Poor circulation is a common problem caused by a number of conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, or smoking, among others.
Decreased blood flow can cause unpleasant symptoms, such as pain, muscle cramps, numbness, digestive problems, and cold hands or feet.
Although circulatory problems are often treated with medications, eating certain foods can also improve blood flow. Therefore, discover the 7 best foods to improve blood circulation in order to improve it without taking medications.
7 foods to optimize blood circulation
1. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper gets its pungent flavor from a phytochemical called capsaicin.
Capsaicin promotes blood flow to tissues by lowering blood pressure and stimulating the release of nitric oxide and other vasodilators, or compounds that help expand blood vessels, which helps blood flow more easily.
Research indicates that cayenne pepper intake improves circulation , blood vessel resistance and reduces plaque build-up in the arteries. (Juturu, 2016) Also, these hot peppers are frequently included in pain relief creams because they can stimulate blood flow to the affected area.
Pomegranates are juicy and sweet fruits particularly high in polyphenols, antioxidants and nitrates, which are powerful vasodilators .
Consuming pomegranate as a juice, raw fruit, or supplement can improve blood flow and oxygenation of muscle tissue , which could be especially helpful for active people.
A study in 19 active people found that ingesting 1,000 mg of pomegranate extract 30 minutes before training increased blood flow, blood vessel diameter, and exercise performance. (Melvin, Smith-Ryan, Trexler, Roelofs, and Wingfield. 2014). On the other hand, another study showed that daily consumption of 500 ml of pomegranate juice during or before weight training reduces pain, muscle damage and inflammation. (Abdelkarim et al, 2016)
This vegetable improves circulation by helping your arteries and veins to widen when blood flow increases, as well as being a great source of antioxidants.
Taking 4.3 grams of onion extract daily was shown to significantly improve blood flow and dilation of the arteries after meals in one study. (Higashi, Nakayama, Sawada, and Tsuge, 2013)
Also, onions have anti-inflammatory properties , which can improve blood flow and heart health by reducing inflammation in the veins and arteries.
Cinnamon is a spice that has many health benefits, including increased blood flow.
In animal studies, cinnamon has been seen to improve blood vessel dilation and blood flow in the coronary artery, which supplies blood to the heart.
Rats fed 200 mg per kg of body weight of cinnamon bark extract daily for 8 weeks showed better cardiac performance and coronary artery blood flow after a physical exercise session compared to those not ingesting cinnamon. (Badalzadeh, Dehghan, Mohammadi, Mohammadi and Shaghaghi, 2014). Also, cinnamon can lower blood pressure in humans by relaxing blood vessels. (Kawatray and Rajagopalan, 2015)
In a study of 59 people with type 2 diabetes, ingesting 1,200 mg of cinnamon per day lowered blood pressure after 12 weeks. (Akilen, Pimlott, Robinson and Tsiami, 2013)
Garlic is known for its beneficial impact on circulation and heart health.
Studies suggest that garlic, specifically its sulfur compounds, which include allicin, can increase tissue blood flow and lower blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels. In fact, diets rich in garlic are associated with better vasodilation.
In a study of 42 people with coronary artery disease, those who consumed garlic powder tablets, containing 1,200 mg of allicin, twice a day for three months experienced a 50% improvement in blood flow through the artery upper arm compared to a placebo group. (Arjmand, Mahdavi-Roshan, Mirmiran and Nasrollahzadeh, 2017).
6. Fatty fish
Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are excellent sources of fatty acids and omega-3s. These fats are especially beneficial for circulation because they promote the release of nitric oxide . Additionally, fish oil supplements are linked to lowering high blood pressure and improving blood flow in skeletal muscle during and after exercise.
For example, in a study in 10 healthy men, it was observed that high doses of fish oil (4.2 grams daily for 4 weeks) significantly improved blood flow to the legs after exercise. (Johnson, Pearson and Robins, 2014)
Beets are high in nitrates, which your body ingests converts into nitric oxide. For its part, beet juice supplements improve oxygen flow in muscle tissue , stimulate blood flow and increase nitric oxide levels, also increasing exercise performance.
In addition to helping athletes, beets improve blood flow in older adults with circulatory problems. In a study of 12 older adults, those who drank 140 ml of nitrate-rich beet juice per day experienced significant decreases in blood pressure and blood vessel inflammation, compared to a placebo group. (Allen et al., 2017).
- Abdelkarim, O., Ammar, A., Ayadi, F., Bouaziz, M., Chtourou, H., Chumoso, K., Driss, T… and Turki, M. (2016). Pomegranate Supplementation Accelerates Recovery of Muscle Damage and Soreness and Inflammatory Markers after a Weightlifting Training Session. Plos One. Doi: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0160305
- Akilen, R., Pimlott, Z., Robinson, N. and Tsiami, A. (2013). Effect of short-term administration of cinnamon on blood pressure in patients with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Nutrition, 29. (pp 1192-1196). doi: 10.1016 / j.nut.2013.03.007
- Allen, J., Briskey, D., Fassett, R., Hickey, D., Kerr, G., Leveritt, M., Neubauer, N… and Raubenheimer, K. (2017). Acute Effects of Nitrate-Rich Beetroot Juice on Blood Pressure, Hemostasis and Vascular Inflammation Markers in Healthy Older Adults: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Study. Nutrients. doi: 10.3390 / nu911127
- Arjmand, M., Mahdavi-Roshan, M., Mirmiran, P. and Nasrollahzadeh, J. (2017). Effects of garlic on brachial endothelial function and capacity of plasma to mediate cholesterol efflux in patients with coronary artery disease. The Anatolian Journal of Cardiology. doi:
10.14744 / AnatolJCardiol.2017.7669
- Badalzadeh, R., Dehghan, G., Mohammadi, M., Mohammadi, Z. and Shaghaghi, M. (2014). The Effect of Cinnamon Extract and Long-Term Aerobic Training on Heart Function, Biochemical Alterations and Lipid Profile Following Exhaustive Exercise in Male Rats.
Scopus Journal Metrics. doi: 10.5681 / apb.2014.076
- Higashi, Y., Nakayama, H., Sawada, H. and Tsuge, N. (2013). Chronic Intake of Onion Extract Containing Quercetin Improved Postprandial Endothelial Dysfunction in Healthy Men. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. doi: 10.1080 / 07315724.2013.797858
- Juturu, V. (2016). Capsaicinoids Modulating Cardiometabolic Syndrome Risk Factors: Current Perspectives. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. doi: 10.1155 / 2016/4986937
- Kawatray, P. and Rajagopalan, R. (2015). Cinnamon: Mystic powers of a minute ingredient. Pharmacognosy Research. doi: 10.4103 / 0974-8490.157990
- Melvin, M., Smith-Ryan, A., Trexler, E., Roelofs, E. and Wingfield, H. (2014). Effects of pomegranate extract on blood flow and running time to exhaustion. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. doi: 10.1139 / apnm-2014-0137
- Johnson, T., Pearson, S. and Robins, A. (2014). Fish Oil Supplementation, Resting Blood Flow and Markers of Cellular Metabolism during Incremental Exercise Fish Oil Supplementation, Resting Blood Flow and Markers of Cellular Metabolism During Incremental Exercise.
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