15 Foods That Increase Blood Pressure and Should Be Avoided

Foods that increase blood pressure

High blood pressure can damage your heart, brain, kidneys, and cause a number of other complications such as disabilities. There are certain foods that increase blood pressure naturally. To avoid high blood pressure, you need to avoid salt, maintain a healthy weight, exercise, and have a good lifestyle. Certain foods can increase blood pressure quickly, so it is recommended to avoid such foods to keep your blood pressure in control.

Blood pressure is the pressure that circulating blood exerts on the walls of the blood vessels. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) above the atmospheric pressure. The blood pressure reading has two numbers. The top indicates the systolic blood pressure that is the highest pressure when the heart beats, and pushes the blood around the body. The bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure that indicates the lowest pressure when the heart relaxes between beats. At this time, the heart fills with blood and gets oxygen.

The below blood pressure reading shows the blood pressure levels:

Range Condition
90/60 or less Low blood pressure
Between 80/60 and 120/80 An ideal and healthy blood pressure.
Between 120/80 and 140/90 A bit higher than average, known as pre-hypertension
140/90 or higher A high blood pressure or hypertension


If the systolic reading is between 130 and 139, and diastolic between 85 and 89, this condition is called prehypertension. Hypertension is categorized into stage 1 and stage 2. In stage 1, the systolic reading is between 140 and 159. The diastolic reading is between 90 and 99. In stage 2 hypertension, systolic reading is between 160 and 179, while the diastolic reading is between 100 and 109. If both readings go beyond these numbers, which is above 180 and 110, it leads to “hypertensive urgency.”

Research has shown that only in some cases the systolic reading is a bit high. This also is a matter of concern and should be addressed immediately. In this case, the systolic reading would go beyond 160, whereas the diastolic reading would be around 90. This condition is called “isolated systolic hypertension.”

15 Foods That Increase Blood Pressure

Here are the top 15 foods to avoid if you have high blood pressure.

1. Chinese food

Chinese foods could contain more than two days worth of sodium. Beef with broccoli contains around 3,200 milligrams of salt.

Meanwhile, “healthy” soups such as hot and sour, contain 7,980 milligrams of salt. Soy sauce or teriyaki sauce used in Chinese food contains 1,000 milligrams of salt of sodium per tablespoon. The calorie content of Chinese food is high, as the vegetables are sautéed in a large amount of oil.

2. Noodles

Prepacked noodles, cup of noodles, ramen noodles, and other convenient foods that can be made in minutes are the top foods that increase blood pressure. A packet of ramen noodles contains 986 milligrams of sodium. The flavor packet has the highest amount of sodium.

3. Lunch meats

Lunch meats are cured, seasoned with salt, and preserved with additional salt to last longer. A two-ounce serving of such processed meat may contain more than 600 milligrams of sodium. Sandwiches made of cold cut meats or sausages, and loaded with cheese, pickles, condiments, and other high sodium ingredients are considered foods that increase blood pressure.

4. Red meats

Red meat in form of steaks and roasts are tempting but are also loaded with cholesterol. These are considered foods that increase blood pressure naturally. Red meat is bad for the heart and blood vessels. One pound of raw rib-eye steak has 254 milligrams of sodium and 308 milligrams of cholesterol. The sodium and cholesterol content increases based on the cooking method.

5. Bacon

A 100-gram serving of reduced sodium, pan-fried or roasted bacon has 1,030 milligrams of sodium and 110 milligrams of cholesterol. It is one of the most loved foods for breakfast, but you must also bear in mind that it is one of the foods that increase blood pressure.

6. Frozen pizzas

Although a quick dinner option, it is one of the foods that increase blood pressure. A single serving of the frozen pizza has 1,000 milligrams of sodium. Pizza has cheese, tomato sauce, cured meats, and crust—all of which have some amount of sodium. To preserve the flavor, manufacturers add additional salt and preservatives to it, which makes it even riskier for hypertensive as well as health-conscious people.

7. Frozen pot pies

A single serving of 234 grams of prepared, frozen pot pie contains 889 milligrams of sodium, 54 milligrams of carbs, and 56 milligrams of cholesterol. Generally, most of the prepackaged frozen meals are loaded with sodium, and it is better to avoid them to keep your blood pressure in control.

8. Canned tomato products

Canned tomato juice, canned tomato sauce, pasta sauce, or purees are foods that increase blood pressure. A cup of canned tomato juice has 654 milligrams of sodium. A serving of spaghetti with meat sauce has 1,300 milligrams of sodium. High-sodium content is detrimental to health.

9. Canned soups

Everyone loves a hot soup on a cold winter day, but canned soups have a high amount of sodium and are one of the foods that increase the blood pressure. One 305-gram can of chicken soup contains 1,910 milligrams of sodium. Consuming fresh soups made at home is extremely good for health.

10. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is the best way to add veggies to pork sausage, but a cup of canned sauerkraut has 939 milligrams of sodium. It is one of the foods that increase blood pressure naturally.

11. Pickles

Pickles are generally soaked in a brine that has a high concentration of salt with some added ingredients. A cup of pickle contains 1,251 milligrams of sodium. People suffering from high blood pressure should definitely avoid pickles.

12. Alcohol

A small serving of alcohol isn’t harmful, but too much of it can increase blood pressure. People suffering from high blood pressure should avoid consuming alcohol. It may interfere with blood pressure medications and hamper its effectiveness.

13. Baked foods

Tempting cakes, crispy cookies, fresh pastries with colorful icing are loaded with sugars, saturated fats, and sodium-rich leavening agents. These foods increase blood pressure, blood sugar, and lead to obesity which may further increase blood pressure.

14. Donuts

Deep-fried donuts have around 255 calories. They are loaded with fats, carbs, and sodium. These fried sweets contain more trans fat than peanut butter, chocolate bars, or chips. This is one of the many junk foods that increase blood pressure quickly.

15. Energy drinks

According to a study published in The JAMA Network Journals, the consumption of energy drinks showed a 6.2% increase in systolic blood pressure, 6.8% increase in diastolic blood pressure, and the average blood pressure after consumption of the energy drink increased by 6.4%. So, these drinks should be avoided if you want to maintain a normal level of blood pressure, especially if you are hypertensive. Do check out the list of foods below which help reduce the blood pressure naturally.

10 Foods That Lower Blood Pressure

1. White beans

Consuming calcium-rich foods such as white beans help lower the blood pressure, according to Dr. Ann Wellness. A cup of cooked white beans provides 16% of the recommended daily intake of calcium and 37% of iron. It is a rich source of protein (about 17 grams) and has 11 grams of dietary fiber per cup. Always choose no salt added or well-rinsed, low-sodium canned white beans.

2. Flaxseeds

According to a study published in Hypertension, the consumption of flaxseeds reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The compounds alpha linolenic acid, peptides, lignans, and fiber from flaxseeds may reduce blood pressure.

3. Fat-free yogurt

In various studies published in Journal of Human Hypertension, researchers have linked low-fat dairy such as yogurt and milk to a reduced risk of hypertension. A 100-gram serving of plain fat-free yogurt contains 118 milligrams of calcium and 11 grams of proteins. You can have it as a snack or add it to your salads.

4. Dark chocolate

According to a meta-analysis in BMC Medicine, dark chocolate or cocoa products contain flavanols that reduce the systolic or diastolic blood pressure in hypertension or prehypertension patients. According to another study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, cocoa-derived products that are rich in flavanols form nitric oxide that helps ease the blood flow and lowers the blood pressure naturally.

5. Beetroot

A study published in Nutrition showed a reduction in systolic blood pressure six hours after patients drank beet and apple juice.

6. Olive oil

A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension states that a diet containing polyphenol-rich olive oil decreases the systolic and diastolic blood pressure, especially in women with mildly high blood pressure.

7. Pistachios

People with high LDL cholesterol who consumed one to two servings of pistachios daily for four weeks, showed a reduction in systolic blood pressure compared to the ones who consumed more servings, as per a study published in Hypertension.

8. Pomegranate

Study results published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition state that drinking more than a cup of pomegranate juice every day for four weeks causes a drop in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

9. Hibiscus tea

Drinking three cups of hibiscus tea daily for six weeks normalized blood pressure in people with prehypertension or mild high blood pressure, according to researchers from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center.

10. Whole grains

A study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that people who consumed three servings of whole grains showed a reduction in systolic blood pressure.

Plant-based foods help keep the blood pressure in control and must be included in the diet. High blood pressure can be fatal if not treated. So, it is always best to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, a balanced diet, and avoiding the foods that increase the blood pressure.

Stress has been linked to a rise in blood pressure. It is essential to manage your stress well and practice some stress-busting techniques such as yoga and meditation. Also, it is essential to get your blood pressure checked by a doctor every three to five months. If the doctor prescribes hypertension medication, it is imperative to not miss your dose. Hypertensive people can lead a very good life if they keep this condition under control through diet, exercise, and prescribed medication.