These are some of the foods you may want to consume less of if you aim to keep your blood circulation in tip top shape.
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.
Now that we’ve covered the not so good stuff, it’s time to dive into some of the best foods that can help boost your blood circulation.
If you’ve always wondered why fish is so good for your heart, here’s one of the main reasons – Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, and halibut are full of omega-3 fatty acids. Many studies suggest that these compounds are good for your circulation. Eating fish not only lowers your resting blood pressure; it can also help keep your arteries clear and unclogged as well.
Berries, such as strawberries and blueberries, 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, it stimulates the release of nitric oxide, which helps to lower your blood pressure.
When it comes to citrus fruits, such as oranges, vitamin C isn’t the only reason to make citrus fruit part of your diet. The antioxidants found in the fruit may help lower inflammation, prevent blood clots, and improve overall blood circulation. And if you’re an orange juice fan, you’re in luck. A study found that regularly drinking OJ lowers blood pressure.
Garlic 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.
Nitrate-rich foods, like spinach, may improve your blood circulation. These compounds help enlarge your blood vessels and create more room for blood to move through. As an added bonus, a study found that a diet rich in spinach helped keep arteries flexible and helped lower blood pressure.
This 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 properly.
It’s important to note that changing and improving your diet to boost your blood flow and circulation can only be beneficial if you combine it with regular exercise and increased physical activity.
In addition, some of these foods and many others may not be suitable for you. Therefore, before you make any dietary changes, always consult with your doctor to determine which foods are safe for you.