Poor circulation doesn’t merely cause chilly hands and feet; it can lead to serious health problems, so it’s not something you should just put up with. Whether your poor circulation problems are caused by arteriosclerosis, blood clots, diabetes or something else there are some simple, natural things you can do to help improve the situation.
Foods and Herbs
Few foods get the blood pumping faster than cayenne, also called hot pepper or red pepper. Few people can stand eating a whole fresh cayenne pepper the first time they try, so start off easy. If you’ve never tried cayenne, start of by mixing just a 1/16th of a teaspoon into a full cup of fruit juice.
As well as being a popular remedy for nausea and digestion problems, ginger can also improve poor circulation in the legs and hands. Ginger can be eaten plain or added to foods, but it can also be made into a warming tea that’s perfect for a winter afternoon. To make ginger tea, just simmer a few slices of fresh ginger in a cup of water for about 5 minutes. If you don’t mind unusual tastes, you can create a ginger-cayenne blend to quickly boost circulation. Grind ? teaspoon fresh ginger and 1/4 teaspoon fresh cayenne, mix them a little lemon and honey to take the edge of the taste and take by the teaspoon.
Garlic can improve poor circulation by keeping the veins and arteries free of buildup that impairs blood flow. Garlic has been proven to prevent the accumulation of plaque in the arteries and make platelets less likely to clump together. If you can handle eating fresh garlic, you’ll get the most benefit. If not though, adding lightly sauteed or roasted garlic to foods can also help improve poor circulation.
Hawthorn berries and flowers have been shown to open up coronary blood vessels and help lower blood pressure. The fresh berries, which can be eaten raw, are best if you can get them. Another option is hawthorn tea or taking tincture of hawthorn by the tablespoon.
There are also several vitamins that have beneficial effects on circulation. Usually, the problem isn’t that you need extra does of vitamins, but that your diet is insufficient. You’ll derive more benefit if you get the vitamins from food sources as opposed to pills. That said, if don’t think you can work enough healthy foods into your diet in the near future, give supplements a try.
Vitamin E improves circulation by thinning the blood so that it flows more smoothly through the veins. Some heart-friendly sources of vitamin E are healthy oils like wheat germ and olive oil and nuts and seeds like sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
Vitamin C improves blood flow by strengthening the capillary walls. It can also help people with type 2 diabetes improve poor circulation in their legs and feet. One study (H. Ting et al., Journal of Clinical Investigation 97:22-8, Jan. 1996) found that those with diabetes can boost their circulation by taking 250 mg to 500 mg of vitamin C a day. As for dietary sources of vitamin C, citrus fruits like lemons and oranges are among the best because they also contain beneficial bioflavonoids.
B comlpex vitamins
All the B vitamins, which work together as a complex, can help improve poor circulation. Vitamin B3 in the form of niacin has particularly noticeable effects. This vitamin can cause you skin to flush by dilating the capillaries. Some good dietary sources of niacin are chicken, legumes like peanuts and lentils, and corn grits.
If you have poor circulation in your legs and hands, eating foods like cayenne and ginger and getting enough circulation-supporting vitamins can get your blood pumping more efficiently. Remember, though, improving circulation requires more than drinking a little ginger tea. Make sure you’re eating a balanced diet and try to eat several small meals throughout the day instead of three larger ones to keep your metabolism from flagging. If you have a sedentary job, make sure you work a little exercise into your day. By doing all this, you’re sure to see some improvement in your circulation.