Sunlight Can Also Play an Important Role in Stroke Prevention
Previous research8, 9 has shown that reducing your systolic blood pressure by 20 millimeters (regardless of how high your blood pressure currently is) decreases your risk of stroke by 50 percent. Reduce it by another 20 mm, and you cut your individual risk in half yet again. One way to naturally reduce your blood pressure is through exercise. Another is by making sure you’re getting enough sun exposure. Recently published research 10 from Great Britain shows that exposure to sunlight reduces high blood pressure by altering the level of nitric oxide in your skin, which dilates your blood vessels. As reported by CTV News:11“To conduct the study, the team analyzed 24 volunteers who were exposed to ultraviolet (UVA) light from tanning lamps for two 20-minute sessions… ‘Small amounts of NO (nitric oxide) are transferred from the skin to the circulation, lowering blood vessel tone,’ said Martin Feelisch, a professor of experimental medicine at the University of Southampton in southern England… ‘Avoiding excess sunlight exposure is critical to prevent skin cancer, but not being exposed to it at all, out of fear or as a result of a certain lifestyle, could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.'”Of course, exposing your skin to the sun also helps optimize your vitamin D level, and vitamin D deficiency may actually DOUBLE your stroke risk.12 Ideally, you’ll want to maintain a vitamin D level of 50-70ng/ml year-round. Interestingly, previous research13 also suggests that inducing nitric oxide (NO) actually helps protect your skin against UV damage.Another crucial element in the normalization of blood pressure is to address insulin and leptin resistance, which is present in about 80 percent of the population from eating far too many carbohydrates and not getting enough exercise. If you have high blood pressure and are overweight, your first step is to eliminate all grains, sugars and processed foods and increase healthy fats, like avocado, coconut oil, butter, and nuts.