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Foods To Get Your Blood Pumping!

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In order to get nutrients and oxygen around the body to support our organs and bodily functions we require effective circulation of blood. Blood is what carries said nutrients and oxygen and also waste through the body and it is via the circulatory system by which it is transported. 

Sometimes the function of our circulation may be reduced, this can lead to a variety of symptoms including: 

  • Cold hands & feet
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Cramping & Joint pain
  • Varicose veins

Poor circulation can be caused by various factors including serious health conditions. Some common reasons for this include: Obesity, smoking, atherosclerosis, diabetes, injury, constant inactivity and high cholesterol. 

So can we improve our circulation? The answer is yes, however we need to look at what is causing it first and determine whether any major conditions are to blame. Either way, there are 3 factors that if addressed properly will help to improve your circulation and they are:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Reduce blood viscosity/thickness
  • Support arterial function 

One of the simplest ways (apart from increasing exercise & ceasing smoking) to improve your circulation is via nutrition. Various nutrients have actions which can help to reduce inflammation, thin the blood and support the function of arteries, which all help to stimulate and improve circulation. So what are these foods I speak of?

  • Garlic contains various constituents (e.g. L-arginine, coenzyme Q10, nitrates) which may help to improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure. It is also known to aid in diabetes. Add to almost all cuisines, it’s super versatile!
  • Pomegranate may help to improve blood circulation due to its antioxidant effects and nitrate content. Nitrates turn into nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide relaxes the blood vessels via vasodilation, allowing for easier flow. Try with your morning porridge, muesli or as dessert in a fruit bowl.
  • Ginger (my favourite!) is a well known circulatory stimulant both for the core circulatory system and for your peripheries, meaning it helps blood to reach every part of your body. It is warming and anti-inflammatory. Try in stir fries, congee, fresh with sushi/sashimi, or just as a tea. 
  • Fish (Wild caught, small deep-sea, cold water: Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel, Herring) these fish contain our polyunsaturated fats including omega 3 fatty acids. Not only do these have a protective effect on the entire cardiovascular system, they do improve endothelial function, meaning they help to relax the walls of the circulatory system allowing for easier blood flow. They also help to reduce blood pressure, preventing damage to the arteries which transport your blood. 

In addition to the above we also have almonds, leafy greens and beetroot all great for supporting your circulation. All these foods should be included as part of a balanced diet. Remembering that balance is key. If you are suffering from poor circulation or would like to find out more on how to use food as medicine, give us a call or book online with one of our experienced nutritionists or naturopaths.