Healthy circulation is essential for blood flow to vital organs and the supply of nutrients around every part of your body. Regulated by your heart, blood flows through the arteries that feed your body’s tissues and then the veins carry blood back to the heart. As we age it’s common to suffer from poor circulation as receptors become less able to monitor blood pressure, which means our veins and arteries may become thickened and stiff. As we get older we also tend to slow down and take less exercise, further reducing blood flow.
Symptoms of poor circulation include:
Some studies even suggest that having a healthy circulatory system is the key to living a longer life. So with that in mind let’s have a closer look at ways you can improve your blood circulation naturally.
The humble beetroot has been in the spotlight as the new super food for good reason. Studies have shown eating beetroot or drinking beetroot juice may improve performance in athletes due to the high nitrate content. Nitrates aid vasodilation which is the relaxation of muscles, this helps blood vessels to widen and improves blood pressure.
A daily cup of green tea may help aid healthy circulation. Researchers believe this is due to the high antioxidant content of green tea which supports blood vessel health and helps to widen arteries, increasing blood flow.
Traditionally used for its ability to improve memory and mental performance Gingko has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine. The Ginkgo tree found in China, South Korea and Japan, is one of the oldest in the world and has been around for over 150 million years! The herb Ginkgo Biloba is often used as supplement for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, to improve circulation to the brain and eyes.
Garlic has many reported health benefits, including a high level of antioxidants that help support heart health and circulation. Studies show that garlic has benefits for heart health because of its ability to support ideal blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Research has shown that cooking garlic for too long can destroy the health benefits, so it’s best to add at the end of cooking and to keep heat to a minimum. If you crush your garlic and wait for a few minutes before cooking, the enzymes in the garlic will convert the chemical alliin into allicin which is thought to be the substance that gives garlic its health properties. Don’t like the smell but still want the benefits? Try our odour free supplement.
Ginger is a very popular spice used worldwide for its warming zingy flavour. Not just for travel and morning sickness, ginger is also thought to aid circulation and to help lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. Ginger has been used in herbal medicine for hundreds of years for its anti-viral activities so a cup of warm ginger tea may help you recover when fighting those winter bugs.
Circulation boosting soup recipe!
Why not warm your bones up this January with my easy to make get up and go soup.
You will need:
250g of beetroot grated
1/2 tin of tomatoes
1.5 teaspoons of grated ginger
2 garlic cloves crushed or finely chopped
1 lemon (zest)
1 small red onion finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
250ml vegetable stock
Heat the oil in a large pan and gently sauté the onion for 5 minutes
Add the garlic and ginger and stir for about 30 seconds
Add the grated beetroot, zest of lemon and tomatoes, letting this cook for 1 -2 minutes before adding the stock
Bring to the boil, place the lid on and let simmer for 30 minutes
Add black pepper to serve
If you are overweight then you may find that losing those extra pounds has additional benefits for blood pressure and your circulation. This is because being overweight increases your blood pressure and decreases the levels of a protein called adiponectin which regulates the break down of fats.
Any exercise that gets your heart rate up will improve circulation - even something as simple as just 20-30 minutes walking a day will have a benefit.
A 2003 review by the journal Circulation noted that regular exercise has a ‘favourable effect on many of the established risk factors for cardiovascular disease’ Exercise has been demonstrated to reduce blood pressure, reduce “bad” cholesterol levels in the blood (the low-density lipoprotein [LDL] level), as well as total cholesterol, and can raise the “good” cholesterol (the high-density lipoprotein level [HDL]). It also helps blood vessels work more efficiently.
If you find you have to sit for long periods, for example on a flight or at work, try these simple exercises to keep blood flowing to your feet.
*If you are taking any prescribed medication contact our nutrition team before taking any supplements.
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