Everyone knows that blood circulation is a fundamental function of the human body. But not everyone realizes just how many health benefits they stand to gain from getting their blood moving. In addition to fending off heart disease, improved circulation can enhance mental performance, boost the immune system and metabolism, and can even give skin an extra glow. The best tools we have to reap these rewards are, of course, a healthy diet and regular exercise, but those aren’t the only ones in the tool shed. Here are a few lesser-known tricks for getting your hemoglobin hopping.
The high vitamin E content found in nuts and seeds helps to prevent the formation of blood clots and plaque buildup on the artery walls, thus allowing your blood to travel smoothly and quickly throughout your body and to deliver the oxygen and nutrients that each of the body’s systems needs to thrive. Adding heart-healthy walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds to your diet is a delicious way to do your body good.
Get a Massage
A good massage works to improve circulation in two ways: it relieves stress, which can cause irregular circulation, and it moves blood through congested areas, freeing up circulatory blockages. But if don’t have a personal masseuse on call or can’t afford to visit one regularly, consider buying yourself a foam roller. This cylindrical exercise prop, which you may have seen in yoga classes or at the gym, utilizes body weight to apply massage-like pressure to target areas as you gently move your body over it.
Cook with Cayenne
There’s a reason cayenne pepper has been used in home remedies since the dawn of time. Its healing power comes from the same chemical that gives it its spicy heat; it’s called capsaicin and it contributes to wider blood vessels, which can promote freer blood flow. It also stimulates the heart rate, and studies suggest it may fight arterial plaque buildup. The spice adds zest to any dish and makes a tasty tincture when mixed with honey, lemon, and water.
Help Yourself to H20
We all know water is good for us, but here’s why it’s critical for better circulation: blood is made of plasma, and plasma is made primarily of water. When you are dehydrated, blood circulation slows down because plasma becomes thicker. A generous daily intake of water, which also provides a dose of oxygen for your blood to transport to cells, will help maintain blood’s ideal consistency for smooth circulation. The Mayo Clinic recommends approximately two liters per day.