We know of blood pressure as the pressure of blood on the arterial walls, that is determined by the thickness of the blood, velocity, thickness of the arteries, blood vessels and various other factors. In medical terms it is measured as diastolic and systolic pressure, which determines a high value and a low value of the pressure of blood on artery walls and organs throughout the body.
Diastolic is the low value that is calculated when the heart rests between each beat, and systolic is the high value that is calculated when the heart pumps blood, which is read as systolic over diastolic pressure. For example, the ideal high and low for blood pressure is 120 and 80 so it is read as 120 over 80. When the pressure goes above or below this average, we refer to it, as high blood pressure, that is hypertension or low blood pressure which is called hypotension.
Now as we know, our blood pressure is affected by various factors, in fact we can say that it has a gradual fluctuation cycle throughout the day. The body also has a balancing mechanism that regulates this pressure as much as possible, when it gets high or low. Food is known to have an effect on blood pressure, and not only that, blood pressure often rises after meals. Now how does this take place, is it the food, the digestive mechanism or any other function causing this. Compiled below is all related information on the rising levels of blood pressure after eating.
Increase in Blood Pressure After Eating
It is evident that the change in cardiac output will directly affect the blood pressure, this is a basic consideration for the velocity of blood, followed by other factors like the thickness of the blood vessels and arteries. Viscosity is determined by thickness of the blood. With these two factors, blood pressure gets affected after meals.
- After a meal, the major function of the body is to break down the food eaten, that is digestion of food. This process requires oxygen, which aids the release of certain digestive enzymes and acids. To enable this, oxygenated blood must flow to the blood vessels in the stomach. The body signals the heart for more amount of blood supply to the GI, this makes it work faster, hence faster cardiac output. Which may be the cause for increase in blood pressure after meals.
- An increase in plasma proteins and blood cells can lead to increased thickness of blood. The type of foods that you eat also make a difference to the viscosity of the blood. Oil, butter, and foods that contain fat can cause more amount of fats in the blood, which gets carried as the blood flows, this decreases the blood flow, which demands more supply of blood by the heart, increasing cardiac output. Foods high in sodium causes excess pressure on the heart and lungs, as more sodium will trigger water retention, and the extra water puts pressure on lungs and heart.
- A low fiber, high fat diet can affect the viscosity of the blood and directly affect blood pressure. So any abnormal blood pressure increase after eating is most likely due to the food consumed.
One must understand that a slight rise in blood pressure after meals is temporary. The blood pressure will normalize once the food gets digested and the heartbeat returns to normal again. The increase in blood pressure after eating is not a disorder, it is just a process that the body performs, that is: priority to supply blood whenever a particular organ needs it. So now we know there is a rise in pressure of the blood after meals and also the many factors causing it. So help the body in this balancing mechanism, eat a healthy diet and avoid any strenuous exercise immediately after eating food. Give the body time and space to normalize and focus on one function at a time!