Healthy blood circulation in the legs means your tissues are able to absorb important nutrients from the bloodstream and your veins can return blood to the heart, limiting risks of venous insufficiency. There are many ways that you can maintain healthy blood circulation – such as regular exercise, sitting in positions that aid circulation (such as raising the legs), and wearing compression stockings. What you may not know is that there are many foods that you can eat that will help to improve and maintain healthy blood circulation as well. Read on to learn more..
Cayenne has been found to improve blood flow, strengthen the heart, increase the metabolic rate and also strengthen arteries and blood vessels. it comes as a dried spice, fresh pepper, in capsules or as a liquid tincture.
Tip: Cayenne pepper is best eaten raw sprinkled over salads or stirred into tea with honey.
Raw Dark Chocolate
The flavonoids in cocoa can help improve circulation, however make sure it is raw dark chocolate. The processing that occurs with cocoa destroys much of the flavonoids. Dark chocolate can benefit cardiovascular health, but to get the maximum anti-oxidant boost raw is best. Raw cacao as opposed to commercial cocoa is rich in minerals, particularly magnesium and high in flavonoids. Be aware of the sugar content however, as most commercial raw chocolate still contains agave which is as bad as if not worse than sugar.
Tip: Eat in moderation. You may like to make your own chocolate at home (recipe at bottom). If you have diabetes or are prone to being overweight it is best to avoid chocolate and focus on some other circulation boosters.
Ginger has been found to increase blood circulation by promoting normal blood pressure and keeping blood sugar levels normal, therefore reducing the risk of damage to cells.
Tip: Great freshly grated in stir fries, added to your fresh juice, or in tea.
Garlic has many healthy advantages, one of them being that it is a natural blood cleanser. It also prevents plaque buildup on vessels and stimulates blood flow.
Tip: Cook with fresh, crushed garlic and add it to all of your pasta sauces and stir fries. Fresh, crushed garlic is a great addition to salad dressings too.
High in fibre, iron and anti-oxidants, goji berries work to increase circulation by producing red blood cells, lowering blood pressure and strengthening vessel walls.
Tip: You can get goji berries in most natural health food stores and some supermarkets. Add to your breakfast cereal for a flavourful circulation booster!
Sunflower seeds / pumpkin seeds
The Vitamin E in sunflower and pumpkin seeds can help prevent blood clots and work to improve circulation.
Tip: Make a natural nut and seed mix and have a small handful as a snack throughout your day.
Oranges and other citrus fruits
The vitamin C nutrient in citrus fruits is a natural blood thinner and can also prevent the buildup of plaque on vessels which can contribute to poor circulation. In addition, citrus fruits are loaded with anti-oxidants which strengthen vessel walls.
Tip: Make citrus one of your “2 fruits every day”.
Watermelon and other reddish fruits
The red colouring found in fruits such as watermelons, tomatoes, apricots and grapefruits comes from a natural antioxidant called lycopene. Lycopene is a natural circulation booster.
Tip: Include at least one red fruit or vegetable in your daily intake. The best way to maintain all or most of the nutrients in fresh foods is by eating uncooked fresh foods. If you need to cook vegetables, steaming is the healthiest way as it holds most of the nutrients in.
The omega-3 healthy fat found in oily fish (such as salmon, trout and tuna) is a powerful circulation booster as it helps to thin the blood, reduces blood pressure and decreases the risk of blood clots forming.
Tip: Aim to have a meal of fish and fresh vegies at least once or twice each week. Wild caught fish is best as farmed varieties may have higher concentrations of mercury. Baking or steaming fish is a healthier option to fried, deep-fried or battered fish.