Monday June 17, 2019

Remembering Your Partner Can Help You Keep Your BP Down

If replicated, the findings could have implications for those facing everyday stressful situations, the researchers added

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blood pressure
BP-monitoring machine. Pixabay

Having a romantic partner present — even in your mind — can help you keep blood pressure down in daily stressful situations, say researchers.

When faced with a stressful situation, thinking about your romantic partner may help keep blood pressure under control just as effectively as actually having your significant other in the room with you, according to a study by University of Arizona psychologists.

“This suggests that one way being in a romantic relationship might support people’s health is through allowing people to better cope with stress and lower levels of cardiovascular reactivity to stress across the day,” said psychology doctoral student Kyle Bourassa.

Night-owl women not for long-term relationships: Study
In stress? Remember your romantic partner and keep BP down. pixabay

“It appears that thinking of your partner as a source of support can be just as powerful as actually having them present,” Bourassa added.

For the study, published in the journal Psychophysiology, 102 participants were asked to complete a stressful task — submerging one foot into 3 inches of cold water ranging from 38 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Researchers measured participants’ blood pressure, heart rate and heart rate variability before, during and after the task.

The participants, all of whom were in committed romantic relationships, either had their significant other sitting quietly in the room with them during the task or they were instructed to think about their romantic partner as a source of support during the task. In third scenario, they were instructed to think about their day during the task.

Blood Pressure
Representational image. Flickr

The effect on blood pressure reactivity was just as powerful whether the partner was physically present or merely conjured mentally.

“The findings may help explain, in part, why high-quality romantic relationships are consistently associated with positive health outcomes in the scientific literature,” said Bourassa.

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If replicated, the findings could have implications for those facing everyday stressful situations, the researchers added. (IANS)

Next Story

Don’t Stand and Eat, it May Up Stress and also Mute Taste Buds

The vestibular sense, which is responsible for balance, posture and spatial orientation, interacts with the gustatory sensory system

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Stress, Taste Buds, Eat
Posture impacts taste perception, with food tasting better when you are sitting down. Pixabay

Researchers have found that spending more time standing up and eating for even a few minutes prompts physical stress, muting taste buds.

The study, published in the Journal of Consumer Research finds posture impacts taste perception, with food tasting better when you are sitting down.

The researchers looked specifically at how the vestibular sense, which is responsible for balance, posture and spatial orientation, interacts with the gustatory sensory system, which impacts taste and flavour.

“This finding suggests that parents might be able to make unpleasant-tasting, healthy foods seem more palatable to reluctant children by having them eat standing up (vs. sitting down). In a similar vein, it might be beneficial to maintain a standing posture when consuming pharmaceutical products that have unpleasant tastes,” said study lead author Dipayan Biswas, Professor at the University of South Florida in the US.

Stress, Taste Buds, Eat
Spending more time standing up and eating for even a few minutes prompts physical stress. Pixabay

The research team found that the force of gravity pushes blood to the lower parts of the body, causing the heart to work harder to pump blood back up to the top of the body, accelerating heart rate.

This activates the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and leads to increased concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol.

This chain reaction reduces sensory sensitivity, which impacts food and beverage taste evaluation, food temperature perception and overall consumption volume.

When people experience discomfort, foods that normally taste good do not appear as pleasant to the palate, said the study.

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The research team confirmed their hypothesis by having 350 participants rate the tastiness of a pita chip. Those who were standing gave it a less favourable rating than those who were sitting in a padded chair.

They expanded the study by inducing additional stress and asked participants to try fruit snacks while carrying a shopping bag. Both sitting and standing participants reported the additional weight made the food item taste even worse. (IANS)