Your body’s circulatory system is one of its most essential components. It includes your heart, lungs, and blood vessels and inherently links to all significant health aspects of your body. Improving what you eat to support circulation will enhance the health of your body overall.
If you want to maintain a consistent level of good health, it’s essential to make sure that you treat your body well. A good starting point to doing this is to add the right ingredients to your diet over time. Take it slow. Health is a marathon.
Have you ever noticed that diets are tough to follow? Taking away the foods you enjoy from your menu is a tough thing to master psychologically.
Instead of taking things out of your diet, consider what foods you can add that will treat your body like medicine does. Adding a wide range of whole food ingredients to your daily diet can begin to work wonders for your health if consumed regularly.
Taking care of your body is a multifaceted effort. No one food is going to cure any of your health problems magically. However, a real lifestyle change towards healthier habits is a sure way to increase your overall health over time.
With that in mind, below are the 15 best foods you can eat to support your circulatory system.
15 Foods for Circulatory System Support
1. Leafy greens
Leafy greens like collard greens and kale are jam-packed with essential nutrients that create a suitable environment for your body. They have beneficial vitamins and antioxidants that support many of your body’s vital functions. Specifically, vitamin K is a great nutrient that benefits your blood flow and prevents over-clotting.
In addition, the rich content of nitrates allows these green veggies to help your body reduce blood pressure and decrease stiffness in arteries.
Intake of leafy greens can help decrease your risk of heart disease, according to some studies.
Eating a salad every day with a variety of leafy greens, olive oil, berries, and walnuts (see #5) is a great way to incorporate a handful of good-for-you ingredients in a single meal.
2. Whole Grains
A “whole” grain refers to grains that have the germ, endosperm, and bran included. Grains that have been minimally processed like quinoa or buckwheat are great examples of this. The fiber contained in these grains can significantly reduce the body’s retention of bad cholesterol.
In addition, oats are another incredible source of whole grains that can help the body fight bad cholesterol. “Ezekiel bread,” whole-grain bread with a variety of seeds and natural grains, is another great option in this category. Although whole grains have gotten a bad rap recently, they are outstanding for most people when consumed in their most whole and natural form.
3. Dark Chocolate
The flavonoids present in the natural cocoa plant links to improving blood circulation. A study found in the Circulation Journal stated that dark chocolates rich in flavonoids improved the patient’s blood circulation. In contrast, white chocolate (which is not actually chocolate) did not yield the same result.
Dark chocolate shouldn’t be too hard for most people to eat, but if you don’t like the taste, try adding raw cocoa powder to your coffee in the morning. This addition can be a great substitute for cream.
4. Cold-Water Fish
Fish that live in cold water contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Think salmon, mackerel, and cod. These fats are crucial for the heart and the entire circulatory system. Adding fish like salmon to your diet is a great way to get your protein and a ton of vital nutrients simultaneously.
Nuts contain both magnesium and L-arginine. Magnesium allows your body’s arteries to loosen and relax so that they can make way for more blood. L-arginine helps to produce nitric oxide, which performs the same function.
Even just one handful of nuts per day can add a ton of vital nutrients to your diet. You can even blend them up in smoothies for even more convenience.
The vitamin C present in oranges allows the blood capillaries to dilate and carry more blood to the cells. Vitamin C also aids in the production of collagen, which aids in circulation as well. Any food high in vitamin C is a great option to add to your diet if you want to increase your body’s circulatory health. Make sure that you eat an orange whole and not juiced so that you don’t miss out on the valuable fiber content.
Berries of all kinds are incredibly nutrient-dense. Besides, they contain anthocyanins, which protect the body from inflammation, which contributes to heart disease. Eating high amounts of berries can reduce factors for heart disease, including decreasing bad LDL cholesterol.
Adding berries as a regular part of your diet can greatly increase the health of your circulatory system. You can add a handful of berries as they are, blend them in smoothies, or add them to salads for an easy way to incorporate them into your diet.
Garlic is incredibly potent food for your health for many reasons, but it also aids your body’s natural flow of blood. It can help lower blood pressure with the allicin present in it. This compound helps the arteries dilate.
Make sure to eat it raw — you can swallow whole garlic cloves without swallowing, like a pill. Adding garlic to your daily diet is an easy way to increase your body’s natural flow of blood. You can also cook it, but cooking it at high heats for long periods can diminish some of the valuable nutrients that it has to offer.
Watermelon contains lycopene, a natural antioxidant that can help to improve circulation. Other red foods like tomatoes contain high amounts of lycopene as well. This food is an excellent and easy health addition to aid your body’s circulatory system. Watermelon is another fruit that can be eaten as is or added to smoothies.
10. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper can help increase your metabolic rate, which in turn stimulates the arteries and blood vessels. Luckily, cayenne pepper is easy to add to a wide variety of dishes and goes well on fish, poultry, or red meat alike.
11. Ginger Root
One of the healthiest foods on Earth, ginger root can aid in digestion problems and increase the body’s blood circulation. Ginger can be added to a wide variety of Asian dishes or shredded and blended in a smoothie. It’s pretty potent, so it might be a bit difficult to eat raw.
12. Goji Berries
Goji berries are a mainstay in health stores. They can work in conduction with other foods to increase the body’s blood circulation. They are also high in fiber, meaning they can help contribute to decreasing LDL cholesterol. While goji berries are healthy, they’re also a bit expensive, so use discretion when buying them against another berry.
13. Ginkgo Biloba
This extract from the ginkgo tree helps to dilate blood vessels. Some sources claim it increases blood flow to the brain specifically, although this is uncertain. You can et this in tea or pill form.
The presence of nitrate in beets converts to nitric oxide, which helps the blood vessels to dilate naturally. They are also chock-full of incredible nutrients that support your body’s overall health. Your circulatory system is related to all aspects of your body, so it’s never a bad idea to pursue holistic health along with it.
Lesser-known in the Western world, this food made from fermented soybeans contains high amounts of a blood-thinning nutrient known as nattokinase. This compound reduces the fiber in your blood, making it less “sticky.” Make sure that you stay away from natto if you are on any prescription blood thinner.
Bonus: The two worst foods for circulation
Sugar is bad for your health overall. That’s no surprise. Eating sugar causes your body to release far too much insulin, causing your body to become chronically inflamed.
The chronic inflammation associated with overeating sugar can cause your body to develop type 2 diabetes, which in turn damages the circulatory system. The high levels of glucose present in the blood make the veins more brittle and unable to function as they were intended.
While your intake of salt (and its related effects on your health) are still being studied, it is clear that intaking massive amounts of sodium is terrible for you. While you can certainly counteract this with activity, it’s important to cut the excess amounts of sodium present in your diet.
Final Thoughts on Trying to Eat More Foods That Boost Circulatory System Health
Overall, try incorporating one or two of these foods over time into your diet. Apart from benefiting your system, these foods contain a ton of nutrients that benefit your overall health in a variety of ways. Also, one of the best ways you can benefit your circulatory system is by adding exercise as a part of your daily routine. This activity can also help your heart and lungs strengthen, along with the benefits added by nutritious foods.