June 10, 2018/Nutrition

Are You Cooking Meat? Higher Temps = Higher BP Risk

Study finds more heat could raise blood pressure

Are You Cooking Meat? Higher Temps = Higher BP Risk

You may have heard that eating grilled meat that is charred can put you at higher risk for high blood pressure. But it’s not just outdoor cooking that’s the culprit. Any high-temperature cooking — grilling, roasting or broiling — can increase your chances of developing hypertension.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

“When you cook the meat to high temp and you char it, there’s a certain chemical that starts to form that may lead to high blood pressure over time,” says preventive cardiologist Haitham Ahmed, MD.

Identifying a link

Researchers confirmed the link between high-temperature cooking and high blood pressure in a study that followed more than a 100,000 people over the course of 12 to 16 years. The results show that those who frequently cooked red meat, fish or chicken at higher temperatures were more likely to develop high blood pressure.

“The people who had the highest risk were grilling 15 times a month — that’s every other day,” Dr. Ahmed says. The study found that those in this group had a 17 percent higher risk of hypertension than those who cooked their meat at high temperatures only four times per month.

The cooking method wasn’t the only factor that boosted hypertension risk. The study also found that those who ate the most charred meat had a 17 percent higher risk of high blood pressure. Those who ate their meat well-done boosted their risk by 15 percent.

Why it matters

High blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, strokes, or kidney and heart failure, but generally has no symptoms. Even if you aren’t aware you have it, it can still damage your heart and blood vessels.

That’s why it’s important to have your blood pressure checked regularly and to understand what the numbers tell you about your heart health. If you do have high blood pressure, getting it under control can help you reduce your overall risk of heart disease or other life-threatening conditions.

The bottom line

If you’re wondering whether you should toss out your grill (or broiling pan), the short answer is no. Moderation is the key.

Dr. Ahmed says you don’t need to give up open-flame cooking and other high-temp methods completely. But it is a good idea to limit how often you grill your meat — maybe once or twice a week — and try to avoid charring. He also recommends cutting down on red meat in general, which typically comes with more sodium.

From Dr. Ahmed’s perspective in his focus on prevention, you should aim for a comprehensive approach to managing all the risk factors for high blood pressure — from being overweight to having a sedentary lifestyle. It’s important to develop lifestyle changes that emphasize exercise, a healthy diet and stress reduction, he says.


Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

Big open jar of pickles
May 22, 2024/Nutrition
Are Pickles Good for You?

Pickles are low in fat and calories and rich in some vitamins and minerals, but they’re usually high in sodium

Person reflecting on food and exercise
May 9, 2024/Mental Health
The Importance of Understanding Your Eating Habits

Learning about your relationship with food can help improve your eating behaviors and patterns

Bowl of partially peeled tamarind
May 8, 2024/Nutrition
5 Reasons To Try Tamarind

With a sweet, tangy flavor, this tropical fruit is super versatile and high in antioxidants

Yogurt, granola, fruit parfatis, with fruit on cutting boards
April 26, 2024/Lung
What To Eat When You Have COPD

A change in diet won’t cure COPD — but getting to or maintaining a healthy weight will help

Person on scale, questioning muscle weight vs. fat weight
April 12, 2024/Exercise & Fitness
The Difference Between Muscle Weight vs. Fat Weight

Both are needed for a healthy body

Turkey wrap cut in half on butcher board, with lettuce, tomato, cheese, onion
April 3, 2024/Nutrition
Is Your Sandwich Healthy? What About Your Wrap?

Wrapped or sandwiched, try to choose fillings and condiments that are minimally processed, low in saturated fat and high in fiber

Person monitoring nutritional intake on smartphone app while eating a salad
April 1, 2024/Weight Loss
How Many Calories Should You Eat in a Day?

It depends on factors like your age, activity level and if you want to maintain, lose or gain weight

Variety of cereals in different bowls
Here’s What To Know About Choosing Cereal if You Have Diabetes

There are better breakfast options, but if it’s got to be cereal, look for whole grains, high fiber and no added sugar

Trending Topics

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

woman snacking on raisins and nuts
52 Foods High In Iron

Pump up your iron intake with foods like tuna, tofu and turkey