What do you think of when you think poor circulation?
Often when we ask this question, people answer with something along the lines of heart disease, diabetes, or increased age. But we always have to remind anyone, at any age who comes to see us, that there are various factors that can negatively effect your circulation. Boosting your circulation can have a positive effect on not only your cardiovascular system, but your energy, immunity, skin, lymphatic system, digestion, and plenty of other bodily functions.
Premature ageing, immobility, and medical conditions are only a few adverse side effects of poor circulation, and we’re starting to see them in younger populations, especially considering the times that we live in:
We wake up, roll out of bed, get ready, drive to work, sit down at a desk, come home, eat dinner, watch Netflix, and then go to bed. Even kids can have similar lifestyles, which include TV and video games, and a lot of the time, we’re just too busy or tired to move our bodies the way they were intended to move.
But it doesn’t really matter what the times are, because no matter who you are or how busy your lifestyle is, maintaining healthy circulation is incredibly important. It’s one of the most important bodily functions, as blood circulation ensures a constant and sufficient supply of oxygen to the heart and brain, and helps to heal injuries, cuts or wounds.
Not only is blood flow essential for life, but it also assists with detoxifying unwanted debris. As blood pumps to the spleen, where the spleen then destroys old red blood cells, debris and bacteria, and then produces red blood cells for continuous and healthy blood flow throughout the body.
Having adequate circulation can also promote healthier skin and encourage cells to grow, so as you can see, circulation issues aren’t just for medical conditions, they can compromise many of your bodily systems. The good news is that besides visiting your doctor for individual advice, there are a few different things that you can do to improve your circulation for energy and immunity.
Check out these 5 tips for boosting circulation for improved energy and immunity:
We’re all well aware that a balanced diet is essential for all bodily systems and fuctions and it promotes a healthy overall lifestyle. If you’re experiencing problems with your circulation, what you eat can have some great benefits. Check out the amazing cardiovascular benefits that these foods have:
Cayenne Pepper have a substance in them called capsaicin which is thought to increase your blood circulation and metabolic rate. It may also have the ability to strengthen your arteries and blood vessels at the same time as tackling inflammation.
Garlic is commonly used as a natural blood thinner, and certain species of garlic have been shown to lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The active component in garlic, allicin, becomes less bioavailable once cooked, so it’s best to eat raw, in moderation daily, or take in capsule form. If you are using garlic for cooking, be sure to chop 10 minutes prior to cooking to activate the allicin, and add it to your cooking last. A neat cooking trick is to reserve half of your garlic for flavour purposes, and the other half for medicinal purposes (doesn’t hurt to chop extra). Talk to your doctor if you are already on prescription medication if you plan on supplementing with garlic, especially if you are on blood thinners.
Ginger contains powerful anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols and in studies, ginger was shown to suppress the pro-inflammatory compounds produced by cells that negatively compromise the joint and immune cells.
Turmeric is undoubtedly one of our favourite spices. We use it in curries, salad dressing and yes, even lattes! It helps to reduce inflammatory markers and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. You can add it to your meals or take it in supplement form. It can react with your medication so make sure to check with your doctor before introducing any new supplements.
Blackberries are said to promote new blood cell formation. They are also high in nutrients including phenolic compounds with antioxidant capacities.
Ginkgo Biloba is sourced from the leaves of the Ginkgo tree and helps to dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow, allowing your blood to travel more easily. You can purchase Ginkgo Biloba from your local pharmacy or natural health store. It can react with your medication so make sure to check with your doctor before introducing any new supplements.
We love a good chat about lymphatic massage, it’s definitely an unusual way to pamper yourself but a very effective one nonetheless.
Your lymphatic system helps eliminate waste, but the waste removal to the lymphatic system often depends on the movement of your smooth muscle tissue. So, the more you exercise and move, the more efficiently your lymphatic system will work.
Having a lymphatic system that works properly is also important for your circulation, as the two systems are interconnected. Exercise is one very important way to boost circulation and lymphatic function, but did you know you can also manually help remove waste from your lymph nodes in the form of a lymphatic massage? You can check to see if there are any massage therapists that have experience in manual lymphatic drainage, or check out this website for tips on how to perform a manual lymphatic massage yourself.
You can also consider dry brushing which not only helps the lymphatic system, but it also removes dead skin cells, tightens the skin, stimulates circulation, and aids with digestion. Dry brushing is meant to be dry (of course), and you follow the lymphatic massage technique, always massaging towards the heart to promote blood flow (as massaging away from the heart puts added pressure on the valves).
If you want to boost circulation and promote lymphatic drainage, yoga is one very amazing and important way to do so. Yoga may not be your exercise of choice, which is totally fine, you need to find out what’s right for you, but you can hit up yoga classes with various levels of intensity. There are beginner classes for those who are new to yoga poses, slow flow classes for those who want to focus on breathing, stretching and don’t want anything too intense, vinyasa classes tend to be faster and more energetic, and intermediate classes are for those who want to practice advancement and work on taking their poses to a higher level.
There are many naysayers out there about the benefits yoga has on the circulatory system. You’re not necessarily doing high intensity cardio, and some classes you might not even break a sweat, but the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology suggests that yoga may help protect against heart disease.
There’s an element of stress reduction with yoga as well, which could be another contributing factor as to why yoga may be beneficial for heart health. If stress has a major role in your life, yoga and meditation will be beneficial for reducing your risk of heart disease, but there needs to be an element of exercise in your life as well. If you actually love yoga, our suggestion would be to get to many different styles of yoga classes; from meditative and slow flow, to intense yoga classes, or even fusion/ pilates classes. This will ensure both your stress levels will be reduced, and you’re getting your weekly exercise in to increase circulation in your body. If you’re not really into the intense yoga classes, check out our next point.
GET YOUR WALK ON
We know this guy in our neighbourhood that literally does not stop walking. Every time we go anywhere, there he is, walking. Actually, we’re convinced he lives a Forest Gump life, because every time we stop and talk to him he has a unique story to tell, and he’s ALWAYS walking.
Walking is something that we’ve forgotten about. We have cars and transportation that get us from a to b, elevators that help us avoid stairs, and comfortable couches that keep us cozy and sedentary at night. But walking is something we can’t forget about!
If you’re new to exercise, or you generally don’t like intense workouts, get your walk on! You can start simple by parking further away, if you live in a big city spend 30 minutes walking home instead of 10 minutes on the subway, take the stairs as opposed to the elevator or escalator, or just simply get out of the house and go for a walk. There’s something cathartic to walking, meditative almost. You can clear your mind, enjoy nature (remember nature?), and the benefits definitely outweigh the negative side effects (we can’t think of any, except when it’s -20 outside).
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
- Improve your mood
- Improve your balance and coordination
The faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits.
So now you have a few simple tips and tricks to start applying to your lifestyle to improve blood flow, any other suggestions you can think of? Leave it in the comments below.