Today, people spend too much time indoors: not enough sunlight, not enough nature. We get up in the dark, ride to work, often stressed-out in traffic, spend 8-9 hours in a building and return home in the dark. Others today who are working from home are getting up, going straight to the home office and barely seeing the light of day through the window.
This lack of outdoor time negatively impacts health and causes conditions which can lead to hypertension/high blood pressure. The remedy is an easy one, although creating the habit may be a bit more challenging. Bring it on, right?! Spend time outside in the sun and/or nature every day.
Nature and sunshine are tremendously restorative:
Vitamin D – Studies have shown that a higher concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D leads to lower blood pressure. The heart is asking for this vitamin as blood vessels in the heart have a large number of Vitamin D receptors. High blood pressure tends to increase in the winter among people who are further from the equator since sun exposure is limited throughout the year.
Unfortunately, 40-75% of the population is deficient in Vitamin D. It is important to note that for every 10% increase in Vitamin D there is an 8.1% decrease in the risk of hypertension. It is worth getting outside and increasing our levels directly via sunlight. We don’t all live at the equator therefore in some cases supplementation is necessary.
Your amazing body makes Vitamin D (actually a hormone) when your skin is exposed to the sun’s rays. The strong rays that help us produce Vitamin D only exist for a few months out of the year in much of the United States. Take advantage of those days while you can and increase your Vitamin D stores. Get outside and be a human solar panel for as long as weather allows and consider supplementing as the weather gets colder and darker. Another option is to purchase the Sperti sunlamp which has been proven to increase D levels.
Keep in mind that UVB rays are the rays that allow you to make Vitamin D. On the other hand, these are also the rays that will burn your skin. Moderate time in the sun will allow you to take advantage of those healthy rays provided you don’t burn.
Nitric Oxide – Nitric Oxide metabolites are abundant in human skin. Sunlight alters the levels of Nitric Oxide (NO) in the skin and in the blood. When skin is exposed to sunlight, a small amount of NO is transferred to the circulation. NO plays a critical role in helping to lower blood pressure. This molecule relaxes the blood vessels, which allows for dilation and free-flowing blood throughout the body. This process lowers the risk of high blood pressure.
Although our bodies can produce nitric oxide, many people do not make enough to keep their cardiovascular system working smoothly. You can obtain nitrates from foods such as beetroot and dark leafy greens and supplements work particularly well. For an easy option mix this Heart Beet Powder and Vessel Support with water or any smoothie.
Sunshine Reduces Stress: Exposure to sunlight increases serotonin, boosts mood and increases a sense of calm and peace. Need a reason not to don those fashionable sunglasses? Consider this: serotonin, the happy hormone, is produced when sunlight hits the retina. Let the happy in! Studies have shown that serotonin is produced in the skin as well. Get out in that sunshine and soak up the rays as there are so many reasons to spend more time outside!
The sun’s rays also stimulate the skin to make beta endorphins which are produced to reduce stress. Stress initiates the release of vasoconstricting hormones that can lead to high blood pressure. Sadly, stress is pervasive in society today: traffic, endless phone calls, 60 hour weeks with no relief in sight. But a fantastic way to relieve the tension and strain is to simply step outside, go for a walk, sit in the sunshine – all without sunglasses. The mighty sun can combat stress leading to so many other benefits.
Nature and High Blood Pressure:
It is no secret that we all need to get outside more often, even if you live in a city. The more dense the trees and the more you immerse yourself in nature, the lower your stress levels. However, seeing just one tree can reduce your stress level.. Even gazing out the office window at the nearest greenery does indeed make a difference. Whenever possible, go outside even when the sun isn’t shining.
Lives are busy, we don’t get outside as much as we should, we work too much and when we do go out we wear sunscreen. But sunshine and nature are medicine and ignoring this leads to poor health and high blood pressure. Exposure to UVA rays dilates blood vessels and lowers the risk of hypertension, and studies have shown that staying inside and not getting exposure to sunlight actually increases your risk of cardiovascular disease which is associated with hypertension. Can you commit to spending more time outside? Many of us are working from home and it can be as simple as moving your office to the patio, eating outside and/or setting an alarm to run around the neighborhood every so often.
Natural Heart Doctor has so many ways to help you live a healthier life and lower your blood pressure. Consider this 8 part series: High Blood Pressure: A Natural Treatment Approach. In addition to taking steps to remedy high blood pressure it can be very beneficial to add in supplements. We have a proven, science backed Natural Treatment Blood Pressure Package or the Heart Beet and Vessel Support