To have good circulation you need blood vessels that are clear of fatty deposits and able to expand and contract to meet your body’s needs. Regular exercise and a low-fat diet are at the core of a circulation-friendly lifestyle.
The heart has major role in the body, keeping it fit and smooth running is important. The way to keep your blood vessels strong is to keep the endothelium healthy. The endothelium is the layer of cells that lines the inside of your blood vessels. This lining fills vital roles, from maintaining the tone of vessel walls to regulating immune and inflammatory responses. The endothelium helps modulate blood flow and forms an anticoagulant barrier, which contains blood yet allows it to flow without clotting. A damaged endothelium triggers medical problems such as hardening of the arteries.
There are certain alarming facts when it comes to heart related health issues like:
- Opting for the window seat on a long-haul flight could raise your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition in which blood clots form in the legs. These clots can travel through the bloodstream to block blood flow to the lungs – a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. A window seat limits your mobility, one of the key risk factors for DVT. New guidelines from the American College of Chest Physicians advise anyone at risk of DVT on a flight of 6 hours or more to sit in an aisle seat.
- Inhaling secondhand smoke from as little as one cigarette a day is enough to speed up the development of dangerous furring and narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis) says the American Heart Association. The message is clear: if someone lights a cigarette, cigar or pipe near you, move away fast, and make sure your house and car are kept as smoke-free zones.
Researchers with the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine (UNC) analyzed a 50-year-old unpublished study out of Minnesota and found reason to believe that cooking with corn oil instead of butter may actually be worse for heart health.
Enhance Your Blood Vessels
- Don’t jog in traffic: Activity is good for your heart and blood vessels, but where and when you exercise can be just as important. Pollutants from traffic fumes, factories and even wood-burning stoves can damage the inner lining of your arteries and curb the smooth flow of your circulation. Amazingly, the damaging effects can be seen within hours of exposure. When exercising, avoid rush hour if you can and try not to Jog or cycle along busy roads. The air is fresher and better for your arteries in parks or in the countryside.
- Get some herbal help: The following herbal remedies may help to keep your blood vessels in top condition – but take only one herbal remedy at a time:
Garlic To prevent hardening of the arteries take one to three 300mg capsules a day or 900mg of fresh garlic, Ginkgo 15 drops of tincture in water a day may help to prevent hardening of the arteries and keep your veins strong. Grapeseed and vine levels Take one 30mg capsule of grapeseed extract daily to strengthen your veins and to help prevent varicose veins and haemorrhoids (piles). Vine leaves have similar properties and can form a part of your regular diet.
- Pick up a tropical treat: Exotic fruit such as Sharon fruit (persimmons) and papayas are a very good source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that can boost blood flow and may even reverse the damage caused by furred, narrowed arteries. In an American study of heart disease patients, vitamin C improved the ability of the arteries to widen, boosting blood flow. Eat vitamin C-rich fruit in fruit and salads, with cereals, or simply enjoy them on their own. But don’t worry if you can’t find these fruits in your local shop; strawberries, oranges, blackcurrants, broccoli, kali and red peppers and many others fruits and vegetables provide high levels of vitamin C. Include a wide selection of vitamin C-rich foods in your daily diet to keep your blood vessels in top condition.
- Dark chocolate could lower your risk of cardiovascular disease: A square of chocolate after dinner may help reduce your risk of blood clots – and lower your blood pressure as a bonus – but only if it’s plain and dark. Researchers suggest that eating just 6.7g of chocolate a day could lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 19 per cent. Dark chocolate is rich in chemical compounds that can help stop the oxidation of LDL, (‘bad’ cholesterol), one of the key processes in furring of the arteries. Choose chocolate that is high in cocoa solids for this delicious daily health boost.
- Try tomato extract: An extract from ripe tomatoes, marketed as Fruitflow, is believed to ‘smooth’ blood platelets, so preventing life-threatening blood clots. Its manufacturers claim that it is free from the side effects associated with conventional ‘blood thinning’ medicines such as warfarin. If you think you may be at risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots, it may be worth a try. But do check with your doctor first if you are currently receiving treatment.
- Ask about foam therapy: Foam injections for varicose veins can get you on your feet even faster than laser surgery. According to a study from Imperial College, London, people treated with foam therapy had less pain and were able to return to normal activities in just three days compared with eight days after laser treatment. If you’re hoping to get rid of painful or unsightly veins. Ask your doctor about foam treatment.
- Pine for your veins: An extract from the bark of a French maritime pine – Pycnogenol – can significantly improve symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a condition that leads to swelling of the legs. In an Italian study of 40 patients, 30 took Pycnogenol and ten a placebo; those taking the supplement had less heaviness and swelling in the legs and less pressure in their veins. It is thought that Pycnogenol works by stabilising the layer of cells just beneath the skin or by scavenging free radicals (rogue molecules that cause cell damage) or by a combination of the two. Pycnogenol is available in many pharmacies and health-food shops. Check with your doctor before taking this product.
- Don’t be squeamish – maggots can help cure leg ulcers Receiving a practice that has been known for centuries, doctors in many hospitals recommended the use of maggot debridement, in which living maggots (fly larvae) inside a dressing are used to clean infected varicose ulcers. The dressing is left on the wound for 24-36 hours, during which time the maggots eat damaged tissue. Although the thought of it may make your flesh creep, most people report that they don’t feel a thing.
You can incoroprate these steps to build strong blood vessels. Stay Heart Smart.