You often hear the comment “you are what you eat,” but it’s more accurate than you think. The foods we consume don’t only affect your weight and other factors, they even impact the efficiency of your blood flow. And since the circulatory system is the basis for microcirculation, which determines the health of the tiniest cells in the body, it’s worth noting which foods are good—and not so good—for circulation.
Foods That Affect Blood Flow
Certain foods are particularly good for boosting blood circulation. These include:
- Cold water fish, such as salmon, mackerel and cod, which are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are essential for heart health and the circulatory system, because they both reduce inflammation and thin the blood so it flows more easily.
- Nuts, which are packed full of magnesium, and L-arginine that produces nitric oxide, both of which help to dilate the arteries.
- Oranges, lemons, pineapples and strawberries. These delicious fruits are all high in vitamin C, which is a vital substance for microcirculation, because it helps the body to form collagen, one of the important building materials for the circulatory system.
- Garlic, which has been linked with lowering blood pressure for centuries. A key component of garlic is allicin, which also works to dilate and expand the arteries.
- Natto, a traditional Japanese food made with fermented soybeans. It contains a blood thinner called nattokinase, which reduces the fibrin in the blood that causes clotting.
- Beets, rich in nitrate that converts into nitric oxide and are full of antioxidant qualities, vitamins and minerals.
- Dark chocolate that contains flavonoid antioxidants, which reduce the activity of free radicals and help prevent inflammation.
Of course, for every delicious item that is good for your microcirculation, there is at least one that is bad.
A Three-Fold Strategy
Here’s a three-fold strategy for improving the circulation of your blood through the arteries and veins:
- Manage your levels of inflammation. If you don’t, this can lead to the buildup of plaque in your arteries, which reduces the efficiency of your blood flow. You can do this by eating foods high in anti-inflammatory properties, drinking lots of water and getting enough rest.
- Maintain a healthy blood consistency. Keep your blood thin by including cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper and vitamin E into your diet.
- Strive for healthy arterial function, to enable your arteries to remain flexible enough to dilate and contract as they need to. This helps to keep your blood pressure at a manageable level.
Foods to Avoid
Foods to avoid include added sugars, trans fats and salt—all the things we are warned constantly about.
Sugar causes the body to release high amounts of insulin, triggering inflammation and potentially causing diabetes that is a common reason for poor circulation.
Sodium, which makes up half the chemical structure of salt, is risky in high quantities because it causes water retention. This promotes higher blood pressure, which is less than ideal for good circulation.
Taking care of your circulation means taking care of your heart. Often, we are very aware of one while being fairly unaware of the other.
Healthy nutrition is one of the best tools available for improving your blood flow, but there are other practical things you can do for your circulation too.
Exercise or any form of movement, including cardio work, weight training, yoga, tai chi or swimming are excellent. For anyone who has mobility issues, there are devices available that provide electromagnetic pulses that promote circulation.
Qi gong, pranayama and other energy work causes your qi to move, which encourages blood flow.
Complementary therapies like acupuncture, massage, and infrared sauna are all beneficial for getting the blood moving, and combined with healthy nutrition these can help you maintain circulatory wellness. And, of course, #Bemer therapy.
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