Some food which should be avoided for high blood pressure can affect it faster than others. Those foods are important to identify, especially on days when your BP will be tested. Therefore, what foods raise blood pressure immediately?
Foods that raise blood pressure immediately are:
- Foods high in tyramine
- Pickled foods
- Chinese food (take out)
- Canned soup
- Canned beans
- Canned tomatoes and sauces
- Cold cut sandwiches
- Fast food
- Sugary cereals
I’ll explain why each one of these foods produce an instant effect on blood pressure. The foods high in tyramine are exceptionally important if you’re taking certain medications. If you haven’t heard of tyramine, it’s the first food on the list.
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Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Never change or modify your diet without seeking advice from a physician.
Foods That Raise Blood Pressure Immediately
The foods that raises blood pressure immediately do so for the following three reasons:
- Foods are high in tyramine.
- Foods are high in sodium.
- Foods boost blood sugar levels.
All three raise blood pressure immediately for various reasons described below.
1. Foods High in Tyramine
A large dietary intake of tyramine can cause the tyramine pressor response, defined as an increase in systolic blood pressure of 30 mm Hg or more. This is especially dangerous if you’re taking Monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
Foods high in Tyramine can include:
- Aged Cheeses
- Cured Meat
- Processed Meats
- Pickled or Fermented Foods
- Some overripe fruits
- Sourdough bread
2. Pickled Foods
I love pickles but unfortunately they are very high in sodium. An average size pickle can contains as much as 800 mg of sodium. That’s about half of your recommended daily intake.
Extra sodium will throw off your potassium sodium ratio of 4:1. This will cause extra fluid retention and raise your blood pressure 3.
In addition to the fluid build-up, excess sodium can increase sympathetic activity. This means the heart rate may increase and the blood vessels can become less elastic and constrict. The sympathetic activity will raise blood pressure immediately 4.
Besides pickles, many other foods go through a pickling process resulting in pickled food. Pickled food is either soaked in vinegar or a salt brine 5. For this reason, pickled food is very high in sodium.
In Iran, where pickled food is very popular, studies have found an association between pickle consumption and increased blood pressure and obesity 6.
Do you want to check out foods which can reduce BP? I wrote this article here, 35 Foods To Help Reduce Blood Pressure (Proven By Science).
Pizza contains tomatoes, cheese and therefore has much sodium. Frozen pizza is another one of those easy meals. All you have to do is heat up the oven and put it in. A typical serving of frozen pizza has 800 milligrams of salt, 9 g of saturated fat and 8 g of sugar.
I’m unsure about you, but when was the last time you ate just one serving? Therefore, you can at least double that fat and sodium intake.
4. Chinese Food (take out)
I think most of us have had take out Chinese food. Especially on a Friday night after a long day at work. It’s easy, fast, tastes good and usually there’s leftovers for the next day.
I bet you didn’t know a typical order of beef and broccoli can contain almost 3,000 milligrams of sodium. In addition, if you include some soy sauce, add another 1,000 milligrams of sodium to make it about 4,000 milligrams.
What’s the harm? That’s about double of what the American Heart Association recommends daily 7.
5. Canned Soup
When people think of soup, something healthy comes to mind. Soup is something people should definitely include in their nutrition plan. Although if you’re trying to avoid high blood pressure, you should avoid canned soup.
Have you ever eaten one can of chicken soup? That one can alone is not going to fill you up, but the average can contains 1,600 grams of sodium and some of them have more than 2,000. That’s a daily amount in just one quick bowl of soup.
This article concentrates on whole foods, how about drinks? I wrote an article about it which you can view here, Drinks That Raise Blood Pressure Immediately.
6. Canned Beans
Canned beans, especially baked beans can contain much sodium. One can of baked beans has about 1,800 milligrams of sodium in one 12 ounce can. In addition, the same can also has 30 grams of sugar.
Foods with a combination of high salt and sugar are ones you want to avoid if you don’t want to raise your blood pressure instantly.
A patient at work thought he was eating healthy by buying canned Spanish black beans. After informing him that each can had about 1,500 milligrams of sodium, he decided to start buying the low sodium version which has about 400 milligrams per can.
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7. Canned Tomatoes and Sauce
Making your own tomato sauce can take some time. Therefore, I can understand buying your own jar of it when preparing a meal after work. Although it doesn’t taste as good as homemade, convenience and speed will frequently make bottled sauce your first choice.
One serving of bottled tomato sauce has about 480 mg of sodium. Depending on your choice, canned tomatoes can have almost the same. After adding cheese and bread to your meal, the sodium level in one meal exceeds what you should consume in one day.
8. Cold Cut Sandwiches
A typical cold cut sandwich is made with processed meats. They are preserved by curing, smoking, salting, drying or canning. Processed meats contain a ton of sodium. There are studies linking them to chronic diseases including high blood pressure 8.
The most common processed meats include the following:
- Hot Dogs
- Deli Meats
- Cured Bacon
- Corned Beef
- Canned Meat
- Cured Meat
In addition to the cured meat, many cold cut sandwiches contain other items which can raise blood pressure fast. I’m unsure about you, but many people love pickles, cheese and maybe ketchup added on to a sandwich.
The bread used to make the sandwich is high in carbs which can help spike blood sugar and blood pressure. Read more about bread below.
9. Fast Food
Fast food is loaded with sodium, saturated fat and sometimes excess sugar. The sodium and excess sugar can raise blood pressure instantly after consuming the fast food. The saturated fat can help raise blood pressure over the long-term.
The American Heart Association recommends about 1,500 mg of sodium per day 7. Although people who sweat a lot during the day will require more sodium than that. Many foods have much more than that in just one serving. One popular fast food meal contains 1,785 mg of sodium alone.
Pasta, particularly refined, is high in carbohydrates. One cup of cooked spaghetti contains 42 grams alone 9. Eating a lot of pasta at once can result in a sharp rise of blood sugar levels. This occurs because carbs are broken down into glucose quickly.
Increases in blood sugar activate the sympathetic nervous system which raises the heart rate and blood pressure 10.
Bread, like Pasta, is a refined carbohydrate. Most nutrition experts agree refined carbs should be eliminated from your daily nutrition as much as possible. Refined carbs have been stripped of most of its vitamins, minerals and fiber 11.
These carbs lead to spikes in blood sugar and insulin right after eating them. This can activate the sympathetic nervous system which makes the heart beat faster and constricts blood vessels. Eating a good amount of bread can help increase blood pressure immediately.
By the way, a quick keto tip about bread.
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12. Sugary Cereals
You know the ones. Most of the breakfast cereals marketed towards children are loaded with sugar. Some of them even have sugar in their name!
Starting your day with these sugars will spike your blood sugar and insulin 12. This will raise your blood pressure by increasing your heart rate.
I’m okay eating the healthy foods containing sugar like fruit. It’s the added sugars to food, especially processed corn syrup. Sugar can make you gain weight which alone puts you at risk for high blood pressure.
In addition, there’s strong evidence that sugar can raise your blood sugar and insulin levels. This activates the sympathetic nervous system causing an immediate increase in blood pressure and heart rate 13.
For the same reason as cake, donuts can raise your blood pressure immediately after binging on a box 14. After all, it’s difficult to eat just one of them.
I identified 25 foods to avoid for short and long-term blood pressure. I wrote a blog post on it which you can visit here, 25 Foods to Avoid With High Blood Pressure.
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- Wiley Online Library: Blood pressure effects of monoamine oxidase inhibitors in response to orally administered tyramine in the rat
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Sodium-to-Potassium Ratio and Blood Pressure, Hypertension, and Related Factors
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Sodium Intake and Hypertension
- National Center for Home Food Preservation: Preparing and Canning Fermented and Pickled Foods
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Pickle Consumption is Associated with Body Mass Index and Blood Pressure among Iranian Female College Students: a Cross-Sectional Study
- American Heart Association: How much sodium should I eat per day?
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Processed and unprocessed red meat consumption and hypertension in women
- NutritionData: Spaghetti
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- National Center for Biotechnology Information: High-glycemic index foods, hunger, and obesity: is there a connection?
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Added sugars drive coronary heart disease via insulin resistance and hyperinsulinaemia: a new paradigm
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The effects of a glucose load and sympathetic challenge on autonomic function in obese women with and without type 2 diabetes
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Added Sugar Intake is Associated with Blood Pressure in Older Females