Good blood circulation is very important to our health and well being because blood carries oxygen as well as nutrients to all parts of the body. Blood needs to be circulated effectively in order to nourish tissues and organs as well as aid the removal of waste products. A sluggish circulatory system can have negative effects on several aspects of our lives. One of the most common symptoms of poor circulation are cold hands and feet and sometimes a numbness or tingling in the extremities. Fortunately, there are a number of steps we can take to try and ease the symptoms and improve the flow of blood through our bodies.
Exercise is the biggest weapon we have against poor circulation. A sedentary lifestyle will only acerbate the problems of bad circulation. If you sit at a computer all day for work, you must make the effort to move about frequently, taking time to stretch out or go for a walk around the block. Regular, frequent exercise such as swimming, walking or gentle cycling will quickly produce positive results. Regular, moderate exercise and physical activity are the key to improving blood circulation as well as increasing your overall levels of fitness and health.
Foods that Help
A diet rich in pumpkin seeds, garlic, ginger, oranges, salmon and avocado should make a dent in your poor circulation. Make adjustments in your diet if you are not taking on enough water throughout the day, also ensure you are not overloading on caffeine which can be detrimental. Foods rich in Omega 3 such as oily fish (sardines, mackerel, fresh tuna, herrings) is known to be beneficial for circulation, and its vegetarian equivalent, alpha linolenic acid, is found in tofu, walnuts, green leafy veg and soya. Alternatively, eggs enriched with Omega 3 are another way of taking this healthy supplement on board.
Healthy/minimal levels of cholesterol are desirable in those suffering from poor circulation, so aim to consume a diet rich in cholesterol busting foods. Try eating a daily handful of nuts (almonds are good) or a bowl of porridge oats or barley which are higher in soluble fiber. Soya foods such as milk, yoghurt and tofu can also help reduce cholesterol levels due to their low saturated fat.
Supplements that Work
The most popular natural supplement taken for circulatory problems is Gingko Biloba. Another popular self-treatment options include ginger, cayenne and garlic supplements. Vitamin B Complex, Vitamin C, zinc, calcium and magnesium can all help too – before taking any additional supplements fully discuss it with your doctor to make sure there is no conflict between your existing medications and a new supplement.
Conditions that make it Worse
Smoking is a key cause of circulatory problems as it narrows blood vessels – if you haven’t given up already, try and make the effort now. The medical evidence against smoking as an unhealthy lifestyle habit is impossible to ignore. The good news is, once you ditch the tobacco the improvements to your circulation and general energy levels will be swiftly appreciated.
Medical conditions which make circulation worse include vascular diseases, Raynaud’s disease, hyperthyroidism and diabetes. For those who suffer with cold hands and feet there are products that can ease your discomfort. Feet that get cold or swollen due to the circulatory challenges of diabetes can be soothed by wearing loose fitting soft top socks available from good foot care products suppliers. Specially formulated loose fitting socks that grip the leg without constricting it, are an essential part of the diabetes sufferer’s wardrobe, giving them an extra level of comfort and relief. Other foot care products to ease the symptoms of diabetes related to poor circulation include foot creams, lotions and orthotics to reduce the incidence of pressure points in the soles of the feet.
Other self-help measures you can take to improve the discomfort of poor circulation include sitting or lying with your legs raised up on cushions. This helps increase blood flow back to the heart and keeps your circulation moving. Taking a warm bath is not only relaxing, it will warm up cold extremities effectively. Warm bath water encourages blood vessels to expand, easing flow through your body.
Don’t just suffer in silence with bad circulation. There are plenty of positive steps you can take to help ease the discomfort. Whether it’s a change of diet, a new exercise regime, some new foot care products or a combination of measures, poor circulation can be managed successfully. And as with any lifestyle changes that may influence a medical condition, discuss first with your doctor how you aim to proceed. He or she will undoubtedly have valuable insights to offer themselves…