The heart truly is the most amazing organ in the body. Our average heart rate is 75 beats per minute, our heart beats roughly 4,500 times an hour…108,000 times a day…and more than 39 million times in a year.
Live to be 80, and we’re talking about more than 3 trillion contractions.
How amazing it is? How much work it does? OMG!!!
When we talk about circulation, we’re talking about blood flow through the arteries and veins. The easier it is, the less wear and tear there is on the heart, and the better our health will tend to be.
Not surprisingly, food is one of the best tools we have for improving circulation. Some foods press all of the right buttons, while others press the wrong ones. Here we have the right and the wrong kind of Foods…….
Best Food that improves Circulation:
Cold-Water Fish: Salmon, cod, mackerel and other cold-water fish are rich in omega-3 fats—the healthiest kind of fats for the heart and circulatory system. Not only do omega-3s help reduce inflammation, but they help reduce the “stickiness” of platelets in the blood. This has the effect of thinning the blood so it flows more easily.
Nuts: There are two nutrients in nuts that make them a great one-two punch 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. With lots of healthy fat and protein, nuts are fantastic snacks when we need to tide ourself over for a while. Hearty and filling, they are packed with nutrition. Olive oil, mixed nuts eaten with a Mediterranean-type diet have been shown to reduce risk of cardiovascular events and diabetes.
Oranges: They’re high in vitamin C, which has terrific benefits for the circulatory system, particularly the thousands of miles of tiny capillaries that carry blood from the arteries directly to cells. Vitamin C is essential for the formation of collagen, which is a primary building material for creating and maintaining this “microcirculation.” It’s also another potent antioxidant. Lemons, bell peppers, broccoli, pineapple, and strawberries, etc will all give the same benefits.
Garlic: Studies dating back decades have linked garlic with lower blood pressure, and it’s believed that happens because a key component of garlic, allicin, helps arteries dilate. The only issue is that allicin is quickly degraded by heat—so if we need to maximize this benefit, we’ll have to eat it raw. If it must be cooked, use low heat and try not to have it in the pan any longer than necessary.
Natto: This traditional Japanese dish is a cheese-like food made from fermented soybeans, and it’s rich in a blood-thinning nutrient called nattokinase. Nattokinase reduces the amount of fibrin in our blood—fibrin being one of the substances necessary for clotting to occur. The less of it we have, the less “sticky” our blood is. There’s one extremely important thing with natto: one should never eat it if they take the prescription of blood thinner Coumadin (warfarin). Coumadin also reduces fibrin levels, and mixing the two could thin the blood too much, which could lead to internal bleeding.
Beets: Beets help improve circulation because they’re rich in nitrate. In the body, nitrate is converted into nitric oxide, helps arteries dilate.
Dark Chocolate: This sweet treat is full of nutrients that improve circulation and blood flow—specifically, flavonoids. Flavonoids are potent antioxidants, which means they help stop free radical activity and prevent inflammation from taking hold. Just be sure to stick with dark chocolate, and the higher the percentage of cacao, the better. Just remember to practice moderation, and limit to 1 or 2 small pieces.
Worst foods for Circulation:
Added Sugar: Eating too much sugar causes the body to release high amounts of insulin, which triggers inflammation. Diabetes is a circulation killer because chronically high levels of glucose in the blood coat arteries and veins, making them progressively more brittle and less able to function properly. This is why so many people with diabetes develop circulation-related complications. The easiest way to cut down on sugar is by cutting high-glycemic carbohydrates out of the diet. In addition, be on the lookout for “hidden sugar” lurking in places we might not expect it to be. Salad dressings, barbecue sauce, and other processed foods are notorious this way.
Trans Fats: If we cook with oil, trans fats can be created under high heat (frying), plus there’s always a chance that food processing can create them. So, never ever deep fry.
Salt: Sodium, half of the chemical structure of salt, is essential for good heart health. However, beyond a certain amount, it can be risky because it causes to retain water. The more water in the system, the greater the blood volume and the higher the blood pressure. One of the issues with salt is the same as with sugar—it’s “hidden” in a lot of processed foods. Again, avoid them if it can be. But don’t avoid salt altogether, body needs it too.