Having good blood circulation is vital to our overall health. Circulation is controlled by your heart, which pumps blood through the arteries and feeds the body’s tissues. It removes waste throughout the body and carries it to where it can be broken down.
Through circulation, blood delivers nutrients and minerals throughout the body, stimulating cell growth and healthy organ function. The air we breathe is transported by the blood from the lungs throughout the rest of the body.
So what can you do to improve your circulation and your overall heart health? There are many lifestyle changes you can make, including your diet. Let’s take a look at some of the foods that improve circulation, that are both healthy and delicious.
Green tea is packed with antioxidants, which widen the blood vessels in the body, increasing blood flow. The benefits of drinking green tea have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system. It’s recommended to drink two to three cups of green tea daily to improve circulation.
This herb is another powerful antioxidant that improves circulation by opening the blood vessels. It can be used as both a preventative effort or to reverse the effects of poor circulation. It improves blood flow to the brain, which is why it is credited with improving memory as well.
There are several different types of fruit that can improve circulation. Oranges and others high in Vitamin C are natural blood thinners, while strengthening capillary walls. Watermelon is high in lycopene, which is commonly taken for preventing heart disease, and can improve circulation.
It’s recommended to eat raw nuts, as cooked nuts tend to be more acidic. Walnuts and almonds are high in vitamins A, B, C and E and magnesium and iron. These nutrients all contribute to improving blood circulation.
Cayenne pepper is spicy because it contains capsaicin, which stimulates blood flow. Cayenne stimulates the heart and strengthens capillaries and arteries.
Dark chocolate contains cocoa, which has been known to improve blood circulation. The flavanols in dark chocolate can stimulate the lining of the arteries, producing nitric oxide, which then relaxes the arteries. Be sure to select a chocolate that contains at least 70 percent cocoa.
Other Things You Can Do
Improving your circulation can be done by more than adding these foods to your diet. Besides incorporating these foods into your diet, limit your salt intake and reduce caffeine and alcohol.
If you’re experiencing cramping in your legs, elevate them to take the pressure off your veins. Make sure they’re elevated above your heart to promote vein function and blood flow back to the heart. Elevate them for 20 minutes to relieve swelling.
A great way to improve your circulation is with exercise because it gets your blood pumping. According to the American Heart Association, vigorous aerobic activity benefits the heart, lungs and circulation, and the organization recommends at least 90 to 150 minutes each week.
If you’re experiencing circulation issues, you may have claudication, a symptom of PAD. Check out our guide, Understanding Leg Pain Caused By Restricted Arteries.