5 Not So Obvious Things That Can Lower Blood Pressure

By on May 24, 2014

We all know the basics of lowering blood pressure: exercise, eating right, not smoking, reducing alcohol intake, reducing salt intake, reducing stress, and medicine. But what about the not so obvious things? We’ve gathered the top 5 “not so obvious things” you can do to lower your blood pressure.

5 Tips That May Lower Your Blood Pressure

Shinrin-Yoku

Shinrin Who? Shinrin-Yoku. Shinrin-Yoku is the practice of combining mindfulness with nature. It is also known as Forest Bathing. Forest Bathing is basically spending time in nature but in a mindful way. In many cases you don’t talk and you absolutely disconnect from electronics. In doing so you are able to hear the rustle of leaves, the scattering of wildlife, and absorb all the rich smells of nature. Participants are asked to participate in the walk using all 5 senses. A study done in Japan found that people who participated in Forest Bathing reduced their levels of the stress hormone cortisol by approximately 16% more than those who walked in an urban environment. It doesn’t take long. A mere 15 minutes in the forest can do a body good.

Fermented Cod Liver Oil

Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO) is basically fish oil amplified. FCLO contains a lower amount of Omega 3s than fish oil but provides enough fatty acids to help you absorb the additional vitamins and nutrients found in the supplements. In 2012, the Icelandic Medical Journal published a study on dietary habits and their association with blood pressure among older Icelandic people. They found that taking cod liver oil lowered blood pressure among older people. FCLO contains vitamin D which is one of several nutrients that may help prevent high blood pressure. Not all fermented cod liver oils are created equal. The gold standard in FCLO is said to be Blue Ice. It isn’t cheap but the benefits are vast. As always, discuss taking supplements including vitamins with your doctor.

Standing More

We’ve become a nation of sitters and it is time to stand-up.

Sitting excessively is bad for our bodies. It increases morbidity rates, blood pressure, blood sugar, and body fat. The answer is simple. Get out of your chair! Standing-up just two hours per day may help lower your blood pressure. Unfortunately, exercise is not enough. You can exercise but still be considered sedentary. You must make a conscious effort to walk, stand, and change positions with frequency.

Reach Out and Hug Somebody

Women who frequently hug their partner tend to have lower blood pressure than those who hug less or not at all. When you hug, your body may release a hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin is known as the “cuddle hormone”. Cute right? The hormone may help you feel more calm and may help lower your blood pressure. A team from the University of North Carolina studied the effects of hugging. Their study supported the fact that hugs increase levels of oxytocin in women and reduce blood pressure.

Avoiding Second Hand Stress

Stress is contagious. If you have high blood pressure I’m sure you’ve done everything within your power to reduce the stress in your life but what about the people you surround yourself with? When I had a cubicle life, I sat next to a guy that would get so worked up. He would yell at people on the phone, moan, groan, turn red, stand up, and boy did it wear on me. His life wasn’t my life but just being near him stressed me out. Psychology Today answers the question “Is stress contagious?” in one word…yes. Watching a stranger go through a stressful event can raise your cortisol levels by 10% *. Watching a loved one go through a stressful even can raise your cortisol levels by as much as 40%. This isn’t to suggest that we should avoid helping our loved ones, it is to suggest we need to be aware. If you have high blood pressure it may be time to evaluate the people in your life. If you have toxic relationships it may be time to move on. Studies show your health may be on the line if you don’t.

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