It is clear that a considerable number of people suffer from high blood pressure after eating. In medicine it is called postprandial hypertension. The disadvantage of knowing whether the blood pressure has dropped abnormally after eating is called postprandial hypotension.
Apart from the visible symptoms, many people cannot see if and when their blood pressure will rise after eating. So in most cases it’s none of their business. However, some people experience significant symptoms such as dizziness and a rapid heartbeat. High blood pressure was confirmed during the measurement.
Although it can be a problem for these people, high blood pressure after meals is not a problem for many health workers. An increase in blood pressure after a meal is generally considered normal, although it may occur in some people who experience physical discomfort, such as an increased heart rate. Doctors are usually only interested in whether blood pressure is under control, especially in hypertensive patients.
It has been shown that the increase in blood pressure after a meal depends on the time of day, the type of meal and the size. Caffeine, for example, is known to temporarily increase blood pressure about 30 minutes after consumption. Similarly, some patients have reported hypertension 30 minutes after a large meal, with hypertension lasting approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.
Several explanations have been proposed to explain this phenomenon of hypertension after a meal. One of these explanations is that, for example, the organs, stomach and intestines need the heart to increase blood flow in order to be able to digest food. This explains why high blood pressure can last up to two hours, the total time food spends in the stomach after it has been eaten.
Scandinavian study of post-meal hypertension
A study published in 1991 by the Scandinavian Physiological Society confirms that the heart increases its heart production and beating volume after eating. Heart removal refers to the amount of blood pumped through the heart per minute. Physiological material shows that everything that increases heart production also increases blood pressure.
How your heart works depends on how much food you eat. In the Scandinavian study the participants were given a smaller dish and another dish that was two and a half times bigger. The results showed that the size of the food affected heart production and thus blood pressure in the people tested in different ways.
More food resulted in higher cardiac output, which lasted longer than that caused by less food. In addition, heart production remained high for more than two hours with those who ate larger meals. In addition, the heart delivered twice as much blood as the smallest amount within two hours of a large meal. This study added some conclusions to the idea that post-mortem hypertension has a valid scientific explanation.
High blood pressure after pizza
Interestingly, individual cases of hypertension have been reported after eating pizza, shrimp, Chinese food, fast food and foods with a high salt content. A 2012 study by the Journal of Nutrition of the American Nutrition Society showed that carbohydrate-rich foods generally have a lower blood pressure than protein-rich foods. However, this difference disappeared after 4 weeks, meaning that any benefit of carbohydrates in the blood pressure was lost. The study showed that the biological mechanism by which these foods influence blood pressure remains unclear.
Some people with high blood pressure after a meal have made suggestions for lowering blood pressure in forums about hypertension. Some of the things that some people have found useful are eating smaller rather than larger amounts, avoiding meals after 7 p.m., avoiding meals in a state of anxiety or stress, avoiding fatty foods and protein, and eating lots of water.
Reviewing the causes of high blood pressure after a meal
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Caffeine and hypertension
The link between caffeine and high blood pressure has been proven by clinical studies. Caffeine in drinks such as coffee and soft drinks causes temporary peaks in blood pressure for about 30 minutes after consumption. The rise in blood pressure is temporary and will soon return to normal. Although caffeine can increase blood pressure, there is no evidence of an increased risk of long-term chronic hypertension due to caffeine use. We’ve written an explanatory article on the relationship between caffeine and blood pressure.
Factors affecting blood pressure
It is scientifically proven that the following factors influence blood pressure. As noted in our main explanation for post-meal hypertension, heart production, which consists of heart rate and beat volume, is also influenced by diet.
- Peripheral resistance
- Vascular elasticity
- Blood volume
- Heart performance
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