Health

9 Best Foods to Help Increase Blood Flow and Circulation

9 Tasty Foods Proven to Significantly Improve Blood Flow And Circulation

Proper blood flow pumps oxygen and nutrients throughout the body to keep us energized and healthy. However, poor circulation results from arterial damage and causes side effects like high blood pressure, leg pain when walking, numbness in the hands and feet, dizziness, and even dangerous clots. While medication can help, certain foods contain vitamins, minerals, and compounds that dilate blood vessels and enhance circulation naturally. Keep reading to learn nine nutritious options to incorporate into your diet. This article explores 9 Best Foods to Help Increase Blood Flow and Circulation.

Blood flow delivers oxygen and nutrients throughout the body to maintain organ health. However, poor circulation affects millions of people and can cause issues like high blood pressure, leg cramps, numbness, and fatigue. Fortunately, certain foods contain key nutrients that naturally help increase blood flow and boost overall circulation. Adding more of these foods to your diet can improve cardiovascular health in just a few weeks.

In this article, we’ll examine the top 9 circulation-boosting foods backed by science and provide tips for incorporating them into delicious, nourishing meals. Read on to learn how better nutrition can get your blood pumping!

How Diet Impacts Blood Circulation

The arteries, veins, and capillaries that make up your circulatory system distribute about 20-25% of your blood volume. This system responds to what you eat and drink.

Diets high in unhealthy fats, salt, and processed sugars lead to artery plaque buildup, damaged vessels, and thicker blood that flows less efficiently.

In contrast, eating foods with these key nutrients improves circulation by:

  • Dilating blood vessels
  • Preventing clots and plaque
  • Increasing red blood cells and oxygen
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Strengthening blood vessel walls

How 9 Best Foods To Help Increase Blood Flow And Circulation

1. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines contain omega-3 fatty acids that provide major heart health and circulation perks.

Omega-3s lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, decrease clotting, and enhance blood vessel function. The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish at least twice weekly.

Canned salmon, smoked salmon, and tuna salad are easy ways to add more omega-3-rich fish to your meal prep.

Fatty Fish
Fatty Fish

Benefits And Consuming Complications of Fatty Fish

Here is a table outlining the benefits of eating fatty fish as well as potential complications from overconsumption:

Benefits of Fatty Fish Overconsuming Complications
High in omega-3s Mercury poisoning
Reduces heart disease risk Interacts with blood thinners
Lowers triglycerides Vitamin A toxicity
Improves arterial health Too much vitamin D
May benefit brain health Gout flares
Reduces inflammation Iodine excess
Boosts mood and cognition Weight gain
Vision protection GI issues
Skin and hair improvement Fishy odor

Fatty fish like salmon provide excellent health benefits. But eating too much can lead to excessive intake of things like mercury, vitamin A, vitamin D, and iodine which leads to complications. Stick to recommended serving guidelines for your age and health status.

2. Berries

Berries like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries deliver powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits from polyphenol compounds.

These effects boost blood flow by preventing damaging free radicals from oxidizing LDL “bad” cholesterol and inflaming blood vessel walls.

Berries also increase nitric oxide levels which relax artery walls for improved circulation.

Enjoy fresh or frozen berries in yogurt, oatmeal, salads and smoothies.

Berries
Berries

Benefits, Side Effects, Over-Consuming Complications, Market Price Of Berries

Here is a table outlining the benefits, side effects, overconsumption risks, and estimated cost of common berries:

Berry Type Benefits Side Effects Overconsumption Risks Average Cost
Strawberries Vitamin C, manganese, fiber Allergic reactions GI upset, loose stools $2-$4 per pint
Blueberries Antioxidants, vitamin K, manganese Allergies Hypoglycemia $3-$5 per pint
Raspberries Antioxidants, fiber, manganese Allergic reactions Loose stools $3-$6 per pint
Blackberries Vitamin C, folate, fiber Allergies, staining Low blood sugar, diarrhea $2-$4 per pint
Cranberries Antioxidants, vitamin C Kidney stones, GI upset Drug interactions $2-$5 per pint
Acai berries Antioxidants, healthy fats Allergies Unknown long-term effects $6-$12 per pound
Goji berries Antioxidants, vitamin C Allergies Drug interactions $20-$30 per pound

Berries are nutritious but can cause allergic reactions or GI distress if over-consumed. Eat 1⁄2-1 cup daily and buy in-season for the lowest prices. Rinse well before eating.

 

3. Beets

Vibrant beets contain nitrates that the body converts to nitric oxide, a compound that dilates blood vessels. Research shows that eating beets lowers blood pressure and enhances exercise performance by boosting oxygen flow.

For a circulation-enhancing meal, blend up homemade beet juice or add roasted beets to salads. Pickled beets are also a quick pantry addition.

Beets
Beets

Here is a table outlining key details about beets

Category Details
Benefits Rich in nutrients like folate, manganese, potassium, and vitamin C. Contain antioxidants. Improve blood pressure and circulation. Anti-inflammatory.
Side Effects Beeturia – pink/red urine. Stomach discomfort. Temporary staining of hands/urine.
Overconsumption Risks Kidney stones. Low blood pressure. Folic acid excess.
Average Cost $1-$3 per pound fresh. $2-$4 per 15 oz can.

4. Garlic

Adding more garlic to recipes gives your circulation a boost thanks to its active compound allicin. Studies demonstrate garlic suppresses cholesterol production, lowers blood pressure, and prevents clots by improving blood flow.

Use minced or roasted garlic to amp up the health benefits of soups, sauces, dips, and dressings. Let crushed garlic rest for 10 minutes before cooking to fully release its compounds.

Garlic
Garlic

5. Turmeric

The vibrant orange spice turmeric contains the potent antioxidant curcumin. It works as a natural blood thinner and anti-inflammatory that improves circulation.

Research indicates turmeric relaxes artery walls, reduces clotting, and enhances blood vessel function. Sprinkle turmeric into rice, roasted veggies, soups, and curries.

Pair with black pepper to increase curcumin absorption.

Turmeric
Turmeric

6. Citrus Fruit

Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes deliver flavonoid antioxidants like naringenin that reduce inflammation in blood vessels.

Daily citrus intake lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Citrus fruits also provide circulation-fueling vitamin C which fortifies vessels and aids iron absorption.

zEnjoy citrus fruits sliced, juiced, in sparkling water, or blended into smoothies.

Citrus Fruit
Citrus Fruit

7. Pomegranates

Pomegranates offer powerful polyphenol antioxidants called punicalagins. Studies show pomegranate extract enhances blood flow, expands vessels, and prevents damaging platelet clumping.

The gems inside fresh pomegranates make beautiful garnishes. Pomegranate juice is also readily available year-round.

Pomegranates
Pomegranates

8. Walnuts

Walnuts are loaded with healthy fats, vitamin E, copper, and L-arginine which are essential for proper blood flow. These nutrients boost nitric oxide production, lower blood pressure, and reduce clotting.

Snack on a handful of walnuts or add chopped walnuts to salads and baked goods for a crunch.

Walnuts
Walnuts

9. Dark Chocolate

In moderation, dark chocolate (above 70% cocoa) offers circulation perks from antioxidant flavanols that support vessel function. Research indicates cocoa flavanols increase nitric oxide to help blood flow.

Stick to a 1-2 ounce daily portion of minimally sweetened dark chocolate for cardiovascular benefits without excess sugar.

Dark Chocolate
Dark Chocolate

Tips for Improving Circulation Through Diet

Follow these diet tips to maximize how food improves your blood flow:

Eat the rainbow

Aim for a diverse range of brightly colored fruits and veggies to load up on circulation-boosting antioxidants and polyphenols.

Up healthy fats

Increase omega-3s, olive oil, and avocados. Limit saturated and trans fats.

Season with spice

Turmeric, cayenne, cinnamon, and ginger boost blood flow.

Stay hydrated

Proper fluid intake prevents the thickening of the blood. Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

Reduce sodium

Limit daily salt to keep blood pressure in check.

Move more

Regular exercise alongside a healthy diet optimizes circulation.

Know supplements

Ask your doctor before starting supplements claiming to increase circulation. Whole foods are best.

Focusing on real, minimally processed foods that nourish your body provides noticeable circulation improvements over time. Avoid crash dieting which can deprive tissues of oxygen.

Sample Meal Plan to Improve Blood Flow

Here is a sample high-circulation day of meals and snacks to optimize your diet:

Breakfast

 Overnight oats with blueberries, walnuts, cinnamon

Snack

Sliced bell pepper with hummus

Lunch

Beet, goat cheese, and walnut salad with citrus vinaigrette

Snack

Dark chocolate strawberries

Dinner

Lemon garlic salmon with turmeric roasted cauliflower and carrots

Dessert

Greek yogurt with mixed berries

This provides a balanced combination of circulation-friendly foods that expand blood vessels, increase oxygen, and prevent clotting throughout the day.

Sample Meal Plan
Sample Meal Plan

Give Your Body the Blood Flow It Needs

If you experience symptoms of poor circulation like chronic cold hands and feet, leg pain when walking, dizziness, numbness, varicose veins, or low energy, improving your diet is a great place to start.

Be sure to consult your doctor to rule out any underlying conditions. Conditions affecting circulation like peripheral artery disease or blood clots may require medical treatment.

Focus on sustained nutrition changes rather than quick fixes. With time, eating more blood-flow-boosting foods will help your cardiovascular system function at its best.

How To Prevent Blood Clots And Improve Blood Flow With Food?

Here are some tips for preventing blood clots and improving blood flow through diet:

  • Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, tuna, walnuts, and chia seeds. Omega-3s make platelets less sticky and reduce inflammation in blood vessels.
  • Increase intake of natural blood thinners like turmeric, garlic, ginger, and cinnamon. They prevent clot formation and enhance circulation.
  • Load up on fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants and polyphenols. These compounds improve vessel function and prevent oxidative damage.
  • Stay well hydrated with water and limit alcohol and sugary beverages that thicken the blood. Proper fluid intake keeps blood viscous.
  • Reduce sodium intake to help lower blood pressure on vessel walls. Shoot for less than 2,300 mg daily.
  • Up potassium-rich foods like bananas, spinach, and sweet potatoes. Potassium balances sodium to support healthy blood pressure.
  • Avoid saturated and trans fats that can raise cholesterol levels and restrict blood vessels. Focus on healthy fats.
  • Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke, which damages blood vessel walls and increases clot risk.
  • Take regular movement breaks when sitting for long periods to boost blood flow in the legs.

Following an overall heart-healthy diet reduces clotting risks and keeps circulation pumping strong throughout the body for optimal health.

FAQs

How long does it take for dietary changes to improve circulation?

Allow at least 2-3 weeks of focusing on nitrate-rich foods, antioxidants, and omega-3s to notice a difference in circulation. Consistency is key.

What drinks are best for increasing blood flow?

Water, unsweetened tea, vegetable juice, and tart cherry juice promote healthy circulation. Limit sugary drinks and alcohol which can restrict blood vessels.

Which vitamins increase blood circulation most?

Key vitamins for circulation include vitamin C to strengthen blood vessels, B6 and B12 to boost red blood cell production, and E as an antioxidant.

What causes poor circulation in the legs?

Smoking, obesity, lack of movement, vitamin deficiencies, blood vessel damage, high cholesterol, and heart conditions can impair circulation to the legs.

Can you improve circulation with diet alone?

Diet and exercise together are best for boosting circulation. Meet with your doctor to address any underlying health issues as well.

End Words

Optimizing your diet by focusing on foods that promote circulation delivers tangible heart health benefits. Aim to include plenty of fatty fish, berries, citrus, garlic, beets, pomegranates, spices, nuts, vegetables, and dark chocolate in your meal planning. Pair nourishing foods with regular exercise and medical guidance for the best circulation possible.

Selina

My name is Selina, a medical specialist blogger helping people access treatment for 5+ years. Although blogging awhile, only recently deeply engaged. This past year my most productive, providing hospital reviews and info on symptoms, diagnoses and diseases. Also offer guidelines to help readers navigate healthcare. Goal to continue increased content pace to assist many. Aim to facilitate treatment and empower advocacy through writing.

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