What happens to our blood pressure after we eat?
According to the recommendations of the European Society of Cardiology, blood pressure is considered normal for a person as long as it remains below 140/90 mmHg. Above these values, high blood pressure sets in, which is one of the main causes of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction (heart attack), strokes, heart failure, etc.
The good news is that high blood pressure can be prevented or controlled. In both cases, a healthy diet is the basis on which the whole attitude of prevention or control of high blood pressure is built. It is well known that a high salt intake may increase the risk of high blood pressure or may be a factor in blocking the action of antihypertensive drugs. An unhealthy diet often leads to obesity, which, in turn, can trigger high blood pressure. On the other hand, a healthy diet is extremely important in fighting obesity.
An interesting fact is that our blood pressure can record variations after eating. Postprandially, much of our blood is redirected to the digestive tract to aid digestion. As a result, there is a temporary decrease in blood pressure. To compensate for this tendency, blood vessels outside the digestive tract contract and the heart starts beating faster and stronger. This helps maintain normal blood pressure throughout the body.
Some people have a persistent drop in blood pressure after eating. This happens when, for one reason or another, the blood vessels outside the digestive tract do not contract themselves. Thus, postprandial arterial hypotension appears. A person with high blood pressure is more likely to have postprandial hypotension, especially as it can cause complications such as: fainting, falling, nausea, dizziness, vision disorders, angina or chest pain.
Fasting for long periods can also cause a drop in blood pressure. In addition, it increases a person’s risk of developing electrolyte imbalances and deficiencies of essential nutrients.
It should be known, however, that certain foods (those high in salt and/or saturated fat) may increase blood pressure after consumption.