12 Ways To Improve Your Circulation
12 Ways To Improve Your Circulation

12 Ways To Improve Your Circulation

Good blood flow is one of the most important building blocks of better health. The problem is, a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet and smoking can all take their toll on your circulation – affecting mood and cognitive function in the short term, while increasing your long-term risk of heart disease. Here’s what three experts recommend…
By Tor West

Know The Signs

“The heart pumps around 2,000 gallons of blood every day through 60,000 miles of arteries, veins and capillaries. Proper circulation provides nutrients and oxygen to organs and tissues, keeps them working properly and helps with the removal of waste from tissues. Signs of poor blood circulation include cold hands and feet, or fingers and toes that look very pale or blue in colour; weak muscles, especially when you walk; numbness, tingling or pain in the limbs; dry, cracked skin on your feet; brittle nails; and feeling dizzy when rising from sitting to standing.” – Dr Deborah Lee, GP at Dr Fox Online Pharmacy


Understand The Why

“The human body needs a consistent, healthy flow of oxygen – and nutrient-rich blood – to work efficiently. Improving circulation helps reduce the risk of chronic disease in the future. If the blood vessels supplying an organ are damaged, then less oxygen and fewer nutrients are delivered throughout the body. We all have a genetic blueprint when it comes to disease risk, but how we interact with our environment and our health behaviours influence the way these genes act. Improving your circulatory health is a great first step in future-proofing your health.” – Dr Jo Mennie, women’s health specialist at GetHarley


Do More Cardio

“Aerobic exercise – aka cardio – has incredible circulatory benefits. Any form of exercise that increases your heart rate, makes you break a sweat and slightly out of breath will improve the heart’s efficiency, get blood pumping and help maintain heart health in the long-term. Doing enough cardio will also reduce the risk of high blood pressure and lower cholesterol, both of which impact the health of your heart, too. There’s no need to overdo it, either. Studies show three 30-minute sessions a week is enough to reap the results.” – Deborah


Aim For Ten-A-Day

“Fruit and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which help to increase the width of blood vessels so your body can pump blood more easily, improving circulation. Studies show we should be aiming for ten – not five – portions per day. The more brightly coloured the food, the better. Beetroot, leafy green vegetables, peppers, carrots, butternut squash and tomatoes are particularly rich in antioxidants.” – Deborah


Drink Plenty Of Water

“For healthy circulation, it’s imperative to stay hydrated. The problem is, 66% of us don’t drink enough water, and the more you weigh, the more water you need – two litres is a blanket recommendation but you may well need more. Dehydration causes raised blood pressure, putting the heart under increased stress, and being just 1% dehydrated causes headaches, light-headedness, dry mouth and cognitive impairment. If you weigh 60kg, aim for least 2.1 litres per day, increasing to 2.4 litres if you weigh 70g and 2.8 litres if you weigh 80kg.” – Deborah


Eat More Berries

“There is growing evidence to suggest a diet rich in berries can improve circulation and reduce the risk of developing cardiac disease. It’s believed this is down to anthocyanins, naturally occurring plant pigments that give fruit and vegetables their deep purple, blue and red colours. Seek out haskapa berries, which contain four times more anthocyanins than blueberries. It’s believed they improve blood flow by raising nitric oxide, a molecule produced in the lining of blood vessels that leads to enhanced blood flow. Studies have also linked haskapa berries to enhanced athletic performance for this very reason.” – Dr Evie Kemp, co-founder & research director at Haskapa


Try Acupuncture

“Acupuncture is a great way to improve circulation. Think of your body like a long, winding river, into which debris can easily fall, creating whirlpools and blockages. Acupuncture clears this debris and makes the river free-flowing once more – i.e., improving circulation. In Chinese medicine, poor circulation is seen as a blood deficiency, which presents as sluggish bowels, cold hands and feet, exhaustion, mood swings, hormonal imbalances and irregular periods. In TCM, sleep and diet are key for improving circulation. Adequate sleep enables oxygen-enriched blood to circulate throughout the body, while eating warming soups and stews and avoiding gluten and wheat can help strengthen the blood.” – Zoe Young, TMC practitioner, acupuncturist & founder of AcuPips


Load Up On Fatty Fish

“Fish like salmon and sardines can help improve blood flow and are excellent for circulation. Aim for two servings per week. If you don’t eat fish, consider a supplement. Look for a quality formula that contains 250-500mg of EPA and DHA combined.” – Deborah


Keep Oestrogen In Check

“Oestrogen has a positive effect on the female cardiovascular system. It’s a powerful antioxidant that can lower inflammation and cholesterol, and keeps the muscles in the arterial walls smooth and relaxed. This is why women have a lower risk of heart disease until the menopause, when their risk rapidly catches up with that of men. Moreover, studies have shown the average heart rate is higher in the second half of the menstrual cycle. Reduced oestrogen levels can impact circulation, so it pays to keep oestrogen levels balanced, especially if you are perimenopausal.” – Deborah


Don’t Cross Your Legs

“Studies show crossing your legs at the knees – but not at the ankles – can increase blood pressure and make it harder for blood to keep flowing. If you sit at a desk, get into the habit of standing up and moving around every 60-90 minutes and avoid crossing your legs under the desk. If your feet and ankles swell at the end of the day, it can help to elevate your legs to reduce swelling, but your feet need to be lifted higher than your heart to make a difference.” – Deborah


Quit Smoking

“Smoking is the biggest lifestyle culprit contributing to poor circulation. The nicotine in tobacco causes your blood vessels to narrow, and the chemicals within smoke damage the cells that line blood vessels, making plaque formation more likely. The sooner you quit smoking, the sooner your circulation – and overall health – will improve.” – Jo


Get Your Thyroid Tested

“An out-of-balance thyroid can be responsible for poor circulation. In fact, key signs of an underactive thyroid include easily feeling the cold, putting on weight for no reason, feeling lethargic, or noticing changes in your hair and skin. When the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones, the heart slows and contracts less fully, leading to sluggish circulation. This will leave you not only feeling below par, but if left untreated can increase your risk of heart disease. Ask your GP for a full thyroid panel that encompasses all the thyroid hormones, as well as your thyroid antibodies, which can show if there is a wider immune issue at play.” – Mark Whiteley, venous surgeon & founder of The Whiteley Clinic

For more from the experts visit DoctorFox.co.uk, TheWhiteleyClinic.co.ukGetHarley.com

DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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