Fruits That Increase Blood Flow is vital for healthy circulation of nutriences and oxygen in the human body. There are numerous factors that can reduce blood flow and hinder your overall health. Therefore it’s important to eat a diet filled with vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients that provide antioxidants for better heart health.
10 Foods That Will Increase Blood Flow & Circulation
If you’re like me, you find yourself researching which foods, herbs, vitamins, and minerals are healthiest, how they affect your body and you try to be conscious about what you eat and drink. Many of us have genetics to contend with; my family history includes everything from, cancer, thyroid issues, diabetes, cholesterol levels, obesity, blood pressure issues, arrhythmia, heart disease and of course, varicose veins. Since many of these problems came to fruition due to poor personal habits, environmental factors, and food choices, I try to stay aware of my health, eating habits, and physical activity when and where I can.
Today, let’s take a quick look at things that can improve your circulatory system, foods that can improve blood flow and circulation, as well as a few that we should try to stay away from.
What is blood circulation and why is it important?
First thing first! What is proper circulation and why should we worry about it? Normal blood circulation brings oxygen and nutrients to the cells in the body through the arteries, and the waste products are picked up by the veins and transported back to the liver, heart & lungs. If an area of the circulatory system is impaired, you could experience symptoms such as:
- Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
- Swelling in the feet, ankles, or legs
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle cramping
- Aching, heaviness, restlessness in the legs
- Leg ulcers
- Varicose veins
Lifestyle changes such as exercise, drinking more water, and eating healthy foods can help promote healthy circulation. In this post, we’ll take a deeper dive into 10 foods with properties that may help improve your circulation and blood flow.
Top foods to help increase blood circulation and blood flow
Garlic is not only associated with a better immune system, but it is also associated with decreasing blood pressure! Specifically, the sulfur compounds in garlic cause vasodilation, increasing blood flow in the tissue. It has been shown that people consuming garlic powder tablets containing 1,200 mg of allicin twice daily for three months experienced a 50% improvement in blood flow. Also, who can argue that garlic makes virtually any dish even better! Dig in!
Capsaicin is what makes a cayenne pepper hot and helps lower blood pressure, while expanding your blood vessels due to the nitric oxide it contains. Additionally, it helps prevent plaque buildup in the arteries.
Turmeric has been utilized in Chinese medicine since ancient times. It helps to dilate blood vessels and improve circulation. The curcumin found in turmeric helps increase nitric oxide production, reduce oxidative stress, and decrease inflammation.
Ginger is another staple to have in your pantry as it not only brings great flavor to dishes, but also works to improve your circulation. Used in Indian and Chinese medicine for thousands of years, to reduce high blood pressure. It is recommended to consume 2-4 grams per day.
Nuts and Walnuts
Packed with nutrients such as vitamin E and L-arginine nuts, such as the walnut work to promote your body’s production of nitric oxide. Containing high levels of amino acids as well as magnesium, potassium and calcium, nuts can help lower your blood pressure as well as reduce inflammation which is particularly helpful with diabetes.
I don’t know about you, but I can never get enough citrus! Thankfully, it has made it onto our list as well! Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and grapefruit are packed with antioxidants, including flavonoids. Consuming flavonoid-rich citrus fruits may decrease inflammation in your body, which can reduce stiffness while improving blood flow and nitric oxide production. It has also been shown in recent years that flavonoids can even help with varicose veins, reduce the risk of stroke, and improve cognitive functions. Now where is my glass of lemonade!?
Fatty Fish containing high levels of omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, trout, sardines, and herring helps release nitric oxide into your body dilating your blood vessels and increasing the blood flow. Omega-3 fats also help prevent blood clot formation, plaque buildup in the arteries, lower blood pressure, increase the healthy HDL cholesterol, and improve blood flow in skeletal muscle during and after exercise.
Another of my favorites, berries are not only great tasting, but can have health benefits as well. The antioxidants contained in berries such as blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries and currants not only contain anti-inflammatory properties, but also assist in lowering blood pressure and improving circulation. Studies have also shown berries can help reduce heart rate and improve arterial dilation.
Beets contain nitrates, which the body converts into nitric oxide. This process helps expand blood vessels. Beet juice may help widen arteries, lower blood pressure, and improve athletic endurance. Beet juice supplements improve oxygen flow in muscle tissue, stimulates blood flow, increases increase nitric oxide levels and decreases blood vessel inflammation — all of which can boost performance not only in athletes but in everyone.
Onions are an excellent source of flavonoid antioxidants, which benefit heart health and improves circulation by dilating your arteries and veins. Anti-inflammatory properties in in onions, combined with the flavonoid antioxidants can also been linked to a reduction in inflammation in both arteries and veins. Much like garlic, onions make just about every savory dish taste better!
Healthy recipes that incorporate these ingredients
Here’s an amazing recipe which combines Citrus, onion (shallots), and salmon from Cooking Light, as well as a beet and walnut salad recipe from the Food Network. This delicious meal encompasses 5 of the 10 foods which help promote circulation and it’s delicious! If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try this berry easy dessert recipe from Rachel Ray which includes berries and Ginger, sprinkle on some Tumeric and Boom! You’ve added three more superfoods from the list above! There are many natural ways to improve circulation such as choosing foods that contain antioxidants, nitrates and vitamins that stimulate blood flow. Try incorporating some of these foods into your daily diet and see the positive impact in can make on your circulation.
While all of these amazing foods have benefits that can help improve your circulation, there are also some foods which can negatively impact your circulation. Below is a short list of foods, or food groups that you should avoid if you have health concerns, including circulatory concerns.
Foods to avoid that may cause poor circulation
Fatty, processed or red meats
Fatty, processed, or red meats: Saturated fats can cause cholesterol to build up in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease.
Added sugars: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excess amounts of added sugar in the diet can increase the risk of diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage artery walls and high cholesterol can cause hardening of the arteries. High blood sugar can lead to diabetes, which can damage blood vessels and nerves that allow the heart and blood vessels to function properly.
Trans fats: Trans fats occur in certain animal products, including milk, butter, cheese, and meat. Many processed foods contain trans fats if hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make the oil solidify at room temperature. Trans fats increase LDL cholesterol in the blood, which can increase the risk of plaque forming in the arteries and heart disease.
Salt: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), excess salt in the diet can increase the risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and stroke. The WHO recommends a daily intake of fewer than 5 grams of salt for adults.
Good circulation is essential for the body! If you find that, despite best efforts, your circulation continues to be a concern, it’s best to schedule an appointment with a vein specialist as well as your primary care physician to see what part of your circulatory system is contributing to your concerns. Until then, exercise regularly, stay hydrated, and turn that lemon into lemon-aid!
10 Foods to Help Improve Your Circulation
Circulation Is Key
Blood is like your body’s superhighway. It carries nutrients and oxygen to everything from your heart and brain to your muscles and skin.
A healthy diet is one way to optimize your circulation, or blood flow. Combined with exercise, hydration, weight management, and not smoking, some foods can help improve circulation. Next time you head to the grocery store, consider including these items in your shopping cart.
This bright red pepper does more than just spice up your food. Thanks to a compound called capsaicin, cayenne pepper can help your arteries work well. It can also help relax the muscles in your blood vessels so blood can flow easily. And that’s good for your blood pressure.
This root vegetable is rich in nitrate, which your body can convert to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps to naturally loosen up your blood vessels and improve the flow of blood to your tissues and organs. Researchers have found that beet juice can lower your systolic blood pressure (the first number in a blood pressure reading), too.
Berries are rich in antioxidants, including one that’s particularly good for your blood vessels: anthocyanin. It’s the compound that gives red and purple produce that deep-colored hue. Anthocyanin can help protect the walls of your arteries from damage and keep them from becoming stiff. Plus, anthocyanin spurs the release of nitric oxide, which helps to lower your blood pressure.
If you’ve always wondered why fish is good for your heart, here’s one reason. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, and halibut are full of omega-3 fatty acids. Studies suggest that these compounds are good for your circulation. Eating fish not only lowers your resting blood pressure; it can help keep your arteries clear and unclogged, too.
The tiny juicy red seeds inside a pomegranate are packed with nutrients, in particular antioxidants and nitrates. These can boost your circulation. And they widen (dilate) your blood vessels and lower your blood pressure. That means that more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your muscles and other tissues. And for active people, greater blood flow may bring along a performance boost, too.
Garlic is good for more than keeping vampires away. It contains a sulfur compound called allicin that helps your blood vessels relax. Studies show that in people who eat a diet rich in garlic, blood flows more efficiently. That means the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to move blood throughout the body, which helps keep your blood pressure down.
Go nuts for nuts, especially walnuts. These crinkly-skinned nuts are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid, which may help blood move smoothly. A study found that eating walnuts regularly for 8 weeks improved blood vessel health, helped those vessels stay elastic, and brought down blood pressure.
They’ll help keep your arteries healthy and improve blood flow — all well tasting naturally sweet. A study found that the antioxidants in grapes encouraged blood vessels to relax and work more efficiently. Plus, grapes curb inflammatory and other molecules in the blood that could make blood sticky, which can get in the way of circulation.
The golden yellow spice is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, thanks largely to curcumin, a compound found in turmeric. Studies suggest that curcumin may boost production of nitric oxide, which can help make your blood vessels wider. That, in turn, makes it easier for blood to flow and get to your muscles and other tissues.
What are the best foods to improve blood circulation?
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, and halibut are full of omega-3 fatty acids.
A nutritious diet is vital to your health. Feeding your body all the nutrients it needs not only prevents illness and disease but also keeps your body and its organs functioning like the well-tuned machine that it is.
Your blood flow is an important part of carrying all those nutrients and oxygen to where your body needs it. A healthy diet can help your blood circulation without medication.
Try these 24 healthy foods, which are known to improve blood circulation and overall health. They can even help prevent serious conditions such as heart attack, deep vein thrombosis, and high blood pressure.
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Nuts are considered a perfect light snack or salad topping. Almonds are packed with vitamin E and healthy fats, and they also have antioxidant properties. A diet rich in almonds was found in a study to improve blood flow.
Packed with potassium, bananas can help improve blood flow by lowering blood pressure. Too much sodium in your diet can cause high blood pressure, but potassium helps the kidneys remove extra sodium from your body, which then passes through your urine. This helps relax blood vessels and enable blood flow.
Beetroot is a superfood that’s rich in nitrate. Nitrate is good for you because your body turns it into nitric oxide, which can relax your blood vessels and improve your blood flow to tissues and organs throughout your body. Another great benefit: beet juice can lower your systolic blood pressure
A diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables has many health benefits, and carrots can have a positive effect on cardiovascular health. A study found that drinking 16 fl. oz. of carrot juice daily decreased systolic blood pressure. It’s possible that carrot juice protects the cardiovascular system by increasing total antioxidant status.
A favorite spice sprinkled on top of a bowl of oatmeal or hot drink, cinnamon has been found to relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure, which helps to increase blood flow.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for staying healthy and citrus fruits are an excellent way to include it in your diet. Citrus fruit such as oranges, grapefruit, and lemons contain many antioxidants that can lower inflammation, prevent blood clots, and improve blood circulation.
Ginger has become a popular condiment for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as its potential to treat cardiovascular disease, but further research is needed. Some studies suggest ginger can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
Ginkgo biloba is believed to improve blood circulation. In a study of healthy people, it was found to reduce diastolic blood pressure by an average of 7 mmHg. But another study found it only reduced blood pressure by less than 1 mmHg in elderly people with hypertension already on antihypertensive medication.
Tiny but mighty, sunflower seeds contain many essential nutrients. Sunflower seeds are noteworthy because they’re high in healthy fats, proteins, fiber, phytochemicals, selenium, copper, magnesium, and vitamin E. A good source of magnesium, sunflower seeds also lower blood pressure, thus improving blood flow. Make sure your sunflower seeds are unsalted though, as the salt would have a negative effect on your blood pressure.
This popular spice has anti-inflammatory properties due to a compound called curcumin. Curcumin is believed to kickstart the production of nitric oxide, which helps your blood vessels widen and make it easier for blood to flow throughout your body
Walnuts are not only a healthy snack, but they’re also a source of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, which can help blood flow easier. Additionally, noshing on walnuts regularly can also improve the health of your blood vessels and lower blood pressure.
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9 foods to help prevent a heart attack include:Avocado
Rich in monounsaturated fats, avocado is also high in carnitine and potassium. Potassium-rich avocados can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and they can also lower blood pressure. Avocados are low in sodium, which can raise blood pressure.
Berries are well-known for being rich in antioxidants, including anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is especially beneficial to your heart, as it can prevent arteries from stiffening. It also helps your body to release nitric oxide to lower your blood pressure.
Dark chocolate, a healthier alternative to milk chocolate, can improve blood flow when you eat chocolate that has at least 85 percent cocoa. The polyphenols in dark chocolate are said to reduce oxidative stress and help the body form more nitric oxide, which helps the blood vessels dilate and increase blood flow.
Heart-healthy fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, and halibut are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are helpful in improving your blood circulation. Eating fish regularly has many benefits, including lowering your resting blood pressure and keeping your arteries unclogged. A diet that includes fish has also been shown in studies to lower your risk of heart attack, atherosclerosis, and arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat).
Tea is known for having a healthy effect on the heart and is associated with a decreased cardiovascular risk. Additionally, a study found that green tea rapidly improves the endothelial function of the circulatory system. Endothelial dysfunction, on the other hand, precedes atherosclerosis, a thickening, and hardening of the arterial walls, which could potentially cause a stroke or heart attack.
Onion is rich in quercetin, a strong antioxidant flavonoid that reduces the risk of cardiovascular events. Because of this fact, a study found that having onion daily can increase blood flow. Another study discovered that habitual consumption of allium vegetables (garlic and onion) led to a 64 percent reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Pomegranate seeds are packed with nutrients, primarily heart-healthy polyphenols, tannins, and anthocyanins, which are antioxidants. These may help prevent atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, according to a study. Additionally, drinking pomegranate juice daily was shown to improve blood flow to the heart in patients with heart disease.
Tomatoes are high in carotenoids such as lycopene, beta carotene, and vitamin E, which are effective antioxidants that can reduce blood pressure, improve blood flow, and slow the progression of atherosclerosis.
A quintessential summer fruit, watermelon is a low-calorie, high-fiber snack. A study by Florida State University suggests that watermelon can help fight prehypertension, a precursor to cardiovascular disease. Watermelon is one of the highest sources of L-citrulline, which can slow or weaken the increase in aortic blood pressure, according to the study.