Proper circulation of blood is essential to carry oxygen to all parts of your body. Good circulation also ensures needful nutrients have reached your tissues and cells. But, an inadequate flow of blood can lead to many health problems. Thankfully, nature has endowed us with foods that can increase the flow of blood. Note down the list of such blood-flow-enhancing foods, ensure to add them to your diet and you can bid farewell to blood circulation problems.
Poor or inadequate flow of blood can trigger conditions such as diabetes, cardiac disorders, etc. Normal blood flow requires the vessels that carry blood to remain unclogged, free of blocks and debris. Unhealthy habits such as eating excessive quantities of food, smoking, leading a sedentary lifestyle and consuming an unbalanced diet are the top reasons for blood circulation problems.
Circulation of blood is enabled through arteries and veins. Arteries take blood from the heart while veins bring blood into the heart. The muscles in your heart work as a pump. It is this pump that supplies blood to the entire human body. If your blood vessels have debris or blocks in them, flow of blood may get interrupted. But, an adequate flow of blood to all parts of the body is essential to supply antibodies, oxygen, hormones and nutrients essential for the normal functioning of cells. Also, good circulatory health makes way to flush toxic waste with the support of kidneys, liver and lungs.
Foods to consume to increase blood circulation
In general, foods rich in antioxidants (flavonoids), nitrates, vitamins and also foods that help your body to make nitric oxide are known to promote blood flow. Foods renowned for one or more of these aforesaid properties are –
#1. Pomegranate – This fruit is endowed with significant amounts of nitrates and antioxidants (polyphenol). These substances are capable of relaxing your blood vessels; this is done by increasing the diameter of the blood vessels. The good news is it can be consumed either as a fruit or in its juice form. A few supplements of pomegranate are also found to be equally effective.
#2. Cinnamon – This aromatic spice is known to relax blood vessels and can bring about a calming effect. These two are the prerequisites to establish a proper flow of blood. On top it all, it can help in achieving high levels of cardiac health.
#3. Mackerel or salmon (also, similar fatty fishes) – Fatty fishes carry great amounts of omega-3. These fatty acids help in the making of nitric oxide; a substance directly linked to the enhancement of blood flow by dilating the vessels carrying blood. Medical studies have documentary evidences linking intake of fish to a marked improvement in the flow of blood to even remote parts of your body (legs, for instance).
#4. Turmeric – Ancient Indian medicine has always used turmeric to unclog blood vessels. Turmeric is considered to have a substance known as curcumin; this essentially helps your body to make more nitric oxide. Not stopping with this, it can also reduce inflammation of blood vessels as well as lessen associated stresses inside arteries and veins (oxidative anxieties).
#5. Citric fruits – Fruits such as grapefruit, lemons and oranges possess high levels of flavonoids. These fruits can boost the flow of blood by relaxing your blood vessels (especially arteries), and enhance the making of nitric oxide. Dietary experts recommend regular intake of oranges, grapefruit and lemons to decrease blood pressure. All these can lead to minimizing the risks associated with strokes.
#6. Tomato – The angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) is one agent that makes your blood vessels to shrink. Reduction of diameter of blood vessels only means a higher blood pressure due to poor circulation of blood. Tomato aids in lessening the function of ACE and helps restore better blood flow. Medical research has found that tomato to function very much like drugs that inhibit ACE. Tomato is also known to dissuade aggregation of platelets as well as heal inflammation of vessels. These actions also play critical roles in enabling a proper flow of blood.
#7. Ginger – This is an ancient medicine that has been in use for centuries in ancient civilizations like India, etc. Clinical research has needful evidences to substantiate ginger’s properties to lessen blood pressure. Advanced studies (done on animals) have helped infer the similarities between ginger and medicines that control angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE inhibiting drugs).
#8. Cayenne – This pepper is rich in capsaicin; a phytochemical substance. This substance can boost production of vasodilating chemicals such as nitric oxide. Cayenne pepper is specially known for its properties to lessen the plaque or debris on the walls of blood vessels. Addition of these peppers to topical medicines that can relieve pain is ample proof for this herb’s ability to enable proper flow of blood.
#9. Berries – These colourful fruits are rich in anti-inflammatory properties and also possess antioxidants in abundance. Berries can prevent aggregation of platelets (clotting of blood), lessen your blood pressure as well as regulate your heartbeat. Its vasodilating capabilities help in relaxing your arteries, and also make way for proper circulation of blood through both arteries and veins.
#10. Nuts – Especially walnuts contain substances needful to promote the making of nitric oxide – a proven vasodilating substance. The chemicals that help release such vasodilating properties are vitamin E, l-arginine and alpha-lipoic acid (known as ALA, in short).
Walnut is a godsend to those living with diabetes. It is usually diabetics who encounter blood circulation issues more often than others. Walnuts play a big role in reducing inflammation of tissues and also dilate your blood vessels. The anti-inflammatory properties of walnuts help repair damage of vessels, a common problem with those with high levels of blood sugar.
#11. Greens – Spinach or similar types of greens contain a high percentage of nitrates in them. It is these nitrates that help your body to make vasodilating substances such as nitric oxide. Regular intake of greens such as spinach has led to a significant drop in blood pressure levels.
Vessel dilating capabilities of greens (the more leafy they are, the better for your blood vessels) facilitate easy flow of blood to all remote parts of your body. Over a longer term, regular consumption of greens has been directly linked to lowering of risks associated with strokes as well as other heart problems.
#12. Beets – These can be taken either in a powder form or as a juice. Beets are renowned sources of nitrates. As mentioned, nitrates are the raw materials to make nitric oxide – a substance known for its blood vessel dilating properties. In turn, this substance helps in the flow of blood to tissues of muscles; thanks to enlargement of blood vessels.
Beets are also known to enhance availability of oxygen; added supply of oxygen works well to decrease the time taken for blood to clot and also reduces blood pressure. As an added health benefit, beets also help repair inflammation of blood vessels.
#13. Onions – They have abundant amounts of antioxidants (flavonoids); these substances help promote cardiac health. Onions play a bigger role in relaxing both veins and arteries. Clinical research has evidences to substantiate improvement in arterial flow of blood due to a regular intake of onions. The vegetable also can repair the walls of veins and arteries; mainly due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
#14. Garlic – This is a very popular herb and is known for its ability to promote cardiac wellbeing as well as better circulation of blood. Garlic has a substance called allicin. This is a compound with significant sulfur content; this helps widen vessels that carry blood and also helps reduce blood pressure. Scientific studies have proven that flow of blood through arteries – especially in the topmost part of your hand – can get better with the regular intake of garlic.
#15. Oats – These grains are packed with copious amount of anti-inflammatory agents. Their fiber-rich texture helps decrease blood cholesterol. The steel-cut variant of oats may be chosen if you are conscious of having a gluten-free diet. To top it all, presence of antioxidants in it can help restore overall wellbeing of your heart.
Apart from these foods, you can also take pumpkin seeds or flaxseeds which possess sizeable amounts of omega-3 fats. Among fresh vegetables, cucumbers are helpful in removing toxins from your system, apart from an abundant presence of anti-inflammatory properties. Also, asparagus is a great natural diuretic, known for a sizeable presence of potassium. You can consider taking radish and drink coffee; each of them can play a vital role in boosting blood circulation.
To sum up, foods that are rich in nitrates and antioxidants are known to promote circulation of blood. Inadequate supply of blood may cause medical conditions like cardiac disorders, diabetes, etc. Proper flow of blood is enabled when debris or blocks are cleared away from your blood vessels. An overconsumption of foods (leading to obesity), lifestyle habits such as smoking and a sedentary lifestyle remain as foremost reasons for circulation related disorders.
Circulation of blood can also be boosted by reducing stress (through techniques that relax your mind), pursuing a workout plan (at least 35 minutes of yoga, cycling or walking regularly), stopping to smoke tobacco products, keeping your body well-hydrated (drink upto seven to eight glasses of water every day) and eating a diet with low glycemic index. You can also take nutrients like vitamin C, magnesium and calcium to promote better flow of blood.