Do Peanuts or Peanut Butter Increase High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, indicates a high level of pressure in the arteries. The heart has to pump blood more forcefully because there's plaque build-up narrowing the passageways. Certain foods raise blood pressure, while others help lower it over time. It's tricky with peanuts, because with too much you could raise your blood pressure, but with just the right amount you can actually contribute to lowering high blood pressure.

A piece of toast with peanut butter. (Image: bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images)

When Peanuts and Peanut Butter Can Raise High Blood Pressure

Sodium contributes to high blood pressure, so any salt added to peanuts or peanut butter can increase high blood pressure. Read the labels on peanut butter jars and peanut packages to confirm there's no salt added to them. Because they contain saturated fat, eating peanuts or peanut butter to excess could cause high blood pressure, since too much saturated fat clogs arteries.

When Peanuts and Peanut Butter Can Lower Blood Pressure

When you eat peanuts or peanut butter in moderation, they could help lower blood pressure, as recommended in the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, eating plan. Peanuts give you fiber, potassium, magnesium, and the amino acid arginine, all of which may help lower blood pressure. DASH allots one serving of nuts four to five times each week, which would be one-third cup of peanuts or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. When you use peanut butter to replace butter or margarine, you're working to lower your blood pressure, since these raise high blood pressure.

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