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Good blood circulation is vital to your health

Good blood circulation is vital to your health
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Blood circulation is essential for a healthy, functioning body. If it’s poor, it causes symptoms like numbness, pain and muscle cramps, among others. And research shows there are several different causes for poor circulation including peripheral artery disease, diabetes, obesity and more. Although medication is often used to treat circulatory issues, noshing on these foods that improve circulation could help, too.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate
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Have you been wondering how to improve circulation? You might consider eating chocolate, says Steven Gundry, MD, a cardiologist who is the director and founder of the International Heart & Lung Institute. “In moderation, dark chocolate is a fantastic addition to your diet,” he says. “Dark chocolate is shown to help your body produce nitric oxide, which plays an important role in protecting your heart and veins.” Cocoa contains antioxidants that may help manage blood pressure and cholesterol and improve blood flow. Dr Grundy advises choosing dark chocolate that’s at least 72 percent cocoa.

Turmeric

Turmeric
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Turmeric, also known as “the golden spice of India,” is a gem for keeping arteries unclogged and improving circulation, thanks to the chemical curcumin that gives it its colour. According to Dr Gundry, however, turmeric is a tricky spice: “It’s actually poorly absorbed on its own unless it is mixed with Bioperine, a compound found in black pepper.” His solution: Eat curry once a week, which contains both black pepper and turmeric.

Try these other 20 foods that can help prevent clogged arteries.

Salmon

Salmon
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Salmon, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for overall health, with two servings per week recommended. Research shows an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency results in poor circulation, according to the National Institutes of Health. Salmon, which is high in omega-3s, contains natural blood-thinning and anticoagulant properties, says Brooke Alpert, RD. “This allows for an improvement in circulation for your entire body,” she says. Alpert advises choosing wild-caught salmon whenever possible.

Beet juice

Beet juice
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You may have read that beets are great for athletes because they increase levels of nitric oxide, which helps increase blood flow and gets oxygen to the muscles more quickly. Drinking beet juice is an excellent way to improve circulation, even if you’re not an athlete. “Some studies have shown that consuming one to two cups of beet juice per day reduced blood pressure in people with high blood pressure and improved walking performance in patients with peripheral artery disease who experience pain in the legs during walking,” says Steven Hertzler, PhD, RD, senior scientist for clinical research in global science and medical affairs at Abbott Nutrition.

Here are 31 other things that can help lower blood pressure.

Cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper
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Capsaicin is the active ingredient that gives cayenne pepper its heat. “There is some evidence that this compound can affect blood pressure and improve blood flow,” says Ginger Hultin, RDN. Other types of peppers that contain capsaicin include green and red chilies, jalapeño peppers and tabasco peppers. She suggests stirring cayenne into eggs, sauces and salad dressings and using it to flavour seafood and chicken. “You can even use it to spice up treats like brownies, muffins, cookies and cakes,” she says. One caution: “Capsaicin is known to mildly thin the blood, so it shouldn’t be used with other blood-thinning medications or supplements.”

Watch out for these silent signs you have clogged arteries.

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Radishes

Radishes
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It’s easy to pass by radishes when you’re shopping for veggies: Some people think they taste a bit bitter, and they’re often thought of as only a topping. But if you’ve been wondering how to improve circulation, give these bright red beauties another look. “Radishes are rich in minerals, including potassium, that help normalise blood pressure and increase blood circulation,” says dietitian Jackie Arnett. Each half cup of sliced radishes contains 135 mg of blood pressure-lowering potassium.

Chilli peppers

Chilli peppers
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If mild green capsicum is as spicy as you get, you may want to train your taste buds to like a little more heat. “Chilli peppers give a kick to the blood, increasing the circulation around the body,” says Arnett Elnahar. In a 2015 study published in the BMJ, researchers looked at the diets of nearly half a million men and women over a seven-year span. They found that people who ate spicy foods like chilli peppers several days a week had a 14 percent lower risk of death during the study – including from heart disease and cancer. Take baby steps by adding a little diced chilli pepper to your stir-fry or chilli, or squirt a drop or two of Sriracha sauce on your eggs.

Kale

Kale
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If you haven’t heard enough about kale, here’s another reason to add this food to your diet: It could help improve circulation. “Kale is exceptional at replenishing red blood cells and increases the blood’s ability to transport more oxygen around the body,” says Arnett Elnahar, RD. Bonus: Kale is rich in folate, which may help lower high blood pressure.

Here are 45 things heart doctors do to protect their own hearts. 

Coffee

Coffee
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Time to wake up and smell the coffee – and improve circulation at the same time. A study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in 2013 showed that those who drank a regular cup of coffee had a 30 percent increase in blood flow over a 75-minute period compared to those who stuck to decaf.

Here are 10 things that might happen to your body if you quit coffee. 

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Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, Reader’s Digest magazine May issue will not be available at its regular on-sale date to our subscribers or through our retail channels in that region. We hope to have the issues available in early June, but this is dependent on when the lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team