The Best and Worst Foods for Circulation

Can the foods you eat really have an effect on your circulation? The answer is yes.

In fact, food is one of the best tools we have for improving circulation. Poor blood circulation can lead to a number of health problems. This is why it is essential to look after your circulation and blood flow. You can do this through exercise, weight management, not smoking, and even the foods that you eat.

There are some foods that are better than others for boosting your circulation and maintaining healthy blood flow. Take a look at the list below for the best and worst foods for circulation.

The Best Foods for Circulation

Foods Containing Omega-3
Omega-3 are important because they stimulate blood flow and can break down blood clots. They also help reduce inflammation and reduce the “stickiness” of platelets in the blood. This has the effect of thinning the blood so it flows more easily. Salmon, cod, mackerel and other cold-water fish are rich in omega-3 fats. However, Omega-3 can also be found in avocado, flax and chia seeds, and more.

Citrus Fruits High in Vitamin C
Citrus fruits, like oranges and lemons, have terrific benefits for the circulatory system. They are considered natural blood thinners and also help to strengthen capillary walls. Flavonoids in these fruits have also been shown to be a benefit for varicose veins in recent studies. Don’t like citrus? You can also get vitamin C from foods like bell peppers, broccoli, pineapple, and strawberries.

Studies dating back decades have linked garlic with lower blood pressure. It’s believed this is because of a key component of garlic, called allicin, which helps dilate arteries. It is fantastic for increasing blood circulation in feet/hands, and can clear up clogged arteries if eaten raw, in moderation.

Two nutrients in nuts make them a great food for improving circulation: magnesium and L-arginine. Magnesium helps arteries relax so they can expand and contract, and L-arginine is used to produce nitric oxide, a compound that also helps arteries dilate. Nuts such as almonds, peanuts, walnuts, and many others are great additions to any diet.

Dark Chocolate
Yes, really! Dark chocolate is full of nutrients that improve circulation and blood flow. Flavonoids in this sweet treat are potent antioxidants, which means they help stop free radical activity and prevent inflammation. Be sure to stick with dark chocolate; the higher the cocoa percentage, the better. And limit yourself to 1 or two small pieces

The Worst Foods for Circulation

Trans Fats
"Bad" fats, such as trans fat, increase the level of LDL cholesterol - the harmful, low-density type of cholesterol - in your bloodstream. Trans fats are a type of fat made through a chemical process called hydrogenation. These fats have a significantly negative impact on your cholesterol levels.

Added Sugars
Eating too much sugar causes the body to release high amounts of insulin, which triggers inflammation. Sugar is also a major contributor in the development of type 2 diabetes. Many people with diabetes develop circulation-related complications because high levels of glucose make it difficult for veins and arteries to function properly.

While sodium is essential for good heart health, this is only true up to a certain point. Too much sodium causes you to retain water. The more water in your system, the greater your blood volume and the higher your blood pressure. You should not consume more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily -- 1,500 milligrams if you have high blood pressure, you're African-American or you're over age 51.

Keeping these best and worst foods in mind can help you on your way to better circulatory, cardiovascular, and overall health.

Elmore Medical Vein & Laser Treatment Center is the premier vein specialty medical practice in the Central Valley. Dr. Mario H. Gonzalez and his staff offer years of experience and medical expertise that you won’t find anywhere else. Contact us today to set up a consultation appointment.

Jennifer Guidry