Is it Possible to Eat Pizza for People With High Blood Pressure: Scientists Have Answered

High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease. According to information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high blood pressure affects a huge number of adults worldwide.

High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease. You can improve your blood pressure by making lifestyle changes, including dietary changes, such as limiting your sodium intake.

Because pizza is considered a high-sodium food, you may think you need to cut it out of your diet; however, with careful planning, you can still enjoy it occasionally.

Blood pressure

Blood pressure is the force of blood flow to the walls of the arteries, measured by two numbers – systolic and diastolic. Systolic represents the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart is beating, while diastolic measures the pressure between beats.

Normal blood pressure is 120 systolic and 80 diastolic. If your systolic is 140 or higher and your diastolic is 90 or more, your blood pressure is considered high.

The extra pressure on your artery walls can damage your blood vessels, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.

Sodium and blood pressure

Sodium is a mineral that your body needs to balance fluids. Some people are genetically predisposed to retain more sodium in their blood. High levels of sodium in the blood increase thirst, causing the body to retain more fluid and increase blood volume. Increased volume increases blood pressure. People who are sensitive to sodium need to be especially careful about the amount of sodium in their diet. On average, the higher the sodium intake, the higher the blood pressure, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Sodium in pizza

Pizza is a high-sodium product due to its cheese and sauce. The sodium content can vary depending on the ingredients and toppings. One slice of cheese pizza with a traditional crust from a chain restaurant usually contains 490 to 900 milligrams of sodium per slice.

Add pepperoni, and the sodium increases to 680-1010 milligrams per slice. Vegetable toppings are best, but depending on the restaurant, they may still contain sodium. One slice of vegetable pizza contains an average of 490 to 730 milligrams of sodium.

Pizza and your diet

The American Heart Association recommends eating foods with little or no added salt, and aiming for less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. If you’re tracking your daily sodium intake, you can occasionally include one slice of plain cheese pizza.

You can also make a low-sodium pizza at home using low-sodium sauce, low-sodium cheese, and a fresh vegetable topping.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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