How Does Blood Pressure Increase After Eating?

iJupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Understanding Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the measure of pressure exerted within your arteries by the blood being pumped out and the pressure within your arteries when the heart rests. The heart pumps blood out to the body and blood flows back into the heart. Normal blood pressure is 120/80, read as "120 over 80." The first number is the systolic number. This is the pressure in your arteries when your heart contracts and pumps blood out. The second number is the diastolic number, representing the pressure when your heart is at rest.

Eating and Blood Pressure

When you eat a meal, your body digests the food, breaking it down for dispersal. If the content of your meal is largely fat and carbohydrates, your digestive system will disperse fats and carbohydrates.

Effects on Blood Pressure After Eating

If the viscosity of your blood -- its thickness -- is increased due to excessive fats stored throughout the body, and which your blood picks up in its travels, your blood flow is slowed. This forces the heart to work harder, which increases pressure within your arteries, thereby raising blood pressure.

A study at the Osaka City University in Japan showed a marked increase in blood pressure in young, healthy men 5 hours after they had ingested high fat foods. The same men were given low-fat meals and tested 5 hours later: there was no increase in blood pressure. Low-fat foods lower blood pressure

Diet Makes the Difference

The tiny blood vessels that provide oxygen-rich blood to your heart are adversely affected by too much of the wrong kinds of fats. Eating and blood pressure are directly related to the viscosity of your blood. The viscosity of your blood affects the flow of blood in your body depending on fat content. If your blood pressure increases too much after you eat, you may be eating the wrong kinds of fats and too many carbohydrates.

A diet low in saturated fats and high in fiber, found in fruits and vegetables, will reduce the amount of fats stored in your body, thus lowering the viscosity of your blood and keeping your blood pressure in check.