6 Foods To Add In Your Diet To Boost Circulation & Blood Flow
Blood races through the body like a determined driver during rush hour. As the heart pumps, blood rushes through our blood vessels delivering oxygen, electrolytes, vitamins, and vital nutrients to every part of the body. This is known as the circulatory system. Genetics, age, diet, obesity, disease, can all cause the natural blood flow to become distorted.
Being mindful of the foods we put into our body has been studied to substantially help aid and avoid certain causes for poor circulation. Although these foods should not be used as substitutes for current medications, they can help to aid or prevent future health issues. Always contact your health care provider if you are currently dealing with a severe condition/illness. Here are 6 Foods To Add Into Your Diet To Boost Circulation & Blood Flow.
Who doesn't love garlic? Unfortunately for maximum benefit, this doesn't mean you need to up the garlic bread intake (sorry to disappoint). Studies show, when garlic is cooked over 140 degrees Fahrenheit, it kills the allicin- the beneficial compound that makes garlic so healthy. Instead, garlic ideally should be crushed or finely chopped then left for 15-20 minutes to get the biologically active component. By relaxing blood vessels, garlic can help increase the flow of blood. (1)
In 2017, a study was carried out where 42 people with coronary artery disease consumed garlic powder tablets. The tablets contained 1,200mg of allicin extract twice daily for three months. They experienced a 50% improvement in blood flow through the upper arm artery, compared to a placebo group. (2)
If you like a nice kick of flavour, this one is for you. To lessen the intensity, try adding chopped garlic to a salad or salad dressing. Allicin extract can be purchased online or at most local health stores.
This ancient spice has been dated back to around 2800 BC when it was used in Chinese medicine. The Egyptians and Romans were also very fond of this spice, as it was very rare and even given as gifts to kings. As a high-ranked antioxidant, cinnamon can help with natural immunity and give a boost to your circulatory system.
Cinnamon has been researched for patients who suffer from diabetes and other diseases. It has been found to help significantly lower blood pressure and even reduce cholesterol levels by helping clear plaque in arteries (3)
This flavourful spice is more than the perfect topping for chai lattes or donuts. In traditional Chinese medicine, cinnamon has been known for its capacity to treat and prevent a wide range of conditions and diseases.
The fiery Cayenne pepper is a spice most of us are very familiar with and love. Cayenne is ranked at the top for natural health benefits and it doesn't stop with helping with circulation. As Dr. Schulze says: “If you master only one herb in your life, make it cayenne pepper.” (4)
That flavourful spicy taste from cayenne comes from a main chemical compound called capsaicin. Capsaicin has been studied to help with blood circulation in several ways. The heat helps dilate the arteries and blood vessels helping with the flow of blood. Capsaicin also helps with clearing lipid deposits in the arteries. (5)
Cayenne pepper today continues to be studied by reputable scientists and naturopathic doctors (with amazing results). Their studies include the use of Cayenne to help stop heart attacks, strokes, and even help aid cancer. (6)
According to the National Institutes of Health- An omega-3 fatty acid deficiency can result in poor circulation. Research shows that people who eat one to two servings of fish like salmon per week reduce their heart disease risk by 36%. Salmon, along with other omega-3 rich fish like; mackerel, cod, herring, lake trout and so on, all show to help with the body's circulatory system.
The association of fish consumption with reduced risk from all-cause ischemic heart disease and stroke mortality was found in an ecological study by He Etal. (7) Omega-3 promotes the release of nitric oxide which dilates your blood vessels. This is a substance that helps your blood vessels stay healthy, relaxed, and strong.
Omega-3 in recent years has also been studied to help with various conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Erectile Dysfunction, Arthritis and Crohn's disease. It has even become a known post-workout meal for the ability to bring increased blood flow (thus oxygen) to the skeletal muscles. (8)
Blueberries are a reputable superfood loved by many, especially Neurologists. Blueberries have a significant level of health benefits because of the high levels of anthocyanins, flavonols, vitamins C, E, and manganese. Anthocyanins help support blood vessels by strengthening and improving the contractile functions of the vessels. (9) This helps maintain a healthy blood flow throughout the body.
In a study, researchers investigated the impacts of blueberry concentrate or a placebo for 12 weeks. Blood flow to the brain, cognition and localised activation in the brain was their main focus. Using powerful MRI scanners, many fascinating findings were revealed including; improved blood flow to the grey-matter brain regions, improved working memory and increased brain activity. (10)
Another interesting finding was that the same processes that cause ageing to our skin also impact things like our brain function. This is why blueberries having a high antioxidant level can also play a large part in slowing mental decline. Long term, this can help prevent cognitive diseases like Alzheimer's and Dementia.
The high antioxidant level also helps prevent spikes in cortisol levels by protecting and repairing cells damaged by stress hormones. This is why blueberries also have a reputation to be helpful in disorders such as anxiety. (11)
Ginger is a world-renowned root that was used for almost any and every health concern. It has been dated as far back as 2700 BC in Asia for health care. (12) “At the time when antibiotics and other pharmacy products did not exist, a bulb of garlic itself represented a whole pharmacy industry due to the broad spectrum of effects” author Biljana Bauer Petrovska reminds.
In regards to circulatory benefits, ginger does not fall short. Ginger has been extensively studied as a natural blood thinner, helping prevent blood clots and cardiovascular diseases. (13) Ginger can also help the appearance of more prominent veins like spider veins and varicose veins. The circulatory effects can help break up the protein fibrin in your veins, making them appear less visible. (14) Now, will ginger get rid of the full appearance of prominent veins? No, but it has been used in combination with treatments by specialists to maintain and avoid further severity in future.
Circulatory issues can lead to numerous conditions and diseases. Introducing more of these 6 foods can help maintain your circulatory system at home today. Take charge of your health by contacting your local healthcare provider to find out what approaches are best for you. Together, you can make shared, well-informed decisions. Find a local Naturopathic Doctor in Canada today here.