While certain foods can directly affect blood pressure (BP), the mechanism of your digestive system when it digests foods may also have an effect. Your BP can fluctuate during and after eating. And it is normal since the cells of your digestive system need more oxygen supply to work. But while typically eating a meal can increase your BP, sometimes BP may decrease after eating.
As well we know, the heart is a vital organ of the body. It has crucial function in your cardiovascular system. It regulates the distribution of the blood all around the body.
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But it doesn’t work alone. It is supported by a lot of blood vessels. The blood flows through these blood vessels.
Basically, the fluctuation of your BP is dependent on what your body needs. Each time when any cells of your body need more supply of oxygen and nutrients, your heart will respond naturally.
For instance, when walking or running, the cells of your muscles require more oxygen to support your activity. For this reason, your heart will increase its heart rate in order to pump more blood faster.
And this fast distribution of blood through your arteries increases the pressure against your artery walls. Therefore, your BP increases during exercise.
Did you know that your BP can vary throughout the day? The daily pattern of blood pressure fluctuation throughout the day may vary from person to person. But in general, a few minutes before falling asleep, during sleep, and about 2 hours before you wake up are the range of time when your BP is typically at its lowest levels.
Once you wake up, it then gradually increases until it reaches its optimum level in the mid-afternoon. Then it decreases gradually afterwards. For more in-depth information about this, visit this section!
Each cell of your body needs plenty of oxygen and nutrient to keep functioning, including for cells of the stomach and other parts of the digestive system.
Your digestive system is very complex. Like other organs of the body, your stomach and intestines have lots of arteries called arterioles.
Most foods that you eat are not in a form that your body can absorb and use as nourishment. Therefore, they need to be digested.
Foods will be processed and converted into smaller molecules of nutrients. The digestion starts from mouth, gastric (stomach), and eventually completed in your small intestine.
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Most smaller molecules of nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine and then go into the bloodstream. The nutrients then will be distributed through blood flow to nourish all cells of the body.
The way of how your digestive system digests food is very complex. This involves the balance of coordination between circulatory, nervous, and digestive system itself.
But don’t worry, this is usually temporary. The effect of this digestion process on your BP is similar like the temporary raised BP when you exercise. As the process of breaking down food decreases – your BP will gradually return at its normal levels on its own.
Since there is more blood that flows to your digestive system and than to your brain, you may tend to feel sleepy after eating. That’s why, it’s recommended to allow a few minutes before you continue your daily activity.
In addition, while the mechanism of your digestive system to digest foods can cause a temporary raised blood pressure, some foods can directly affect your BP and put it at dangerous levels (stage I and stage II hypertension).
Foods high in salt and saturated fats can raise BP and LDL (bad cholesterol – it stands for ‘low density lipoprotein’), see also good and bad foods for your BP and blood cholesterol in this section!
As you age, the ability of your body to respond a sudden change of blood pressure (such as after meals or when you get moving from lying down to standing) decreases.
Typically, blood pressure increases naturally after you take a meal – as noted before. But there is also condition medically called as postprandial hypotension. It is a medical condition to call low blood pressure that occurs after meals.