The cardiovascular system is paramount to human health, but nearly half of American adults have some form of cardiovascular disease according to a 2019 study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.
The bad news is that a healthy heart and cardiovascular system are not “normal” by today’s standards.
The good news is that there are countless ways to improve it.
Some of these ways involve herbal treatments or combinations of natural medicines, and others unorthodox ways of moving or positioning your body to increase healthy blood flow to your cells.
The key theme here is experimentation is often a good thing, especially in a world where more people are dying from heart disease than any other ailment.
Improve Blood Circulation in These 10 Ways
Altogether, the human body holds about 60,000 miles of blood vessels, carrying oxygen-rich blood to every organ and part of your body.
When your circulatory system is working well, you feel it.
Your energy levels are high, your brain makes connections between thoughts and ideas, and you have an enthusiasm for life is hard to duplicate.
If you’ve felt this way before and would like to get into this state more quickly, try the following ten ways:
1. Viparita Karani Yoga Pose- Commonly known as the “legs up the wall” yoga pose, this is simple for anyone to do at home and heals the body without taxing it.
It’s one of the most effective yoga poses because it allows for improved circulation, increased energy, the balancing of blood flow, and more according to Healthline.com.
To do the pose, simply lie on the ground and position your legs up the wall.
Hold this pose for at least five to fifteen minutes daily, and you will notice an immediate boost in your circulatory health within a day or two.
Just remember to breathe and let your mind rest.
2. Eat Red Foods- Among the best foods and spices in this category are cayenne pepper, which relaxes muscles that line blood vessels and decreases blood pressure; beets, which are rich in nitrate, a compound that the body converts to Nitric Oxide, and berries, which are rich in a compound that protects artery walls and keeps blood vessels flexible.
Nitric Oxide is not well-known, but Nobel Prize winning research has shown that it may be the most important compound produced by the body for healthy aging.
Nitric Oxide production declines by an average of 20% in your 30s and increases to as much as a 65% reduction in your 50s and 85% in your 60s (scroll down on this page to see the full chart and statistics), so be sure to eat more red foods to boost your levels.
3. Light Aerobic Exercises- The benefits of movement for improving circulation and cardiovascular function are well known, but walking, running and lifting weights are not the only options.
Simply moving your upper body in a light, rhythmic way while breathing deliberately can be life-changing.
In the video below, health coach Austin Goh shows a demonstration of how ten minutes of light aerobic movement and intentional breathing every day can be life changing.
Other forms of exercise are specifically designed to prevent blood clots of deep vein thrombosis, a condition that causes swelling of the legs and can indicate potentially serious health complications.
Simple exercises involving the lifting of your legs, sitting up and down from a chair or pressing your arms against a wall can prevent and successfully combat this condition when done consistently (video here).
Doing 10-12 reps of each exercise 1-2 times per day can increase circulation and help to break up or prevent these clots over time.
Taking five minutes to raise and lower your legs, especially on long car rides or after prolonged periods of sitting, can make a big difference.
4. Dry Skin Brushing- Using a stiff brush to comb your skin can help to unclog your lymphatic system and increase circulation.
“Dry brushing unclogs pores in the exfoliation process,” notes Dr. Shilpi Khetarpal of the Cleveland Clinic.
“It also helps detoxify your skin by increasing blood circulation and promoting lymph flow/drainage.”
If you don’t have a dry brush, taking a few minutes to relax, breathe, and caress your skin with your own two hands can work wonders.
5. Hawthorn Berry Tea- Hawthorn has been used as an herbal remedy for high blood pressure, digestive and heart problems for centuries.
Both animal and human studies have revealed powerful benefits including improved circulation, increased coronary artery blood flow, and protection against heart disease.
The minimum effective dose for preventing heart failure is 300 mg daily, but typical doses are higher at 250-500 mg taken three times daily according to Healthline.
Supplementation can also help; consult a naturopath.
6. Nitric Oxide Supplements- This “miracle molecule” has been the subject of Nobel Prize-winning research dating back to 1998.
Nitric Oxide helps greatly with both disease prevention and healthy aging.
It creates vasodilation, which relaxes blood vessels and causes them to widen, boosting circulation.
According to Healthline, N.O. supplements could help manage symptoms of Type-2 Diabetes, since most sufferers have low Nitric Oxide levels.
Nitric Oxide also boosts exercise performance and may decrease muscle soreness.
Foods that help the body produce Nitric Oxide include watermelons, dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, beets, and pomegranates.
If you’d like to try a Nitric Oxide supplement to increase your levels, I recommend checking out Cardio Miracle, which contains a Nitric Oxide blend including C0Q10 and organic beet root to boost your levels quickly.
Cardio Miracle was formulated by John Hewlett, who survived heart bypass surgery and then researched the benefits of Nitric Oxide.
Unsatisfied with the supplements on the market, he began formulating his own Nitric Oxide supplement, which included organic red plant-based foods, vitamins, minerals and more.
7. Garlic- Rich in a compound called allicin, fresh, raw garlic has the ability to make blood vessels relax while improving blood flow to the heart and throughout your body.
This relaxing effect helps to reduce the heart’s workload, according to RxList.com.
Blood pressure also decreases and becomes more balanced when the heart doesn’t have to work as hard.
Aside from these benefits, garlic can weaponize your immune system against viruses, bacteria, and other harmful invaders.
Just make sure you’re getting the real thing, and not garlic powder or another watered-down version.
8. Kayaking or Canoeing- Kayaking and canoeing are low-impact exercises that help the cardiovascular system in many ways.
Among college athletes, rowers have been previously found to have the healthiest hearts of all.
Recreational paddling can also help, however.
As a bonus, kayaking and canoeing provide stress relieving and mental health benefits of nature.
If you’re new to the sport, go with a partner at first or practicing in a shallow area.
9. Citrus Fruits- Rich in Vitamin C, citrus fruits help to decrease inflammation, boost circulation, and prevent blood clots.
The website MedicineNet.com ranked citrus fruits as one of the top 25 food groups for boosting circulation.
Orange juice can help lower blood pressure; just make sure to drink organic and fresh-squeezed juice whenever possible to reap the full benefits.
10. Ginger Tea- Mostly known for its digestive benefits, ginger also acts as a vasodilator, reducing blood pressure and widening blood vessels.
It has a warming effect on the body and may reduce the risk of blood clots and artherosclerosis.
Make sure you cut up most of each “hand” of ginger and throw it into a pot of boiling water.
Let it simmer for three to four hours or longer, and sip ginger tea throughout the day to enjoy its benefits.
It may seem like extra work, but the feelings of well-being gained will keep you strong throughout the day, and help keep your heart healthy.