it can increase blood pressure levels.

  1. Alcohol

Alcohol is not just a social lubricant or a tasty drink. Alcohol also affects blood pressure, especially when you consume it in excess. Too much alcohol can be deadly to those who have high blood pressure and it can also lead to chronic health problems like heart attack and stroke. If you’re worried about your drinking habits, taking a simple blood pressure test could be helpful.

 Results from the test will give you an accurate reading of your blood pressure as well as ways to reduce your risk of developing serious problems. The recommended amount of alcohol intake for people with high blood pressure is one alcoholic drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

  1. Sweets

In the dessert category, you’ll find that chocolate is king. Whether it’s a chocolate brownie, a chocolate chip cookie, or even just a square of dark chocolate, it’s easy to indulge in the sweet stuff. But indulgence can come with consequences: overindulging in any type of sugar-rich food can lead to an increase in blood pressure for some people. This is especially true if you’re already at risk for high blood pressure or have diabetes.

  1. Trans Fatty Acids

Tran’s fats are created when liquid oils are hardened by adding hydrogen. They’re typically used in baked goods and other processed foods, but can also be found in certain brands of margarine, crackers, and packaged snacks. Tran’s fats not only increase the risk of cardiovascular disease but can also raise blood pressure levels. 

To avoid trans fats, look for foods that list partially hydrogenated oils or hydrogenated oils as ingredients on their packaging. If you’re still not sure about a food’s trans-fat content, check the ingredient list for the words partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated. 

The good news is that many companies have begun to phase out this artery-clogging fat from their products due to public health concerns.

  1. Sodium

A blood pressure test is one of the best ways to identify and monitor high blood pressure. The test is typically taken when you have a physical exam with your doctor or during a work-related physical examination. 

Your doctor will wrap an inflatable cuff around your arm and tighten it to stop the flow of blood into your arm. Once this is done, he’ll release the cuff and measure your blood pressure by how much higher the reading on the gauge goes from before to after it’s tightened. 

You’ll need to take two readings: one while you’re sitting down and another after you’ve stood up for about three minutes to get an accurate picture of what’s going on with your heart, arteries, and veins.

  1. Eggs

Eggs provide a good dose of protein, but eating too many can raise blood pressure. The best way to keep your eggs healthy is to limit the number you eat at any given time. Eggs are also high in cholesterol, so if you have high cholesterol or other health concerns, it’s worth getting a blood pressure test before adding them to your diet.

  1. Refined Carbohydrates

These types of carbs contain a large amount of sugar and are more easily digested by the body. Refining food strips away fiber and other nutrients that can be found in whole-grain bread, brown rice, or steel-cut oats.

 As a result, refined carbs spike blood sugar levels which can lead to high cholesterol and heart disease down the line. Try swapping out your refined carbs for healthier alternatives such as quinoa, amaranth, barley, wild rice, millet, buckwheat groats, and couscous.

  1. Whole Milk

Whole milk is a common food that raises blood pressure. Studies show that drinking two cups of whole milk a day for three weeks can increase your blood pressure by as much as 10%. People who drink whole milk regularly are more likely to have high blood pressure than those who do not. Switching to skim or low-fat milk is an easy way to reduce your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.


If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you may feel like there are no foods you can eat anymore. However, the right foods can help to lower blood pressure and combat its side effects, such as headaches and dizziness. To find out what those foods are and how much of them you should be consuming, check out this list of 8 foods that raise blood pressure and what to eat instead of them!

Bijoy Pal

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