Circulation provides blood supply to all our body tissues. It involves the heart, arteries, capillaries, veins, venules, and lungs. Every cell needs healthy blood circulation for a normal, healthy cellular process. Keep reading to learn ten ways to improve blood circulation naturally.
Blood Circulation Is Required For Life
Blood circulation is the journey of blood from the heart to all body parts, and then back to the heart, then to the lungs to receive fresh oxygen and so on over and over again.
Our bodies have approximately 37.2 trillion cells that need blood supply to survive. Your heart is a pump that supplies blood to each body cell.
Certain parts of our body have “dual circulation”. This means if one artery is blocked, another can supply blood to the exact area so cell death does not occur.
But, some parts of the anatomy are not so fortunate. For example, the heart has little duplication of arterial supply. This is why when an artery gets blocked in the heart, you have a heart attack due to cell death.
The same goes for the brain. It also has very little duplication of arterial supply so strokes are more likely to happen when arteries are blocked.
Good blood circulation is essential if you want your body to function well and stay healthy. Your heart pumps blood through blood vessels throughout the circulatory system. Red blood cells carry oxygen to vital organs, which supplies you with energy and zest. In partnership, your vital organs and circulatory system work continually to make sure your body has enough blood flow.
Signs of Poor Blood Circulation
Some common signs of poor blood circulation can affect the quality of life and cause health issues.
Common symptoms include:
- Cold hands and feet
- Poor digestion
- Muscle cramping
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
- Skin ulcers on the legs or feet
- Varicose veins
- Memory loss or difficulty concentrating
- Shortness of breath
- High cholesterol and blood pressure
- Numb sensation in hands, feet or toes
- Low energy or stamina
- Hair loss and dandruff
- Dry skin
5 Causes Of Deficient Blood Circulation
The most common cause of poor blood circulation is when plaque builds up in the blood vessels. This is called atherosclerosis and it restricts blood flow usually to the brain, heart, legs, and arms.
2. Blood clots
A mass in a blood vessel can limit blood flow to or from organs or tissues. When this happens a stroke, heart attack or severe arterial damage occurs.
3. Raynaud’s Disease
About 5% of the population of the United States has Raynaud’s disease. This disorder causes blood vessels to narrow and can cause numbness, tingling, and a cold feeling in the hands and feet. Raynaud’s Disease can cause poor blood circulation along with heart disease and deep vein thrombosis.
Being overweight places an immense burden on the body and increase the risk of blood pressure issues and varicose veins.
5. Diabetes mellitus
People with high blood glucose can have circulation problems because the condition can cause plaque to build up. They need to manage their blood glucose and cholesterol levels, and blood pressure for healthy blood circulation.
10 Ways To Improve Your Blood Circulation Naturally
1. Aerobic Exercise
Improve the efficiency of your cardiovascular system by exercising aerobically. When you do, your heart pumps blood through the heart and its arteries and then flows to all parts of the body. Exercise may decrease your risk of circulatory diseases like stroke, heart attack or vascular disease.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet and Favor Low Cholesterol Foods
Cholesterol is known to cause a build-up of plaque in the inner lining of the arteries. Over time arteries narrow resulting in sluggish blood flow. Gradually blood clots (thrombi) can form and you can have a stroke. If it happens in the heart, it’s called a heart attack. If it happens in the arteries of your legs, it’s called peripheral vascular disease. A diet low in cholesterol can prevent cholesterol plaques.
Avoid eating an excess of saturated fats, hydrogenated oils and dairy products which contribute to the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Instead, go for healthy fats like ghee and monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids in fish.
Eat lots of green leafy vegetables and fruit, along with whole grains. Decrease your sugar intake and excess salt.
3. Eat Plenty of Soluble Fiber
High fiber foods and herbs can help to improve your circulation by reducing the levels of cholesterol in your blood.
Good Food Sources are:
- Green Tea
- Flax seeds
Soluble fiber can decrease the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood. LDL is the type of cholesterol responsible for arterial plaque.
Herbs that Can Help Improve Blood Circulation
Here are some herbs that are known to help people improve their blood circulation and they may help you too.
- Sweet Woodruff
- Horse Chestnut
- Prickly Ash
- White Willow Bark
- Green Tea
- Ginkgo Biloba
- Goji Berries
- Cayenne Pepper
My personal favorite herb to get blood pumping for improved circulation is ginger.
You can make a fresh ginger tea:
- Juice about one pound of fresh ginger. You can store in a jar and refrigerate
- Then pour about two ounces of this juice into a mug
- Add approximately 6 ounces of hot water
- Squeeze half of a lemon and 1 TBS of honey into this mix
- Add a very small pinch (1/8 teaspoon) of cayenne pepper
4. Build the Muscles in Your Legs
If you want to keep your blood flowing, your veins must bring the blood back from the periphery of the body. Circulation is more than about arteries. If your veins are not supported by strong valves and muscles, your circulation can be sluggish and stagnate in the legs. This is what causes venous dilation or varicose veins.
Exercise is an efficient way to improve blood circulation. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can reduce your risk of cardiovascular problems. Any exercise like walking, climbing stairs, cycling, swimming will increase the pumping action of the heart to improve blood circulation.
If you do not exercise much, or if your job requires a lot of time standing, you can wear compression stockings. If you keep your leg muscles strong and avoid long periods of standing, you can prevent varicose veins.
If your veins become stagnant and dilate, there can be a seepage of blood from the veins. This condition is known as thrombophlebitis. It involves inflammation of the veins with poor circulation and it’s painful
5. Quit Smoking
Excellent circulation needs quality air exchange between de-oxygenated blood and oxygenated blood. Smoking damages the small alveoli where oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange takes place. Your lungs need to be healthy for proper air exchange and good circulation. Smoking also increases the risk of heart disease and contributes to vascular disorders.
Diabetes and Blood Circulation
If you have diabetes you should get regular medical checkups and give extra attention to healthy blood circulation.
Diabetes can be responsible for deficient blood circulation primarily in the legs and feet. Exercise is very important to improve blood flow according to the American Diabetes Association. It can lessen the chance of serious problems in those who have the disease.
6. Take Warm Baths or Alternate Between Hot and Cold Water in the Shower
Sitting in a tub of hot water will not only relax you, it will cause your peripheral blood vessels (arteries and veins in the head, neck, lower abdomen, legs and feet) to widen for faster and smoother blood circulation.
Additionally, you can alternate hot and cold water in the shower to jump start your circulation. Hot water will cause blood to flow to the periphery of your body. Change to cold water and the blood will flow back to internal organs.
7. Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol can have many harmful effects on your body. Only drink in moderation.
8. Drink Plenty of Water and Vegetable Juice
If you are dehydrated there can be a reduction in the volume of blood which can effect your blood pressure and circulation. Drink plenty of water throughout your day and keep yourself hydrated.
9. Get Regular Massages
Massage is wonderful ancient practice for improving blood circulation. The pressure of touch helps to move blood through the congested areas of the body. The squeezing and pulling of flesh also improves the circulation of lymph fluids to carry metabolic waste away form internal organs resulting in improved circulation and body function.
You can practice specific poses at home that help to improve blood circulation. Anytime you tone muscles, there will be improved blood circulation. These are a few of the best yoga stretches for toning the muscles and improving the circulation of your legs, arms and groin muscles.
- Warrior Pose
- Triangle Pose
- Shoulder Stand
- Legs Up the Wall