Millions of people suffer from poor circulation. These health problems can be caused by everything from genetics to diseases and smoking. People with poor circulation may suffer from cold or clammy hands and feet in addition to digestive upset, and aches and pains. For these individuals and athletes looking to improve their performance, there are many ways to increase blood flow naturally. Discover how to improve circulation with these handy tips.
How To Improve Circulation
1. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is famous for its spicy flavor and anti-inflammatory properties. These peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical that can help to increase blood flow and reduce symptoms of pain. A systematic review found that cayenne pepper helps to lower blood pressure by increasing endothelial function and reducing oxidative stress (1).
Ginger contains compounds known as gingerol and shogaol that work to decrease inflammation and help ease poor blood circulation. Some research shows that taking ginger may result in a decrease in blood pressure within two hours after consumption (2). Animal studies have also shown similar results. One particular animal study found that rats that were given red ginger had significant decreases of ACE — a common risk factor of cardiovascular disease (3).
3. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish are a great natural way to help streamline blood circulation thanks to the presence of mega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids play an essential role in producing nitric oxide, which naturally helps to dilate blood vessels. This, in turn, can help to improve circulation (4). Additional research shows that omega-3 fats help to prevent platelets from clumping together – thus decreasing the risk of blood clots that wreak havoc on the cardiovascular system (5).
Add a fish oil supplement to your diet or incorporate fatty fish and red meat into your diet. Fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines are all great choices. You can also try caviar or oysters to boost your intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Green Tea
Green tea contains high concentrations of antioxidants that offer health benefits for circulation problems. Research published in Circulation found that black tea increased the presence of flavonoids in blood vessels and helped to decrease oxidative stress. Patients who drank black tea in the short term and the long term had healthy blood pumping mechanisms and improved cardiovascular health compared to people who just drank water (6).
Drinking tea itself is a great way to naturally unwind and relax. By taking time in your day to enjoy a cup of tea and a good book or a quiet moment can help to slow your heart rate and boost circulation. If you’re not a fan of green tea, try infusing herbs or other spices like cinnamon in warm water. You can also check out a range of true teas and herbal teas here.
5. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are another great source for antioxidants like flavonoids. These flavonoids work to decrease symptoms of poor circulation such as varicose veins by improving blood flow and reducing inflammation (7). Incorporate fruits like pomegranates, grapefruits, and oranges into your diet to reap these benefits.
You can also opt for berries, which contain high amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants that are beneficial for the cardiovascular system. These antioxidants possess natural anti-inflammatory properties that help to relax blood vessels and smooth muscle, decreasing the risk of blood clots and heart attacks.
Turmeric contains a compound known as curcumin that has been revered for its anti-inflammatory properties. This spice is a staple of Ayurvedic medicine and one of the go-to spices for treating circulation problems in the holistic world.
A study published in Aging examined the effects of turmeric on vascular blood flow. The study consisted of 39 healthy adults who were given a placebo or turmeric for 12 weeks. Researchers found that turmeric helped to increase nitric oxide production, which improved overall health and boosted blood flow (8).
Garlic contains high concentrations of sulfuric compounds that can boost blood circulation. Researchers attribute most of the cardiovascular benefits of garlic to one compound in particular: allicin.
A study published in the Anatolian Journal of Cardiology investigated the impacts of allicin and garlic on heart health. Researchers found that participants who took garlic powder every day for a period of three months had a 50 percent increase in flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) tests (9). These tests rate the efficiency of blood flows.
8. Leafy Greens
Nitric oxide is a powerful vasodilator, meaning it helps to widen blood vessels by relaxing smooth muscle cells. Leafy greens contain large concentrations of nitrates, the foundation of nitric oxide. Research shows that eating vegetables that are a good dietary nitrate source increases blood circulation in ways that are similar to blood thinners (10). Try adding leafy greens like spinach, kale, lettuce, and cabbage. If you’re not a fan of leafy greens, try adding beets, dark chocolate, or nuts and seeds to your diet as these foods are also rich sources of nitrates.
Onions boast anti-inflammatory properties that help to decrease inflammation and prevent oxidative stress that can cause poor circulation. These potent veggies also help to widen arteries thanks to vasodilation properties. In fact, research shows that chronic ingestion of onion extract helps to boost blood circulation and prevent symptoms like clammy hands (11).
How To Improve Circulation Naturally
If you’re wondering how to improve circulation, this handy guide can help. Eating certain foods can provide your body the support it needs to lower high blood pressure and boost blood circulation. This may help to prevent serious heart disease and boost heart health.
There isn’t just one solution to the problem of poor circulation. Make sure to eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise. Physical activity naturally boosts blood flow and reduces the risk of circulation issues. It can also help decrease risk factors of heart disease and other circulatory system problems.
You may need to make lifestyle changes to boost your circulation. Quit smoking if you are a regular smoker. If you fly a lot and have circulation problems, use compression socks to protect blood flow and make sure to stand up and move around every hour or so.
Drink lots of water and stay hydrated as water plays an essential role in all body functions including circulation. By boosting hydration, your body can work to decrease inflammation, which restricts blood flow. Another way to boost circulation is to decrease your stress levels. Stress has been correlated with high blood pressure and anxiety, which can cause blood vessels to restrict. Take time to care for yourself and unwind, especially after stressful days. If you suffer from symptoms of poor circulation, talk to a cardiologist or doctor to discuss your well-being and develop a treatment plan of natural ways to boost your blood flow.