If you are you feeling sluggish, worn out or have frequent pain in your legs, then you may want to improve blood circulation.
The average adult has about 60,000 miles of blood vessels that circulate and remove toxins from your 37 trillion body cells. Poor circulation is not a condition itself. But it results from other health issues. A poor functioning circulatory system will increase your chances of serious illnesses like cardiovascular disease, eye disease, kidney disease, diabetes and dementia. However, it’s easy to improve blood circulation by adopting healthy lifestyle habits.
There are many components to healthy circulation, including:
- a robust heart to pump the blood
- healthy elastic blood vessels that can expand and contract as needed and are not clogged with calcium or fats
- blood that flows with low viscosity, meaning like red wine vs the more typical and unhealthy American blood that flows like catsup
- properly regulated blood pressure, not too much, not too little
Blood Circulation is Driven by Heart Blood Flow
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is a circulatory condition that causes narrowing the blood vessels and arteries. Over time it can cause numbness, tingling and nerve damage. (1)
Your body’s, blood circulation is driven by the heart, transporting life-sustaining oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to your organs, and then carrying back carbon-dioxide and metabolic waste from your organs. When there is a build up of fatty substance called plaque inside the blood vessels, it restricts free flow of blood around the body.
Circulation problems are triggered by :
- inflammation caused by poor lifestyle habits such as smoking,
- alcohol abuse
- excess weight
- poor diet, especially trans fats or low intake of fresh fruits and vegetables as causative factors
- lack of physical activity due to sedentary lifestyle
- sitting for long periods
- medical conditions leading to a poor circulatory system.
Heart Circulation and Disease
Poor heart circulation has many symptoms and can be the beginning of disease. Health issues can include thick blood (versus thin blood that circulates better), weaker heart, hardened or occluded arteries. Good heart circulation is like uninterrupted flow of life force energy around your body, which is vitally important for proper functioning of your body and mind, besides reducing the risk of serious illnesses:
Plaque formation occurs along the walls of the arteries when there is poor circulation, this constricts and hardens the arteries causing high blood pressure and elevating the risk for heart attack and stroke. By improving blood circulation you facilitate the free flow of blood and lower your risk of heart diseases. The heart needs a constant electrical impulse to fire from the sino auricular node, which is sometimes replaced when worn out with a pacemaker.
Your circulatory system is responsible for the delivery of glucose in the blood, around the body. Supporting good circulation will help with better regulation of blood glucose levels, which reduces your risk of diabetes. Excessive blood glucose actually “cooks” (glycation) the blood vessels, which is why diabetics can end up with gangrene, heart disease, and kidney failure.
Low cellular oxygenation levels are an underlying cause of cancer, however by strengthening your blood circulation you increase oxygen supply to your cells and thereby reduce cancer growth. As proven by Nobel laureate Otto Warburg, MD, cancer is an anaerobic growth that needs sugar and spews out lactic acid as a by-product.
Blood vessel damage and plaque formation in the brain cause Alzheimer’s disease and improved blood circulation can keep your brain functioning at optimal levels and reduce the risk Alzheimer’s disease.
Being overweight puts you at risk for many diseases including poor circulation, particularly when your body is burdened with extra pounds and additional sitting which can aid in reduced blood circulation.
Increase Blood Flow with Healthy Habits
Improve your blood flow and circulation by adopting a healthier lifestyle with regular exercise, nutritious diet and a healthy diet.
Chose healthy habits to improve blood circulation
Smoking, soft drinks and processed junk foods (high in sugar or salt, refined grains, and fat), increase inflammation and plaque formation and will increase inflammation and restrict blood flow.
Massage is a wonderful way to help move blood through congested areas and boost circulation and massage therapy improves general blood flow and alleviates muscle soreness after exercise, according to a recent study. (1) Try coconut oil, jojoba or shea butter together with a few drops of essential oils such as rosemary, lavender, frankincense, or bergamot.
Healthy Diet and Healthy Living
A healthy diet, with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats keeps blood alkaline and helps in fighting inflammation, lowering cholesterol levels and reducing plaque formation in the arteries. Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) reduce inflammation and may reduce many chronic diseases. (3) Also staying hydrated (8-12 glasses a day), helps in increasing oxygen level in the blood stimulates poor coronary circulation. There are many herbs and condiments that help to thin the blood to improve circulation, such as cayenne peppers, ginger, garlic, turmeric.
Spend about 30 minutes every day doing exercise, as movement keeps blood pumping and prevents stagnation in all parts of the body. People, who sit at the desk all day, should take regular breaks to stretch their bodies for 3-5 minutes to maintain heart blood flow, vitally important for blood circulation.
When you are relaxed, capillaries and muscles function smoothly, allowing easier blood flow. Relaxation activities like yoga, listening to music, breathing exercises and meditation help in improving heart blood flow. Adequate sleep and massage also help in increasing blood circulation by relaxing effects on your body.
Dry Skin Brushing
Your skin is made up of nerves, glands and many layers to protect your body and your skin is vital in helping detoxifying your body. If your skin is unable to detox due to layers of dead skin cells you will not be able to remove metabolic wastes from your body which is necessary for optimal heart blood flow.
Elevate Your Legs
When you are sitting or resting elevate your legs. Use a foot stool to raise your legs. An easy way to improve circulation.
Long periods of immobility will certainly reduce blood circulation. If you need to sit, get up often and move about.
(4) Srivastava R, Dikshit M, Srimal RC, Dhawan BN. Anti-thrombotic effect of curcumin. Thromb Res1985;40:413-7.