The blood circulation system is the transport system of the body. Blood serves to deliver nutrients, oxygen, metabolites and even waste metabolites like carbon dioxide, urea, uric acid etc.
Improper or reduced blood flow can cause several health problems like pain, muscular weakness, numbness, cardiac problems, blood pressure, digestive problems, renal disorders etc.
There can be various reasons for poor circulation. Most of the time there is an underlying disorder like obesity, diabetes mellitus, peripheral artery disease. Unhealthy lifestyle also poses an important role in the decreased blood flow. Smoking, excessive alcohol, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, lack of exercise are major reasons behind circulatory disorders.
Not only people with poor circulation but athletes and even many common people want to improve blood flow. A good circulatory health is the key to an active and healthy life even in older age. Unfortunately, in the present age, circulatory and cardiac issues are becoming common even in young adults. The significant reasons are again bad lifestyle as well as bad eating habits.
Medical science has various treatments for circulatory disorders starting from medication to surgeries.
Although medication is effective, there are also certain foods that increase blood flow. Only an amendment in your diet can also lead to an increase in blood circulation. In this article, you will get to know about the foods that should be given a try to improve your health.
While taking these foods one thing should be considered carefully that if a person is having any kind of food allergy from any specific item, it should be completely avoided.
Here is the list of few among such foods that are a part of almost every kitchen. The need is just to focus on them in a proper and regular way.
The cayenne pepper has a major ingredient named capsaicin which is responsible for its spicy flavour. Besides addition of flavour to food, this item holds great benefit when it comes to blood circulation. It promotes the blood circulation in tissues by lowering the blood pressure by releasing nitric oxide and certain other vasodilators that are helpful in expanding the blood vessels. Vasodilators relax the muscles of the blood vessels and allow the blood to flow conveniently through the blood vessels. Along with strengthening blood vessels, Cayenne pepper reduces the build-up of plaque in arteries. The pepper is also used in various medicines like pain-relieving creams.
Fruits are always a rich source of nutrients and are considered a mandatory part of a healthy diet. With special reference to pomegranate, it is highly rich in vasodilators like polyphenol antioxidants, nitrates etc. it contains three times more vasodilators than green tea and red wine. Pomegranate consumption in the form of juice, raw fruit or even as a supplement improves the blood circulation.
Pomegranate juice reduces the stiffness of arteries and lessen the deposition of plaque and build up of cholesterol. All these function help to strengthen the blood circulatory system by helping to protect free radicals, damage of cells and reduction of inflammation.
Various studies have been performed to prove the effectiveness of pomegranate. A study conducted on a few active people determines that ingestion of 1000 mg of pomegranate extracts before exercise, improves blood flow, the diameter of blood vessels and improves performance.
Another study conducted on weightlifters demonstrated that 500 ml of pomegranate juice taken before or during weight lifting can reduce soreness, muscle deterioration and inflammation in weightlifters.
Onions are a rich source of flavonoid antioxidants which are good for heart health. Onions improve blood circulation by widening the arteries and veins during blood flow. The vegetable has anti-inflammatory properties that can boost circulation by reducing inflammation and causing dilation of blood vessels.
A cup of coffee not only helps you get up in the morning but also helps in improving blood flow up-to 30%.
Cinnamon is another spice that has various health benefits including increased blood circulation. It improves the flow of blood and dilates coronary artery that supplies blood directly to the heart.
Research shows that cinnamon reduces the blood pressure by relaxing the muscles of the blood vessels thus improving circulation and keeping the heart healthy. In another study performed on a group of people having diabetes shows that 1200 mg of cinnamon intake reduces blood pressure up to 3.4 mm of Hg only in 12 weeks.
Garlic is well prominent among food items due to its beneficial effects on hearts and blood circulation system. Garlic has sulphur compounds including allicin that increases blood flow and lowers blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels. It is proven that diet containing high levels of garlic gives better flow-mediated vasodilation indicating blood flow efficiency. Eating two to three raw cloves of garlic per day improves circulation by removing the plaque thus promoting efficient blood flow.
The results of a study conducted on a group of people suffering from coronary artery disease show that patients consuming 1200mg of tablets containing allicin twice a day over a period of three months show a 50% increase in blood flow.
Seafood, especially fish like Salmon, lake trout, herring, tuna and Mackerel are a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids. The fatty acid is beneficial for blood circulation because it releases nitric oxide, a potent vasodilator. The omega-3 fatty acid is also famous for its blood thinning and anticoagulant effects. A low quantity of omega-3 in the blood causes poor blood flow.
Omega-3 fats are helpful in inhibiting the clumping of platelets, therefore, reducing the chances of blood clot formation.
Fish oil supplements are significantly associated with lowering of blood pressure and increasing blood flow in skeletal muscles.
Raw Seeds and Oats
Raw seeds are again a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Seeds like pumpkin, chia, flax are not only rich in fibre but are very effective in reducing cholesterol from the body thus improving blood flow.
Likewise, a whole grain oat is also packed with the same qualities of improving bowel movements due to fibre and increasing blood flow due to anti-inflammatory activity. Oats also reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the body.
Beets or Beet juice
Beets are a quite common food item in the diet of athletes. They supplement their diet with beet powder or beet juice to improve performance by improving oxygen supply to muscles due to the increased blood supply to muscles. Beets are high in nitrate contents, which are converted to nitric oxide by the body. The blood vessel muscles are relaxed by the release of nitric oxide and circulation is improved.
Along with aiding athletes, beets also are beneficial to older people having circulatory problems. In a study conducted on such patients, a significant decrease is found in blood pressure and clotting time is found in individuals drinking a few ounces of beet juice on a regular basis.
Turmeric has a number of health benefits, increasing the flow of blood is one among them. In various old traditions, turmeric has been used as a medicine for various purposes. Here we discuss its importance and efficacy as a blood vessel dilator resulting in improved blood circulation.
The compound responsible for this effect of turmeric is curcumin which helps in increasing the nitric oxide production, reducing oxidative stress and diminishing inflammation. A study has also confirmed increased blood flow in fore and upper arm after 2000mg daily intake of curcumin for a duration of 12 weeks.
Green leafy vegetables are always considered beneficial for health. These are a rich source of vitamins and minerals. Vegetables are also alkalizing food as they are the source of chlorophyll to the body which keeps the circulatory system in good shape. It filters the blood and cleanses the liver.
As discussed above eating nitrate-rich food is good for the circulatory system and green vegetables are a potent source of nitrates, which is converted into nitric oxide, a vasodilator.
Cabbage, spinach, arugula, kale and romaine are good examples of such vegetables.
Citrus fruits are very rich in antioxidants as well as flavonoids. Eating flavonoids rich fruits like lemons, oranges, grapefruits, etc decrease inflammation in arteries which improve blood flow, reduce blood pressure by producing nitric oxide.
A study conducted on 31 people used to drink 17 ounces of orange juice for a week determines a significant improvement in reducing markers of inflammation like IL-6 and CRP as compared to a control group. All these fruits are also good at reducing the risk of stroke.
Walnuts and Almonds
Walnuts are packed with extremely beneficial compounds such as vitamin E, alpha lipoic acid and l-arginine and omega-3. These are the potent stimulators of nitric oxide production proving helpful in the reduction of blood pressure and improving blood flow by enhancing vessel function and decreasing inflammation. Likewise, almonds are also rich in Vitamin E.
Walnuts are particularly useful in people with diabetes, suffering from blood flow issues due to damaged arteries and veins by dangerously high levels of sugar.
The enzyme which is primarily responsible for the constriction of blood vessels and controlling blood pressure is Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE).
Researches have given a result that Tomatoes are a rich source of constituents that can work in the same manner as ACE inhibiting drugs, thus reducing the constriction of blood vessels and improving blood flow.
Test tubes studies have revealed that tomato extract not only inhibits ACE but also disrupts platelet aggregation. Therefore, reducing inflammation and improving blood circulation.
Berries are proved to be healthy because of their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. The fruit reduces inflammation which is the prime cause of damaging blood vessels and hindering blood flow.
Berries have been proved healthy in studies showing effects that can lower blood pressure, reduce platelet aggregation and inflammation markers IL-6 as well as improve the dilation of arteries.
Ginger is an important constituent of every kitchen. It has also been used in various traditional Chinese and Indian medicines for thousands of years. Despite, its other benefits the major reason for its importance is its tendency to lower blood pressure and increase blood flow.
In a study conducted on a group of 4,628 people, it is found that consuming 2 to 4 grams of ginger can reduce the risk of high blood pressure by inhibiting the ACE in the body.
Celery is another vegetable which is packed with nutrients and vitamins. All vitamins are vital for a healthy body, but vitamin K is particularly associated with blood flow. Vitamin K present in celery helps to improve blood flow and improves blood clotting as well as has diuretic properties. It is helpful in removing toxic waste products produced by the body. Celery is commonly used in many detox smoothies, salads and is also taken in the raw form.
Radishes and Maca
Radishes are a bitter vegetable but are a huge source of minerals, particularly potassium. They are considered helpful in keeping blood pressure normal and improving blood circulation. 135mg of blood pressure normalizing potassium is present in just half a cup of radishes.
Another vegetable belonging to this class generally known as the cousin of radish is Maca. This heart-shaped root is unique in its fatty acids that improve blood circulation, reduce inflammation and improve healing of wounds. Maca should not be taken by pregnant women.
Well, studies have shown positive results in terms of effectiveness in increasing blood flow, reducing inflammation in arteries and improving the overall health of the circulatory system while making these foods are part of your daily diet. But this is also a fact that they can be more effective if taken along with right lifestyle choices. Given below are a few amendments in your lifestyle that can help to get more optimized blood flow when adopted concurrently along with these foods.
Smoking is injurious to health and is the basic reason behind various chronic diseases. One of them is negatively affecting blood flow by constricting the blood vessels.
Keeping the body Hydrated
Water is a major content of blood composition. Keeping your body hydrated by intaking a good quantity of fluid is very helpful in improving blood flow. As blood pressure does not arise frequently in a hydrated body and therefore improves circulation.
Being obese or having unwanted weight leads to fat and plaque deposition in body and blood vessels. This leads to narrowing of blood vessels and decreasing blood flow.
Anxiety and Stress management
Stress and anxiety can significantly affect the mental and physical health especially the cardiovascular system of a person. Increased stress levels increase blood pressure. Poor circulation is usually associated with stress because it constricts the blood vessels reducing blood supply to organs.
It is always recommended by health professionals to manage your stress by doing yoga, meditation, gardening or spending time in a healthy company. Regular exercise is also a good practice to improve blood flow by stimulating vasodilation and decreasing circulatory disorders.
In this article, various ways are discussed to boost your blood flow and increase overall blood supply to organs of the body. However, sometimes there may be underlying disorders that are the major cause and reduced blood flow is just a symptom. If you are experiencing the symptoms of blood flow on a repetitive basis even after improving diet and exercise it is a must for you to consult a doctor. A specialist will be in a better position to draft a health profile and suggest the medical solution.
Sometimes you need ginseng, vitamins, supplements or even blood-thinning medicines while considering your physical health. Even then a healthy lifestyle and a good diet can prove a helping hand in making the situation less bad in future.