A recent study has revealed that skin can play an important role in controlling blood pressure. The research was conducted by scientists at the University of Cambridge and the Karolinska Institute, Sweden. The researchers show that skin helps to regulate blood pressure and heart rate in response to changes in the amount of oxygen available in the environment.
"Given that skin is the largest organ in our body, it perhaps shouldn't be too surprising that it plays a role in regulating such a fundamental mechanism as blood pressure," said Randall Johnson, a professor at the University of Cambridge.
The research was, however, done on mice by exposing genetically modified mice to low oxygen conditions replicating high altitude conditions. It was seen that there is an effect on the heart rate, blood pressure and skin temperature of the mice which lacked in one of two proteins in the skin (HIF-1a or HIF-2a).
Andrew Cowburn, a senior research associate at the University of Cambridge, stated: "These findings suggest that our skin's response to low levels of oxygen may have substantial effects on the how the heart pumps blood around the body."
Though the study was done on mice, the researchers explained why it is likely to be true in humans. They said that when the heart tissue is starved of oxygen which can happen in areas of high altitude, or due to smoking, obesity or in response to pollution, the blood flow to that tissue will increase. During such situations, the increase in blood flow is controlled in part by the 'HIF' proteins.
Dr Andrew Cowburn added: "Low oxygen levels -- whether temporary or sustained -- are common and can be related to our natural environment or to factors such as smoking and obesity. We hope that our study will help us better understand how the body's response to such conditions may increase our risk of -- or even cause -- hypertension."
However, you can keep a check on your blood pressure by following a proper diet. Here are five foods that you must include in your diet to keep your blood pressure in check:
Berries are rich in natural compounds called flavonoids. This compound is actually good and prevents hypertension and lowers blood pressure. So include blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries to your everyday diet.
Olive oil is known for its healthy fat as it contains polyphenols inflammation-fighting compounds that can help in reducing blood pressure. You can add it as an alternative to butter and also in salads.
Pomegranate is a healthy fruit that you can have raw or enjoy its fresh juice. According to a study, drinking one cup of pomegranate juice once in a day for four weeks can help in lowering blood pressure.
According to American Heart Association, it was found that women who ate five or more servings of yoghurt in a week experienced a 20 percent reduction in the risk of developing high blood pressure. So, add it to your salad and make it a part of your diet.
Lemon is considered to be one of the best remedies for hypertension. It makes the blood vessels soft and flexible and helps in lowering blood pressure level.