Peripheral vascular disease, or bad circulation, can be mitigated by following a diet that helps to loosen and prevent the fatty material that accumulates on the walls of the arteries in the extremities, especially your legs. Along with a healthy diet, regular exercise and consultation with a doctor can help keep circulation issues under control.
Garlic can help decrease the cholesterol that builds up in the arteries in your legs. Professor Yu-Yan Yeh of Penn State University explains that much of the action that garlic has on bad cholesterol levels can be compared to popular cholesterol-lowering drugs, namely a class known as “statins.” Yeh says that these drugs are significantly more potent than treatment with garlic alone but can cause serious side effects. Garlic, on the other hand, is virtually non-toxic at therapeutic doses for cardiovascular health. Miami University reports that allicin, the compound in garlic that is responsible for many of its beneficial properties, can also work to relax blood vessels in the legs and help keep dangerous clots from forming. Eating healthy foods from Italian, Mediterranean, Indian and Asian cuisines can help you obtain more garlic.
Whole grains are a significant source of soluble fiber, which can help to decrease overall cholesterol levels, leading to better circulation in your extremities. Soluble fiber absorbs water to form a gel-like substance in the digestive tract, slowing digestion and decreasing cholesterol levels slowly over time. A study headed by Dr. Hongyan Ning at Northwestern University showed that adults between the ages of 20 and 59 who had the highest fiber intake had the least risk of developing all types of cardiovascular disease, including peripheral artery disease, over a lifetime. When purchasing breads, cereals and other grain products, choose those that display “100% Whole Grain” on the label.
Fish are one of the most abundant sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Colorado State University reports that including these essential fatty acids in your diet can decrease blood clot formation, blood cholesterol, the growth of plaque buildup in the arteries and blood pressure. The 2010 edition of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee reported that eating two servings of fish or other seafood product per week is associated with less serious cardiac disease. The decreased risk for blood clot formation is especially pertinent if you are suffering from bad leg circulation, as undiscovered blood clots in your extremities can be fatal.
The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes Diet may be able to help increase overall circulation to your extremities and fight peripheral artery disease. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that on the TLC diet, less than 7 percent of your daily calories should come from saturated fat. The diet also limits your sodium to 2,400 milligrams per day. Consult your physician if you think the TLC diet may work for your bad circulation.
- Penn State University: How Does Garlic Lower Blood Cholesterol
- Miami University: Garlic
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Fiber
- Northwestern University: Load Up on Fiber Now, Avoid Heart Disease Later
- Colorado State University: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Atherosclerosis