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Does Eating Pork Cause High Blood Pressure?

author image Natalie Stein
Natalie Stein specializes in weight loss and sports nutrition. She is based in Los Angeles and is an assistant professor with the Program for Public Health at Michigan State University. Stein holds a master of science degree in nutrition and a master of public health degree from Michigan State University.
Does Eating Pork Cause High Blood Pressure?
Fresh raw pork loin. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/ Images

High blood pressure, or hypertension, increases your risk for kidney disease and stroke, and a healthy diet and lifestyle lowers your risk for developing high blood pressure. Pork may have the reputation of being unhealthy, but no single food causes high blood pressure. Most healthy individuals can include pork as part of a balanced diet for a healthy blood pressure.

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A high-sodium diet causes high blood pressure, and pork products vary in their sodium content. Fresh pork is not naturally high in sodium, and a loin chop has about 192mg sodium in a 263g, or about 8-oz., serving. Processed pork products, such as cured ham or luncheon meats, may be high in sodium, and each ounce of salt pork has 404mg sodium. The recommendation is to have no more than 2,300mg sodium per day to prevent high blood pressure, or 1,500mg per day if you already have high blood pressure, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Other Nutrients

Pork can cause high blood pressure if you regularly eat pork instead of foods with other essential nutrients. For example, omega-3 fatty acids may lower your blood pressure, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Fatty fish and shellfish are excellent sources, but pork does not contain these fats. Your blood pressure may be higher if you often choose pork for your protein source instead of low-fat dairy products, which have calcium, because calcium helps regulate blood pressure, according to the Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center.

Weight Control

Eating pork can cause high blood pressure if it contributes too many calories to your diet. Obesity is a risk factor for high blood pressure, and you gain weight when you eat more calories than you expend. In moderation, leaner cuts of pork can be part of a calorie-controlled diet because a pork chop has 40 calories per ounce, but a fatty meat, such as cured salt pork, has 212 calories in a single ounce.


A Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, diet can be a guide for including pork in your diet while maintaining a healthy blood pressure. This eating pattern may lower high blood pressure or prevent hypertension, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A 2,000-calorie DASH diet includes no more than 6 oz. per day of lean proteins, such as pork, poultry, eggs and fish.

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