Your circulatory system includes your heart, veins, arteries and capillaries. It transports your blood, which provides nutrients and oxygen to all cells within your body. When this system fails, death follows. With planning and lifestyle changes, you can maintain and improve your blood circulation.
Watch Your Diet
High cholesterol can cause platelet aggregation or arterial buildup. This condition can block the flow of blood and even cause a heart attack or stroke. Foods high in saturated fats tend to increase cholesterol levels. MayoClinic.com notes that eating foods that contain soluble fiber, such as oatmeal, can absorb some of the cholesterol before reaching your blood stream. Adding rich sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, such as coldwater fish, nuts and canola oil, can help maintain healthy arteries. High blood pressure can impede blood circulation by causing your arteries to thicken and narrow. Reducing your salt intake and increasing your potassium though natural sources and increased vitamin D can all help manage or prevent high blood pressure.
Benefits of Exercise
Exercise can reduce your weight, reduce stress and strengthen your heart muscle. All of these benefits can increase blood flow and its effectiveness. Start slowly to prevent injury and gradually increase your activity level. Try to reach about 60 minutes of a cardiovascular activity per week to reap the most benefits. Participate in yoga, which can improve your breathing technique. Before beginning any exercise routine, speak to your physician.
Herbalists consider ginger, cayenne and ginseng to be cardiovascular stimulants and hold that ginseng also increases your overall energy level or vigor. Herbalist Michael Tierra suggests taking a quarter teaspoon of cayenne three times a day to improve a lagging circulatory system, and herbalist Richard Mabey states that using a cayenne poultice on an area of concern can increase blood flow there. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners may suggest the use of cinnamon or peony to increase qi, or blood circulation. The stimulants ephedra and guarana is not recommended due to their tendency to sharply and rapidly increase heart rate and blood pressure. Talk to your physician before taking a stimulating herb or supplement.
- MayoClinic.com: Cholesterol: Top Five Foods to Lower Your Numbers
- The University of Maryland Medical Center: High Blood Cholesterol and Triglycerides-Overview
- MayoClinic.com: High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
- "The Way of Herbs"; Michael Tierra; 1998
- "The New Age Herbalist"; Richard Mabey; 1988