Blood circulation keeps you alive. The better your circulation, the better your health and performance. Your body depends on the pumping of your heart, sending rich red cells to tissues and organs via your arteries and veins.
Here is a closer look at blood circulation, the benefits of good vein health, and 7 tips to improve circulation.
What is Blood Circulation?
Your body relies on the blood that your heart pumps throughout your body. The red cells in your blood carry needed oxygen and nutrients to tissues and organs, then takes waste products out.
The blood flows away from your heart through your arteries, and back to your heart using your veins. It’s not an easy job. For example, when you stand, the blood must flow uphill to get back to your heart.
Without this constant pumping and circulation, your body couldn’t function. When your circulation works efficiently, every part of your body benefits.
Why Does Blood Circulation Matter?
Circulation performs three major jobs, all essential to staying you alive. Here’s a look at how this keeps you healthy.
Brings oxygen. The blood flowing through your vessels carries vital oxygen. Without it, your organs couldn’t function and would simply shut down.
Carries nutrients. The blood also brings nutrients and minerals that help cells grow and stay healthy.
Takes away waste. Carbon dioxide and other waste products move from your tissues and organs into your blood, transporting them to your lungs and out of your body.
If your circulation isn’t working well, you can suffer from a variety of problems, major and minor. Serious health problems include heart disease, blood clots, strokes and memory loss.
Though less serious, circulation troubles cause a range of other health conditions. These include headaches, dizziness, dark circles under your eyes, varicose veins and leg cramps.
7 Tips to Improve Blood Circulation
Small steps can make a major difference in the quality of your circulation. Here are 7 effective ways to keep your blood flowing at optimum levels.
Sitting for hours in front of the computer or television slows your circulation. Get in the habit of moving every hour. Small amounts of activity really make a difference. Do a few jumping jacks, rotate your arms in circles, walk around the house, stretch for a minute or two.
One of the biggest culprits of poor circulation is nicotine. It narrows your blood vessels and increases the pressure on artery walls. Don’t smoke.
Elevate your legs.
Prop up your legs periodically during the day. This lessens the pressure on veins in your lower limbs. It is especially effective if your legs are at a higher level than your heart. While you’re relaxing, wiggle your toes and rotate your feet, for added benefit.
Consume less sugar, fat and salt. You don’t have to give up your favorite junk food entirely. But put the emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean protein.
Eat more fruit.
Vitamin C, lycopene and fiber are all good for circulation. Enjoy citrus like oranges and grapefruit, rich in Vitamin C; goji berries with fiber; and watermelon with lycopene.
Drink more water.
Water helps circulation, so drink up. But other beverages can slow it down. Reduce your intake of alcohol and drinks with lots of sugar, like sodas.
In winter, wear layers of clothing that fit loosely. This keeps your arms and legs warm, which helps circulation.
Try some or all of these small steps, and then do them consistently. Though simple, they can result in a major improvement in your circulation.