Top 7 Natural Supplements for Circulation and Improved Blood Flow

Do you get cold feet and hands, tingling in your extremities or muscle cramps? You’re probably one of the millions of people in the world who suffer from poor circulation.

If you’re looking for a way to improve your blood flow without a prescription, the natural world has some great fixes for you. Check out the best supplements for circulation as well as everyday foods that’ll help your heart, arteries, veins, and blood vessels work to the best of their ability.

7 Supplements for Circulation that’ll Get Your Blood Pumping

Bee pollen

Bees are amazing. They’re fluffy, adorable, and they keep us fed just by doing what they do best: pollinating! After bees are done bumbling around and bring their pollen back to the hive, worker bees add honey and other secretions to pack that goodness into pellets.

This is what we call bee pollen when sold as supplements. It contains a powerful antioxidant called rutin, which helps your circulatory system by strengthening your blood vessels. It’s also acts as a great anti-coagulant that can help prevent the clots that are sometimes at the root of heart attacks, strokes, and embolisms. They also have a great plant metabolite called flavanoids and poly-saturated fats. Both keep your heart healthy by enhancing the circulation and preventing arteriosclerosis, which is when arteries harden due to a build up of white blood cells. Not fun.

Cacao

You read that correctly, it totally says cacao! The beans that chocolates are made from are also super good for your circulation. Thank you, Mother Nature! Several studies from the past dozen years have demonstrated that raw cacao improves the function of arteries, blood vessels and capillaries. How does this nature science work? Well, the cocoa bean contains a kind of flavanol antioxidant (aka flavanoids) called epicatechin that actually encourages blood vessel formation. Simple, yet effective: more blood vessels, more blood flow.

In the same 2012 study that discovered the importance of cacao in making new blood vessels noted that if you throw a little moderate exercise into the mix (a good walk with your fave canine pal, for example) the positive effects almost doubled, from over 30% increase in new vessels to over 50%. It’s also been determined that cacao’s flavanols work the same way that nitroglycerin does, by widening arteries. So though science has yet to figure out how to turn say, a delicious bar of dark chocolate into a delectable treatment for circulatory illnesses or heart attacks, it’s only a matter of time before we can both in the same scrumptious package.

Chlorella

Not to be confused with chlorophyll (though it does contain an awesome amount of chlorophyll—more than 10 times that found in wheatgrass,) chlorella is a kind of single-cell green algae.

First studied for its ability to rapidly transform carbon monoxide into oxygen. At the root of chlorella is high iron content, which is fantastic for feeding red blood cells. Our little crimson blood-cellular-buddies are responsible for bringing oxygen to muscles and the brain, so any help red blood cells are definitely a boost for our circulatory system.

Furthermore, in a study of 17 with diets high in saturated fat marked by minimal physical activity demonstrated that chlorella intake resulted in a levelling of blood sugars and drastic lowering of cholesterol. Furthermore, when the study stopped and the patients stopped taking the chlorella, their levels and cholesterol returned to pre-study levels. Moral of the story? Chlorella every day keeps your circulatory system a-okay!

Ginkgo Biloba

If you’ve already read my rundown of all the ways that the root of the gingko biloba tree is awesome for you, you can skip this part. If not, read on, and when you’re done learning here, go check it out!

So, gingko is lousy with a naturally occurring lipids called terpenoids, which are also a great antioxidant. This stuff improves your circulatory system by dilating blood vessels and acting as an anti-coagulant, reducing the stickiness of blood platelets, meaning they shoot through your body without clunking into themselves and forming potentially dangerous clots. But remember, gingko isn’t just good for your circulation, it’s got great ways to help with a number of common ailments. So take a look and see what else it can do for you!

Matcha

I love matcha. Me and matcha, we go way back. I love the tea, I love it in smoothies, I love it in my baking and cooking. Green tea popsicles are my favorite on a hot day. And luckily, your circulatory system loves matcha too!

For those who may not know, matcha is a traditional form of Japanese green tea. Well, technically, it’s finely ground powder derived from specially grown and processed green tea plants. The tea needs to be grown in the shade its last 3 weeks before harvest, and instead of using the entire leaf for tea, the veins and stems are cut off, making it quite a time-consuming cultivation and production.

Here are a few examples of the power of matcha:

  • Matcha is full of catechins, a natural antioxidant that combats atherosclerosis, which is fancy talk or arteries blocked by fatty plaques.
  • It’s full of polyphenols, which plants produce in order to regulate and suppress growth hormones, act as sunscreen, prevents infection, and signal ripening and growth. When us humans consume matcha, this has the effect of protecting our muscles, specifically our heart’s ability to pump and contract.
  • A study shows that taking matcha for 3 weeks can also lowers the creatinine concentration and total bad (LDL) cholesterol level in the blood, and raises the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol.

Not too shabby for such a delicious drink.

L-Arginine

Arginine is an amino acid first discovered by scientists in 1886. The L-Arginine is one of the most common forms. Though our bodies can produce arginine all by themselves, l-arginine isn’t. When l-arginine is taken as supplement, it turns into nitric oxide, which helps dilate blood vessels and allows much better circulation.

Because it acts to improve blood flow through all parts of the circulatory system, there is evidence that it could help keep the heart free and clear and might be a great natural remedy for erectile dysfunction. But be warned: though taking it as a supplement to remain healthy and improve health is recommended, a 2006 study showed that when administered to treat a heart attack with standard treatment, it could actually be harmful.

Seeds

Seeds! Some are better for us than others, but there are a few that are fantastic, particularly chia, flax, hemp, sunflower and pumpkin. They’re all packed with omega 3 fatty acids, fiber and antioxidents. They’re a great at clearing up bad cholesterol, and anti-inflammatory.

Flax: Regularly taking flaxseed, either ground or in oil form, is a great way to lower cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease. A study recently done at Boston’s Simmons College found that patients who suffered from a heart attack were much less likely to have a second one if they took flaxseed oil daily.

Hemp: Hemp seeds contain an especially high level of essential fatty acids. Fatty acids are key to reducing inflammation in your blood vessels and stopping the buildups that can lead to stroke and heart attack.

Pumpkin Seeds: Apart from having all the same great benefits of the other seeds mentioned pumpkin seeds are also super high in zinc, which is great for blood flow and blood sugar regulation.

Sunflower Seeds: Have the same seedy goodness as the rest, but they’re also rich in vitamin E. Vitamin E has been shown to prevent blood clots and even dissolve them!

Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are chock-a-block in flavonols, polyphenolic acids, quercetin, myricetin, kaempferol, and caffeic acids. What does that mean? Antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and vascular health health like, whoah baby! They’re also lousy with soluble and insoluble fibre

Everyday Foods for Better Circulation

Want to start your trip to amazing circulation a little more slowly, maybe with stuff you have around the house? You can! If you have these things in your cupboard or fridge you’re well on your way.

Cayenne pepper: The main medicinal ingredient of good old cayenne pepper —and what gives all peppers their heat—is capsaicin. So the hotter a pepper is, the more capsaicin it has, the more medicinal properties it has as a pain reliever and anticoagulants (which in turn leads to lower blood pressure.) But please do not go out and eat a bunch of the hottest peppers you can find (check YouTube for the Scotch Bonnet Challenge to see why.)

Ginger: It’s pretty common knowledge that ginger is good for relieving nausea and digestion but it’s antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant and anti-parasitic properties are also fantastic for helping increase blood circulation. In food, or beverage, it’s got the same great effects.

Garlic: Just like what makes cayenne spicy also what makes it healthy, what gives garlic it’s potent smell and taste are also makes it an amazing antioxidant. Allicin, the active ingredient, makes it a delicious blood cleanser, making sure there are no platelet build-ups in the blood.

Lycopene: You probably don’t have lycopene on your grocery list, but be sure it’s there anyway. Lycopene is the name of what gives a lot of fruits and vegetables, especially tomatoes and watermelons, their red and pink color. It’s also a fantastic antioxidant, found especially in the lycopene breed of tomatoes.

About the Author Jessica

After growing up a perpetually pudgy kid, Jessica discovered real food – and her waistline shortly afterward. When she’s not crafting concoctions in the kitchen, she spends her free time writing about food, making her own deodorant, watching sci-fi, doing headstands, and looking for gluten free food that doesn’t suck.

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