Circulation 1This is something that many of us suffer from but it becomes all the more apparent at this time of year when it’s already cold and we struggle to keep our hands and feet warm.

The good news is that there are some natural remedies and small lifestyle changes that you can introduce to improve your circulation naturally, and give you a head start!

Poor blood circulation can affect the entire body, including the brain, heart, liver, kidneys and the limbs. It can be a contributing factor in a variety of health problems.

Common symptoms of poor circulation are numbness or tingling sensations, cold hands and feet, fatigue, dizziness, hair loss, dry skin, edema, headaches, muscle cramps, pain in the legs, and an irregular heartbeat.

Many factors can contribute to poor blood circulation, such as a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, excessive drinking, caffeine, poor eating habits and long hours sitting at work.

It can also be due to medical conditions like pregnancy, diabetes, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, obesity, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, anemia, narrowed or blocked blood vessels, and food allergies.

You can improve the flow of blood throughout your body by making lifestyle changes, eating a healthy diet and using home remedies. Those suffering from circulatory disorders must consult a doctor.

Yoga! (Exercise)

Exercise is the best way to promote good blood circulation and even simple and mild aerobic exercises are enough to improve blood flow.

  • Try a yoga class, among the many, many benefits of yoga is the ability to increase your blood flow and improve your circulation – these come in all levels for all people, trust me; there is a class out there for you.
  • Walk for a minimum of 30 minutes, at least 5 times a week.
  • Enjoy swimming, jogging, biking, trekking and similar activities, a few times a week.
  • Do simple foot and hand exercises for 15 minutes daily in the morning.

Note: Do not over-exert yourself with exercise, especially when your circulation is poor.

Massage

MassageMy boyfriend will appreciate this one! Regular massage helps move blood through the congested areas. A relaxing massage of the whole body helps dilate the blood vessels, which in turn facilitates blood flow.

  1. Warm up some olive, coconut or almond oil. You can also add a few drops of rosemary oil.
  2. Using gentle yet firm strokes, massage the hands, legs, ankles and other body parts with the oil.
  3. Wait for some time, then take a warm bath (adding Epsom salts to your bath can also improve your circulation!).
  4. Enjoy massage a few times a week.

Note: When doing massage, keep the movements directed toward the heart to promote venous blood and lymph flow.

Turmeric

TurmericTurmeric is a wonderful spice that can help improve blood circulation. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, helps prevent blood platelets from forming clots and reduces plaque buildup in the arteries.

According to studies, curcumin supplements positively affect blood flow in a similar way to exercise.

  • Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and a little honey to a glass of warm milk. Drink it 1 or 2 times daily.
  • Include turmeric in your cooking (or take a supplement – but do consult your doctor first)

Cayenne

CayenneCayenne pepper contains capsaicin that helps stimulate the proper flow of blood throughout the body and organs. It also strengthens the arteries and capillaries. Plus, it helps reduce symptoms of poor blood circulation like pain, headaches, cold feet and tingling sensations in the legs.

  • Mix ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder, 2 tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses in a cup of water. Drink this mixture twice daily.
  • Also, include cayenne pepper in your cooking (or take a supplement – but do consult your doctor first)

Note: Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid consuming cayenne pepper.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oilI have a 16oz jar of this stuff on my desk! Coconut oil is very beneficial for improving blood circulation. It has healthy fats and contains medium-chain triglycerides that help relieve inflammation of the arteries. This in turn improves blood flow throughout the body.

  • Consume 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin coconut oil daily – I stir a spoon full into my morning coffee
  • You can also use warm coconut oil to massage your hands and legs daily.

Green Tea

Green TeaGreen tea is rich in antioxidants that help relax the arteries and improve circulation. It is associated with an increase in nitric oxide levels, a powerful vasodilator. It helps widen blood vessels, thus increasing blood flow.

  1. Put a green tea bag in a cup of hot water for 5 minutes.
  2. Squeeze out the excess tea by pressing the tea bag against the cup with a spoon.
  3. Remove the bag, add honey and drink it.
  4. Drink 2 to 3 cups of green tea daily.

My favourite is Pukka with lemon – it’s smooth and doesn’t have that bitter taste that some have. I also always reuse the teabag and get two cups out of each one… one after the other!

Dark Chocolate

ChocolateThe cocoa in dark chocolate helps improve blood flow. Moreover, according to a 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, dark chocolate improves blood flow to the legs by affecting bio-chemicals that prompt arteries to widen.

Eat a small piece (I’ll let you decide what constitutes a small piece!) of dark chocolate daily to improve circulation. However, be sure to choose dark chocolate that is at least 70 percent cocoa. My personal favourite is Green & Blacks 85%, I eat about a bar of this a week though!

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