Top 9 Foods That Raise Blood Pressure: Avoid These High BP Foods

Key Takeaways:

1. Impact of Salt
: Consuming large amounts of salt can lead to water retention, increasing blood volume and pressure on arterial walls. This can reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure-lowering medications and affect kidney function.

2. Recommended Sodium Intake
: The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium intake to 2,300 mg daily, with an ideal target of 1,500 mg for adults, especially those with high blood pressure. Even reducing sodium consumption by 1,000 mg daily can improve heart health.

3. Foods to Avoid
: Certain foods can contribute to elevated blood pressure, including licorice, condiments high in salt and sugar, processed red meat, frozen foods, foods with added sugar, energy drinks, alcohol, pickled foods, and instant noodles.


In the fast-paced rhythm of modern life, health often takes a back seat. Amidst the hustle of daily routines, we unknowingly consume items that can elevate our BP, leading to health issues.

Today, we explore a crucial aspect of cardiovascular health: the impact of our dietary choices on blood pressure. We will navigate you through the foods that increase blood pressure, shedding light on unsuspecting culprits.

Avoiding the wrong foods in high blood pressure management is equally important. You will also get insights to make heart-smart choices. Let's uncover hypertension and the foods that play a role in its rise.

Salt and Blood Pressure

Eating large amounts of salt makes your body retain more water. This extra water increases your blood volume, increasing the pressure on your arterial walls. High salt intake can even reduce the effectiveness of the blood pressure-lowering medications that you might be taking. High salt levels also affect your kidneys, hormones, and blood vessels.

Salt is essential when consumed in appropriate amounts. But nowadays, it is easy to over consume salt because of the increased popularity of salty fast foods. Hence, when consuming any food, you should check the amount of salt in it.

AHA (American Heart Association) recommends not having more than 2,300 mg of sodium daily. But ideally, most adults, especially those with high blood pressure, should restrict it to 1,500 mg daily. However, even reducing sodium consumption by 1,000 mg daily can improve heart health.

Sodium plays a critical role in maintaining fluid balance and homeostasis. Hence, it is essential to remember that salt is not an enemy, it is excessive salt consumption.

Foods that Increase Blood Pressure

Along with eating the right food, you should also be aware of the food to avoid in high BP.

1. Foods Containing Liquorice

Licorice root, or Mulethi root, carries a sweet taste and finds utility in herbal medicine and the food industry. Licorice is 50 times sweeter than sucrose and has a prolonged taste. Therefore, it is a typical ingredient in candies, cakes, chewing gums, and cookies.

However, the sweetness comes with a caveat – licorice can spike your blood pressure. For individuals already grappling with high blood pressure, consuming licorice can escalate the issue further.

A study was conducted with 64 healthy individuals who consumed licorice daily. The study revealed that their average blood pressure increased after 2-4 weeks. The rise was directly proportional to the amount of licorice ingested, affirming its hypertensive properties. Consequently, individuals with high blood pressure should steer clear of licorice.

2. Condiments

An image with different condiment foods that can increase blood pressure
Image by KamranAydinov on Freepik | Condiments that can increase BP

Condiments come with a dual threat – excessive salt and sugar. Beyond just spicing up your meals, they can contribute to elevated blood pressure.

Whether it's ketchup, barbecue sauce, or sweet dressings, these seemingly harmless additions pack sodium and sugar. One tablespoon of soy sauce contains nearly 1,000 mg of sodium and about a gram of sugar. One tablespoon of tomato ketchup can have about 300 milligrams of salt and about 4.1 g of sugar.

Sodium increases your blood pressure. Added sugars raise blood sugar, causing weight gain and insulin resistance, increasing overall risk. 

Balance your choices by opting for low-sodium and low-sugar options.

3. High-Processed Red Meat

Highly processed red meat has large amounts of salt and saturated fats. The manufacturers add a lot of salt to the meat to preserve it.

Limit the consumption of red and processed meat to 70g or less per day. Instead of red meat, you can get your proteins from fish, shellfish, or plant sources like beans, peas, lentils, and nuts.

4. Frozen Foods

Frozen foods harbor a threat to our cardiovascular well-being. Many frozen meals conceal a significant amount of sodium.

While freezing doesn't inherently introduce sodium, preservation methods often involve a high salt content. Sodium's presence makes the body retain water, leading to an increase in blood volume and subsequently elevating blood pressure.

When perusing the frozen food aisle, it's crucial to scrutinize labels for sodium levels. Opt for options with lower salt content to prioritize your heart health.

5. Foods with Added Sugar

Image showing different foods high in sugar that can lead to high BP
Image by azerbaijan_stockers on Freepik | Foods with added sugar that can increasse BP

Sugar improves the taste of certain foods during the preparation and processing. As a result, foods such as desserts, candies, sweet snacks, and sugary beverages contain large amounts of added sugar.

People consume these food items without realizing the amount of calories they consume. Added sugar has no nutrients but adds calories to your diet. This leads to obesity and increases your odds of developing high BP. These foods also increase your blood sugar levels, also increasing your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. 

American Heart Association recommends that added sugars shouldn't be more than 6 percent of your daily calories. It means less than 100 calories or six tablespoons per day for women and less than 150 calories or nine tablespoons for men.

6. Energy Drinks

Energy drinks have become quite popular globally, and their consumption has increased considerably in recent years. Even though many different brands sell energy drinks, most have the same key ingredients, i.e., water, sugar, and caffeine.

Energy drinks have a large amount of added sugar, which is terrible, and about 80-141 mg of caffeine. Moreover, consuming caffeine can immediately increase your blood pressure. Hence, you should avoid energy drinks if you struggle with hypertension.

7. Alcohol

Alcohol can increase your blood pressure. Hence, if you have high blood pressure, your doctor will probably ask you to limit your alcohol consumption.

According to AHA, to prevent high blood pressure, limit your alcohol consumption for men to two drinks per day and for women to one drink per day.

8. Pickled foods

Pickled foods, those tangy delights come with a hidden sodium overload. The pickling process, a concoction of salt, water, and sometimes vinegar, not only preserves but also significantly heightens sodium.

A typical pickle contains about 15 to 20% salt. Sodium in the salt triggers water retention in the body, amplifying blood volume and pushing pressure levels northward.

Opt for homemade or low-sodium alternatives to savor the tang without compromising your heart health. Moderation is your ally here.

9. Instant Noodles and Soups

An image of instant noodles in a bowl
Image by azerbaijan_stockers on Freepik | Instant Noodles

Instant noodles and soups often carry a heavy burden on your blood pressure. Packed with sodium for preservation and flavor, they can tip the scales toward hypertension. Regular consumption can lead to water retention, escalating blood volume, and rising blood pressure. A typical packet of instant noodles can contain about 3 g of salt.

Opt for low-sodium alternatives or, better yet, prepare homemade versions for a heart-smart approach.

But having foods high in trans fats can raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. This can increase your chances of developing high blood pressure and worsen it if you already have hypertension.

List of Everyday Indian Food High in Salt

  1. Salted Lassi: Approximately 0.5-1 g per 100 g.
  2. Salted Nuts: Approximately 1-2 g per 100 g.
  3. Samosa: Approximately 1-2 g per piece.
  4. French Fries: Approximately 0.5 g per 100 g. 
  5. Soya Chaap: 1-2 g per 100 g.
  6. Tandoori Roti: 1-1.5 g per 100 g. 
  7. Biscuits: 1-1.5 g per 100 g. 
  8. Bread: 1-1.5 g per 100 g. 
  9. Cheese (Processed): 1.5-2.5 g per 100 g. 
  10. Canned Vegetables: 0.5-1 g per 100 g. 

FAQ’s about Hypertension Food

Let's take a look at some question people have about food and hypertension.

1. Does tea increase blood pressure?

Tea, particularly green tea, has compounds that may support your heart health. While it contains caffeine, its impact on blood pressure is generally mild. Moderation is essential, and opting for decaffeinated versions can be a wise choice for those with hypertension.

2. How to reduce blood pressure instantly?

Quick reductions in blood pressure are challenging, but deep breathing, relaxation techniques, and staying hydrated can have short-term benefits. However, a wholesome lifestyle with frequent exercise and a balanced diet is crucial for sustained improvement.

3. Does coffee raise blood pressure?

Coffee's caffeine content can temporarily raise your blood pressure, but the effect is usually modest for regular drinkers. Individuals vary in sensitivity, so moderation is crucial. Decaffeinated coffee may be suitable for those aiming to manage blood pressure.

4. What to do when blood pressure is high?

If your blood pressure is high, focus on BP calming activities like deep breathing. Ensure you're well-hydrated, and consider avoiding stimulants. If high blood pressure persists, consult a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.

5. Does sugar spike blood pressure?

High sugar can increase weight and insulin resistance, indirectly affecting blood pressure. Limiting added sugars in your diet is a sensible step for cardiovascular health.

6. Which salt is good for high blood pressure?

Opt for low-sodium options like Himalayan pink salt or sea salt in moderation. However, reducing overall salt intake, regardless of the type, is crucial for managing high blood pressure.

7. When to consult a doctor?

Regular blood pressure monitoring is essential. Consult a doctor if you consistently observe elevated readings and experience high BP symptoms like headaches or dizziness. If lifestyle changes aren't effectively managing your blood pressure. Early intervention is critical in preventing complications.


Avoiding foods that increase your blood pressure is crucial to keep your heart healthy. Foods high in sodium, saturated fats, and refined sugars can significantly increase blood pressure. 

Conversely, a balanced diet rich in fiber, potassium, and magnesium from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can naturally aid in blood pressure control. Go for low-sodium and low-sugar options, stick to homemade food, and be mindful about what you eat. 

Aware Health Rewards app for hypertension management offers a holistic approach, facilitating lifestyle modifications, monitoring, and education for effective blood pressure regulation. By embracing healthier dietary habits and leveraging innovative apps like AWARE, you can proactively manage blood pressure and improve your overall well-being. 

Also read: The ABCs of High Blood Pressure: Range, Symptoms, and Prevention Explained

About the author:

Lucky Mehtani
, B. Pharm, merges his healthcare expertise with a passion for writing to enhance India's heart health. Through insightful blogs, he provides well-researched information on managing Diabetes, Hypertension, and High Cholesterol, aiming to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
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