What do ultra-processed foods do to your blood pressure?
Eating a diet high in ultra-processed foods can lead to highly variable blood pressure between day and night, according to new research from Brazil.
Eating a diet high in ultra-processed foods can lead to highly variable blood pressure between day and night, according to new research
A team of researchers in Brazil gave more than 800 participants ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and collected their blood pressure measurements every 20 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes at night, as well as their consumption of foods and drinks over 12 months.
Ambulatory monitoring, they write in their paper – published in the Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases Journal – has been found to be a more accurate method of measuring blood pressure.
The participants also recorded what time they woke up and fell asleep each day.
They found that participants who ate a high level or ultra-processed foods had more variability in their systolic blood pressure during sleep, which measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. High variability over the long term has been associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular-related death.
This group of participants were also more likely to experience extreme nocturnal dipping, which can put people at great risk of heart attacks.
In contrast, the researchers also found that eating unprocessed and minimally processed food reduced blood pressure fluctuations between the day and night.
Blood Pressure UK has more information on healthy eating and the types of food to eat.
“There is a wealth of research indicating the many negative implications a diet high in ultra-processed food can have on our health,” says Professor Graham MacGregor, Chair of Blood Pressure UK.
“This is an important study that shows specifically how ultra-processed food can have a direct impact on our blood pressure.
“These findings further emphasise the importance of eating a healthy, balanced diet that’s high in fruit, vegetables and wholegrains, low in salt and with a minimal amount of ultra-processed food.”