Every day, all day long, our heart pumps blood to keep us alive.
That’s its job.
The pumping movement of the heart delivers much needed blood and oxygen to all our organs. It does this through our blood vessels, which are a network of tubes.
When we’re healthy, our bodies have good circulation wherein the arteries carry blood away from the heart and our veins bring them back to it from our extremities.
Eating the right foods that help with blood circulation ensures that all our organs get their required nutrients to stay healthy.
Add these to your diet for good cardiovascular health.
Foods that Improve Your Blood Flow
Citrus fruits like oranges are excellent sources of vitamin C.
Their vitamin C content helps with strengthening the walls of our blood vessels to allow for efficient circulation. They’ve also been shown to assist in preventing the build up of plaque which allows them to aid in lowering our risk of heart disease.
This is one more reason to make sure you get enough vitamin C regularly.
Smokers have lower endothelial function because of the oxidative stress caused by cigarettes and tobacco. In a study by the Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, it was shown that vitamin C supplementation increases the coronary circulation of smokers.
A similar study involving type 2 diabetes patients revealed that the vitamin improved circulation in forearm blood vessel of diabetic patients.
Cayenne Pepper (and Spicy Food)
Used in Asian cultures to help treat circulatory problems, this spice is used a lot in Cajun cooking as well as Mexican and some regional Chinese cuisines.
Cayenne gets its heat from capsaicin. The higher the amount of capsaicin in the pepper the spicier that pepper is.
But it isn’t just about heat. This substance is well known also for its ability to provide natural pain relief including joint pain, back pain and arthritis.
There have also been studies showing that this helps with weight loss, as well as treat heartburn.
Among the many decadent sweets around, the one that offers a number of healthy benefits is dark chocolate. To define, dark chocolate are those that contain 70% or more cocoa.
It is the cocoa content that gives this type of chocolate its antioxidant abilities which help lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels.
When it comes to improving blood circulation, the flavonoids in cocoa help improve the blood vessels’ ability to expand. This allows the blow to move more fluidly.
The best thing about it is that it doesn’t take much and you can see results quickly.
Research done by scientists at the University of California San Francisco showed that eating 1.6 ounces of dark chocolate every day for 2 weeks already produced increases in blood flow.
So the next time you get that craving for chocolate, there’s no need to feel guilty.
However, you need to make sure to get the dark chocolate as it is what contains flavonoids. Other types like milk or white chocolate, which are non-flavonoid chocolate options, don’t offer the same benefits.
Garlic is one of the main ingredients used in cooking.
If you like Italian food, you’ll be happy to know that this garlic heavy cuisine isn’t only great in taste but also healthy as well.
Regular consumption of garlic has been shown to have a number of benefits. This is what makes garlic one of the most used remedies in natural healing.
One of these benefits is lowering our blood cholesterol. Garlic helps with coronary circulation by improving blood pressure, which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease.
When we eat garlic, it produces a compound that helps relax our blood vessels. In doing so it allows for better blood flow.
The Imperial College School of Medicine in the U.K. tested this by giving the study’s participants daily garlic supplementation for 1 week. Each garlic tablet had a dose of 600 mg. At 7 days, they measured significant increases in peripheral blood flow. In this case the calf muscles.
The good news is that other foods in the same family as garlic also help with blood flow. These include onions, leeks and radishes.
The U.S. is a large tomato consumer that uses this healthy vegetable in favorites like pizza and pasta. Among the largest uses of tomato according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture is in sauces, tomato paste, whole canned tomatoes and then catsup and juices.
The good news is that this is one food that’s both delicious and nutritious.
What makes tomatoes values from a nutritional standpoint is its lycopene content. It is also what gives this vegetable that rich red-orange color.
Lycopene is credited with the cardiovascular health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. As it is estimated to be 10 times as potent as vitamin E in terms of its antioxidant powers. This makes it play a big role in reducing risk of heart disease.
Its heart healthy benefits were backed up by scientists at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. where healthy individuals were given a supplement containing 7 mg of lycopene.
This so-called ‘tomato pill’ improved the blood vessel function in patients with cardiovascular disease.
Avocados are delicious, easy to mix or pair with other foods and very nutritious.
One cup of this green fruit contains 14 grams of heart healthy monounsaturated fats, 708 mg of potassium and 10 grams of dietary fiber.
Plus it gives you
- 24% of your daily vitamin C needs,
- 35% of vitamin K,
- 21% vitamin E and also
- 20% of your vitamin B6 requirements.
The combination of vitamin C, E and K along with the heart healthy fats and fiber all help in improving overall blood flow.
It helps reduce the artery clogging LDL cholesterol levels as well as triglycerides which help reduce the risk of heart disease.
This makes it one of the healthiest fats to choose from.
Very similar to tomatoes, watermelons contain lycopene.
This natural antioxidant not only gives watermelons the reddish flesh content by also provide numerous health benefits. This helps improve overall blood flow so all the body’s organs get sufficient oxygen delivered to them.
In a study published in Atherosclerosis Journal, male participants who were given 15 mg of lycopene daily for an 8 week period showed better blood flow, higher antioxidant levels, lower systolic blood pressure and less inflammation.
These results showed that increasing lycopene helps improve blood vessel lining health and its function.
Research has also shown that lycopene can help reduce risk of some cancers including prostate cancer. It also helps in lowering the risk of experiencing a stroke.
The good news is that this carotenoid is found a number of common fruits and vegetables including tomatoes, guava, papaya, pink grapefruit, red peppers, carrots and purple cabbage.
If you’re not too sure, you can almost easily tell as lycopene gives food their yellow, red and orange colors.
Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, trout and mackerel help in improving blood circulation.
Their omega-3 fatty acids are well known for their many benefits. Among them are the ability to improve our lipid profile by lowering our total cholesterol and increasing the amount of HDL cholesterol in our blood.
In doing so the omega-3’s remove existing blockages along our blood vessels as well as prevents new plaque deposits from being formed.
This allows our blood to flow more fluidly throughout our body.
Whole Grains and Fiber Rich Foods
Whole grains as well as other fiber rich foods are great in promoting healthy blood circulation. The fiber content helps lower cholesterol levels so your circulatory system can function better.
The reason our doctors want our cholesterol levels to be below a certain level is that excessive blood cholesterol clogs up our arteries. The more cholesterol you have the more they build up along your artery walls.
This narrows the passages where blood flows to the heart. And in doing so your heart doesn’t get enough blood pumped into to or the blood flow totally gets blocked.
Fiber rich foods like grains, nuts, beans, berries and vegetables are great in lowering our cholesterol levels.