Circulation Is Key
Blood is like your body’s superhighway. It carries nutrients and oxygen to everything from your heart and brain to your muscles and skin. A healthy diet is one way to optimize your circulation, or blood flow. Combined with exercise, hydration, weight management, and not smoking, some foods can help improve circulation. Next time you head to the grocery store, consider including these items in your shopping cart.
This bright red pepper does more than just spice up your food. Thanks to a compound called capsaicin, cayenne pepper can help your arteries work well. It can also help relax the muscles in your blood vessels so blood can flow easily. And that’s good for your blood pressure.
This root vegetable is rich in nitrate, which your body can convert to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps to naturally loosen up your blood vessels and improve the flow of blood to your tissues and organs. Researchers have found that beet juice can lower your systolic blood pressure (the first number in a blood pressure reading), too.
They’re rich in antioxidants, including one that’s particularly good for your blood vessels: anthocyanin. It’s the compound that gives red and purple produce that deep-colored hue. Anthocyanin can help protect the walls of your arteries from damage and keep them from becoming stiff. Plus, anthocyanin spurs the release of nitric oxide, which helps to lower your blood pressure.
If you’ve always wondered why fish is good for your heart, here’s one reason. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, and halibut are full of omega-3 fatty acids. Studies suggest that these compounds are good for your circulation. Eating fish not only lowers your resting blood pressure; it can help keep your arteries clear and unclogged, too.
The tiny juicy red seeds inside a pomegranate are packed with nutrients, in particular antioxidants and nitrates. These can boost your circulation. And they widen (dilate) your blood vessels and lower your blood pressure. That means that more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your muscles and other tissues. And for active people, greater blood flow may bring along a performance boost, too.
Garlic is good for more than keeping vampires away. It contains a sulfur compound called allicin that helps your blood vessels relax. Studies show that in people who eat a diet rich in garlic, blood flows more efficiently. That means the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to move blood throughout the body, which helps keep your blood pressure down.
Go nuts for nuts, especially walnuts. These crinkly-skinned nuts are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid, which may help blood move smoothly. A study found that eating walnuts regularly for 8 weeks improved blood vessel health, helped those vessels stay elastic, and brought down blood pressure.
They’ll help keep your arteries healthy and improve blood flow -- all well tasting naturally sweet. A study found that the antioxidants in grapes encouraged blood vessels to relax and work more efficiently. Plus, grapes curb inflammatory and other molecules in the blood that could make blood sticky, which can get in the way of circulation.