If you’d be inclined to imagine it, the bloodstream is like a national highway, making all the necessary stops along the body as it delivers nutrients and disposes of waste throughout. As the Amazon Prime-cum-street sweeper extraordinaire of the human body, it’s important to keep the blood and blood flow healthy.
The idea of “keeping blood healthy” is a little vague though — no, you don’t have to inject anything in your veins and no, the objective isn’t to make blood more vividly red or thick. Healthy blood simply refers to blood that’s well oxygenated, has proper circulation, and is within the normal range of blood pressure. It sounds like a lot of factors to monitor, but luckily, there’s some overlap between the steps so you can improve the condition of your blood:
Exercise. You can groan, but the reason there is an overlap between the steps is that “being healthy” is a holistic experience. You’re dealing with the very same body after all. When you aim to improve your circulation through exercise, your heart, as consequence, gets stronger and more capable of relieving the pressure on your arteries. Thus, lower blood pressure too. It’s a win-win scenario that really should motivate more people to start walking.
Improve your diet. This means drinking more water to cope with the new exercise routine and to keep your blood fluid. This means avoiding high-sodium food and things that might increase your blood sugar like complex carbohydrates. This also means introducing certain blood-positive (ha!) food into your diet like legumes, berries, cayenne pepper, and others. The food you need should be those that are rich in iron, magnesium, potassium, and protein.
Take supplements. If it’s hard to fix all these nutrients in your everyday meals though (especially in this economy?), you can always take vitamins and supplements. Iron, vitamin E, and B vitamins are known to improve blood circulation. There’s also ‘natural supplements’ that could help in lowering blood pressure such as hibiscus and fish oil.
Kick the habit. Nicotine, alcohol, caffeine — whatever could, later on, develop into an addiction, might be best monitored. There are conflicting reports on whether or not a bit of alcohol and caffeine is good for you, with some saying that moderate intake of either might even protect your heart, but it’s widely accepted that huge amounts could lead to high blood pressure. As for nicotine, there’s no clear relationship with blood pressure, but it does lead to heart problems, which, being the organ that pumps blood, might lead to circulation problems.
Manage your stress. It’s common to say that whenever your stress or annoyed, you feel like your “blood pressure rising.” This isn’t that far from the truth: when you’re stressed, the blood vessels in your body constrict, causing poor circulation. Whether it’s a massage, meditation, yoga, deep breathing techniques, or just relaxing while your feet are propped up against the wall — there’s bound to be a method of stress management that works for you. Some of these mentioned even have very specific benefits for blood flow, like slowing your heart rate!
These are just the general tips, if you want to look deeper into the topic, some say that using a loofah on your body or bathing with warm water helps to increase blood flow too.