From the day you were born your body has worked constantly to circulate more than five liters of blood through your body. Your arteries and veins are like highways for blood transportation. This helps your organs function, delivers nutrients and hormones, regulates your PH, and contributes to essentially every bodily process. Like highways, they require maintenance and care to function properly.
What is Low Blood Circulation?
Somebody with poor blood circulation receives insufficient amounts of blood to certain parts of the body. Plaque buildup and other factors slow the blood down and limit the effectiveness of transportation to the legs, arms, heart, and other important areas.
There are several life habits, medical conditions, and behaviors that make you susceptible to this. Smoking, pregnancy, unhealthy eating, and weight gain are just a few.
Poor circulation affects people of all ages. If left untreated can cause serious damage to your brain, heart, liver, kidney and limbs. It’s most common in elderly people but should be taken seriously at any age.
Poor blood circulation is a danger because of its silent nature. It can be easy to overlook in its early stage and only found once it has worsened. The following symptoms are common indicators of a weakened circulatory process.
Leg Ulcers, Swelling, Discolored Skin, Varicose Veins, Numb and Tingling: Someone with poor circulation might notice these beginning to develop near their hands, feet and in their legs. It is important to address as nerve damage will result.
Hair Loss and Weak Nails – One of the clearest signs that your body isn’t getting the right amount of nutrients circulating is within your hair and nails. Many have dry brittle hair and nails, and experience hair loss.
Digestive Issues – Slow blood flow causes all the processes to be slowed, decreasing the processing of nutrients for the needed by the body.
Weakened Immune System – Your body’s ability to detect and fight off pathogens and remain healthy will also be affected by a slower blood flow. You may pick up illnesses much easier because of the sluggish antibodies. You also might find that wounds and injuries take much longer to heal. If poor circulation interferes with the kidneys it can lead to abnormal swelling.
Cold Hands and Feet – When your blood is flowing at optimal speed it helps to keep your body temperature at a healthy and comfortable level. If your circulation is poor, the process of regulating temperature is interfered with. This causes chilly feelings, usually in areas with a lot of nerve endings like the hands and feet.
Exhaustion – When blood flow is slowed down, it restricts the amount of fuel delivered to your muscles. With less oxygen and nutrients fueling your muscles you’ll feel tired much quicker. Many experience lack of breath, sore muscles, and less endurance during daily activities.
Erectile Dysfunction – Men with poor circulation might experience an insufficient amount of blood flow in the reproductive organs. It becomes increasingly difficult for them to perform sexual tasks and may eventually stop completely.
Chest Pain - Less blood flowing to the heart, causes a tight feeling of pressure in the area surrounding it. The heavy feeling will come and go randomly.
Liver Kidney Failure – The liver and Kidneys are the filters of waste for the body. Toxins build up in these organs without proper blood flow causes damage to these vital organs which negatively affect your health.
Poor Cognitive Function – The brain relies heavily on blood flow to function properly. You might feel less focused and determined throughout the day. Poor circulation may also affect the effectiveness of your short and long term memory.
As you can see, poor blood circulation can affect your body significantly. While treating the symptoms can bring some relief, it’s best to treat the source of the problem and your improve blood circulation.
Blood Circulation: Why It’s So Important?
This process ensures the transportation of oxygen and nutrients to every cell in your body, and removing metabolic waste from the body. Blood circulation is essential for a healthy body in order to maintain cell-level metabolism, maintain body pH levels, osmotic pressure, stabilize body temperature and protect from microbial and mechanical damage.
What Affects Blood Circulation?
There are several factors that affect blood circulation. One of them is aging. As the body ages, the arteries lose some of their elasticity and become narrower. In this case the heart needs to work harder to push the blood through the arteries, and the result is a decrease of blood flow in the body and an increased blood pressure. Other common causes are excess weight that contributes to swelling in your lower legs and feet, smoking and the buildup of plaque on the insides of the blood vessels and capillaries, which can lead to high blood pressure, heart problems and more.Also years of no exercise can lead to bad circulation, as well as eating too much junk food which usually leads to being overweight.
How to Improve Blood Flow In Your Body?
Here are some tips and suggestions that can make a big improvement to your blood flow and improve blood circulation:
1. Exercise whenever you can to boost your circulation. Get into the habit of finding activities you enjoy doing, as any type of physical activity that gets your blood pumping is good.You can walk, bike, run, swim or do anything else that you like. If your circulation is already poor, start by doing some gentle exercise and move on gradually to something a bit more challenging.
2. Stretch Make sure to get up every hour to stretch your body or exercise for 3-5 minutes. This is especially important for people who sit at the desk all day and don’t have the habit of walking around. You can try doing little arm circles, touch your toes with your hands or have a short walk. It’s important not to stay too long in one position and take regular breaks.
3. Massage like exercise, increases circulation by stimulating blood flow in the area being massaged. Many times certain parts of your body are tight and tense and you may even have inflammation. By massaging these muscles, you release natural occurring toxins within the body and achieve better blood circulation. You can add to the massage essential oils diluted in a carrier oil, such as rosemary essential oil which is good for circulation problems. Other good essential oils to promote circulation are cypress, ginger and peppermint.
4. Elevate your legs Elevating your legs is a good way to increase circulation and relax at the same time, and it gives you a break from standing for extended periods of time.
5. Healthy eating Eat healthy foods and avoid unhealthy foods. Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats (found in fish, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds). Avoid consuming processed foods, foods rich in sugar or salt, and foods rich in unhealthy fats such as trans fats. You can also have a look at my article about the best foods to prevent clogged arteries. Also eat spicy foods, such as cayenne pepper, garlic and ginger, as they increase your body’s temperature, which increases blood flow.
6. Ginkgo biloba There are also a number of herbs which have been shown to improve circulation, such as Ginkgo biloba that can promote healthy circulation. It is a versatile herb that strengthen memory and improves circulation. The University of Maryland Medical Center mentions that laboratory studies have shown that ginkgo improves blood circulation by opening up blood vessels and making the blood less sticky. Ginkgo is available as liquid extract, tablets, capsules or dried leaf for preparing a tea. It can take 4 to 6 weeks to see any effects from ginkgo. Always consult with your doctor before taking any herbal remedies especially if you already take medications for circulatory problems.
7. Drink enough water and reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption Staying hydrated during the day is essential for the organs to perform their daily functions. When you drink enough water, oxygen levels in your blood increase, leading to better circulation and improving your overall health.Most experts recommend consuming 8-12 glasses of water a day. It's also beneficial to reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption. Watch out for these warning signs that tell you that your body is lacking water.
8. Circulation Therapy There is a new holistic FDA Class 1 technology which enhances blood flow. It uses a biosignal which increases blood flow to allow more oxygen and nutrients to flow through the whole body naturally. This increased blood flow also enhances removal of waste products that the body produces.