It's easy to take the healthy circulation of our blood for granted, even though we know we shouldn't. In fact, poor circulation is a fairly common problem and it can be caused by several conditions to include peripheral artery disease (PAD), diabetes, obesity, smoking, and Raynaud's disease.
Symptoms of Poor Blood CirculationEven though it's a given we can't actually feel the blood coursing through our veins and arteries, blood flow that is hindered can produce a variety of unpleasant symptoms. These can include pain, muscle cramps, numbness, digestive issues, and coldness in the hands and/or feet, per healthline.com.
Why Does Blood Circulation Matter?Your body's circulatory system is responsible for carrying not only blood throughout your body but oxygen and nutrients as well, and that's a pretty big responsibility. Your life depends on it. And when your circulation isn't working right, such as when your arteries get clogged, slowing the transport of blood to your organs and causing those symptoms such as tingling, numbness, and muscle cramps, per thehealthy.com. You play a key role in determining how well your blood flows through your circulation system; in large part it begins with what you put in your mouth. We're talking about what you eat and how you piece together your diet – assuming you have formulated a plan vs. just stuffing whatever is at arm's length and that tastes good into your mouth. Maybe you've noticed those times when you felt a little sluggish following a meal, like after devouring a 14-ounce filet mignon accompanied by a fully dressed baked potato and a big slice of pie topped by a scoop of ice cream. Chances are, at such times, you are tasking your body and circulation system more than it is designed for. Consistently eating the right foods, spices, and supplements can keep your circulation system humming properly, thwarting those unwanted symptoms.
Foods that Promote Healthy Blood FlowThe suggestion here is not that you must eat only these foods all the time, but that they should play a prominent role in your diet. Think before you eat, and this also is a topic to discuss with your physician, or at least a licensed nutritionist or dietician:
- Turmeric. The credit here goes to its main ingredient, curcumin, a chemical which helps keep arteries unblocked while enhancing circulation. It is even more effective if consumed mixed with bioperine, a compound contained in black pepper, per thehealthy.com.
- Dark chocolate. Oh, yeah, now you're liking this list a lot more. But this is not a green light to gorge on the sweet stuff – eat it in moderation. Per thehealthy.com, dark chocolate promotes your body's production of nitric oxide, which contributes to the protection of your heart and veins.
- Foods high in protein. Protein is a key to blood clotting, and albumin, a blood protein, plays a part in transporting other molecules and regulating healthy fluid balance. Foods that fall into this category include lean meats, fish, and dairy products, per healthyeating.sfgate.com, as well as grains, beans, and legumes.
- Cucumbers. Not only are cucumbers anti-inflammatory, they contribute to the removal of wastes and toxins in the body while also benefitting blood flow even further by providing water, potassium, vitamin C, and fiber, per onegreenplanet.org. Celery has similar attributes and effects.
- Oats. Oats are an anti-inflammatory known to rid the body of bad cholesterol, which puts this grain near the top of the list of foods that improve blood flow.
- Citrus fruits. These include lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit – all of which are believed to be low in sugar and of an anti-inflammatory nature, working as cleansers for your body thanks to the abundant provision of vitamin C, per onegreenplanet.org.
- Garlic. Keep the mouthwash handy for the sake of others around you, but studies have shown, per thehealthy.com, that eating garlic cloves can do wonders for protecting arteries.
- Almonds and walnuts. It's best to eat them raw. Both contain antioxidant compounds that can improve blood flow.
- Red bell peppers. With an abundance of vitamin C, they can provide a healthy dose of fiber and antioxidants, along with body-hydrating water that can enhance blood flow, per onegreenplanet.org.
- Foods rich in iron. Such foods help in the formation of hemoglobin, whose role is to transport oxygen to cells throughout your body. Note that iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency, affecting up to 2 billion people worldwide, per healthyeating.sfgate.com.
- Raw seeds. Think seeds that are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants – such as chia, flax, hemp, and pumpkin seeds. Per onegreenplanet.org, these anti-inflammatory sources of protein work to remove bad cholesterol from your body while also boosting your blood's overall quality.
- Ginger. Long used in traditional Indian and Chinese medical treatment for its assorted benefits, ginger is known to help lower high blood pressure and improve circulation flow, per healthline.com.