Hazel wrote: My blood pressure is controlled with medication and doesn’t cause a problem for me unless I eat certain foods. I have been sensitive to soy for over 20 years, and have become sensitive to other foods since then. Soy, corn, turkey, nuts, shrimp, and sometimes beans all cause a rise in my blood pressure usually a few hours after consumption. I have been to the ER several times for this as my blood pressure medications will not bring it down. My Dr prescribed additional medication to take when pressure goes over 160. It usually wakes me around 3:00 AM when pressure rises to 180/90 or higher. The additional medication does lower it to around 140/75. Most Dr’s don’t think the issue is related to food because they tell me my blood pressure would decrease, not increase if I had a food allergy. Around ten years ago I was diagnosed as having food sensitivities, not a food allergy, although sometimes I wonder as I also get headaches, lightheaded and gastrointestinal issues. I saw a holistic Dr around two years ago, and was told the food sensitivity issue could be related to a sluggish liver. I do not have liver disease, but am usually bloated.
I just ran across your website and was surprised to see others experience high blood pressure from food. Does my situation sound unusual?
Dear Hazel, For someone experiencing high BP from food you are not unusual. Unfortunately, food sensitivity separate from allergy is uncommon, and to have high BP as your most troublesome symptom is even more uncommon. Headaches, and gastro problems and are more common food sensitivity symptoms also part of food sensitivity, not allergy.
The other part of food sensitivity that makes it uncommon is that each food sensitive person has two parts to their sensitivity Most find that if they reduce what I call “the usual suspects” reduced in the Low Chemical Diet – additive colour, flavour, most preservatives, salicylates, amines and MSG as well as all smells, their overall symptoms decrease. Then they have individual differences in whole foods they react to – hence your soy, corn, turkey, nuts shrimp and sometimes beans.
You can do two things that will make you feel better.
One is to search this site, particularly in the section called Articles and read all the free articles on Amines, Blood pressure, Histamine intolerance, and Tyramines. These reassure you that you can react to the most likely culprits – amines. But attention to the other suspect chemicals is worth doing as well. See http://www.foodintolerancepro.com/articles/
The second is to do what I can “diet detective work” to investigate your own diet and clarify further the detail of what you have very clear reactions to, and other foods that add up to headaches, gradual BP increase and gastro problems. You can just keep on excluding your main suspect foods and any further ones you note. Or you can do the whole investigation using my latest book Your Diet for Your IBS, newly published in 2020. It provides all the detail you need as steps you can use. Another bonus of this diet investigation is that it tells you how to reduce foods that cause bloating as part of your diet investigation.
When reading the Articles one important idea you will find for your own situation is that it is often amines that are the natural chemicals that cause high BP reactions (and often crampy gut pain too) and that amines increase in food as it is stored longer.
Soy and corn may be tolerated as a very small amounts in cooked products that are otherwise low additive, low flavour.
Turkey: the amount of amines in all meats depend on how aged the meat is before cooking, and how many days after cooking it is served. I remember a patient how had severe symptoms after eating turkey from a luncheon meat roll.
Nuts: some are higher in natural chemicals than others, and how stale they are matters too.
Shrimp: there are still individual differences in which shellfish cause reactions. I have patients who can manage seafood if it has been taken from the water that day, and kept chilled until cooked. You can get Your Diet for Your IBS from AmazonKindle to read for US$5.00 or from my site to download in your computer and print out important pages. Be assertive that diet does have a role for you. Those who doubt you can come to this site and read all the articles on the complexity of food sensitivity. All the best Joan