Brisk, fall air can sometimes signal the return of this common, nagging health complaint: “My hands and feet are always cold!” Sure, you can always grab a hot pumpkin spice latte and mask the discomfort. But it pays to take steps to improve the functioning of your body’s circulatory system; doing so can protect your cardiovascular health in the long run.
Doctor’s usual orders? Plenty of exercise to keep your blood flowing freely. Anyone hoping to improve their circulation should heed this advice, since moving your body is the quickest, most effective way to boost your circulation.
But did you know that certain foods can help improve your circulation, too? These nutritious foods thin your blood naturally and prevent platelets from sticking and causing clots in your circulatory system.
Try adding some of these tasty, healthful foods into your diet to bust bad circulation today:
Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon act as a blood thinner that can stop clots from forming if eaten regularly. Aim for 2-3 servings a week, or consider a daily DHA supplement.
The University of Maryland Medical Center cites garlic’s important role in maintaining cardiovascular health, including blood thinning properties that may reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke. Garlic supplements are available on the market, but do try some zesty, potent raw cloves, too. Crush a garlic clove into a small ramekin of extra virgin olive oil, and mop it up with a piece of good bread.
You can practically feel the way a dose of spice improves your circulation! The intense peppery spice of cayenne raises your body temperature slightly (that’s why it makes you sweat) and acts as a vasodilator, widening blood vessels so blood can move more freely through your system. Try sipping hot lemon water with a dash of cayenne to get your blood flowing in the morning.
Research into this healing rhizome has found that regular consumption of ginger can reduce cholesterol levels and prevent blood from clotting. Slice fresh ginger into “coins” and drop a few into hot water to enjoy a fresh ginger tea.
Are you looking for an excuse to indulge in a little more chocolate? Here’s one: a study funded by the National Blood, Heart and Lung Institute found that chocolate lovers excreted smaller amounts of a blood-clotting compound called thromboxane in their urine than those who avoided the candy. Researchers compared the effects to those of aspirin, but warned against consuming too much sugar and fat. Still, a few squares of potent dark chocolate per day could be just the ticket to a healthy blood flow.