It’s probably safe to say that most of us don’t consider our blood when we sit down to eat, or at least, maybe not directly. Sure, we might consider our heart health, our digestion, and even our weight, but blood? Ehh..not so much. Ironically though, our blood flow can affect all aspects of our health, in ways you might not expect it to. For instance, healthy, steady blood flow is needed for digestion, healthy circulation that leads to good heart health, energy, and even helping remove wastes that can become stagnant and contribute to weight gain and acidic pH levels in the body. Circulation of blood is also important for maintaining a healthy body temperature.
How to Improve Blood Flow Naturally
Blood flow is improved through all forms of movement, along with certain foods and drinks in our diet. Dry brushing and showering can also stimulate blood flow, but when it comes to the biggest impact, food and movement are where it’s at. Still, you could exercise all day and suffer poor blood flow if your meals aren’t based off clean, whole foods that provide vital nutrients for a healthy body.
A diet rich in antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, whole forms of fiber, and vitamins and minerals contribute to healthy blood flow and the removal of wastes. A diet low in these essential nutrients can lead to inflammation, toxic build-up, and poor elimination of wastes consistently. The good news is, eating a healthy, more alkaline diet and getting daily movement can help improve your blood flow quickly. Embrace gentle forms of exercise if you’re not into intense exercises, and put the following foods on the menu this week:
Celery is rich in Vitamin K, an important nutrient needed for healthy blood flow and healthy blood clotting (which is necessary during times of injury). Celery is also important for flushing out wastes due to the electrolytes it contains and being a natural diuretic. Use it in a delicious detox green juice recipe, a green smoothie, chopped onto salads, in soup, wraps, or just nosh on it raw. It pairs pretty brilliantly with hummus or salsa, we must say.
2. Raw Seeds
Chia, flax, hemp, and pumpkin seeds are all packed with omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants. They’re also anti-inflammatory sources of protein which can help remove cholesterol and improve the quality of the blood overall. Animal foods contribute to acidity, while plant-based proteins do the opposite.
We talk a lot about oats here, but they really are one of the best foods known to remove cholesterol from the body and are also anti-inflammatory. If you’re concerned with gluten, choose gluten-free oats, and always choose rolled or steel-cut over instant to get the whole grain benefits. Oats are some of the most antioxidant packed grains you can eat in just a small serving for the cost. They also help provide energy, which will help power you through those exercises and movements! You can even improve their alkalinity and digestibility by giving them a simple overnight soak if you want to take things up a notch.
Don’t like oats? Other whole grains like wild, black, or brown rice, millet, teff, quinoa and amaranth are all some of the least inflammatory and most nutrient-dense.
4. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit are all some of the best lower sugar, anti-inflammatory foods you can eat. They’re also alkalizing to the body despite being acidic on the exterior of the body, and are phenomenal internal body cleansers thanks to their Vitamin C content. Citrus fruits are also fairly easy to digest so they’re a great option for those sensitive to higher fructose fruits. Here’s a tip: squeeze the juice of these fruits into smoothies, onto salads as a healthy dressing, and be sure to enjoy whole oranges and grapefruits which are naturally sweet and contain important soluble fibers for the heart and blood.
5. Raw Almonds and Walnuts
Raw almonds and walnuts are the two most beneficial nuts you can eat. Each also has special antioxidant components to improve the blood even more. Almonds contain Vitamin E to fight inflammation and walnuts contain omega 3 fats, unique to the nut family since it is the only source among them all. Always enjoy them raw when possible, since once cooked they become more acidic. For instance, raw almond or walnut butter are excellent ways to enjoy these nuts, or you can simply use them sprinkled onto overnight porridge. Or, for a seriously healthy snack, go with some Gluten-Free Walnut and Oat Brownies!
6. Glorious Greens
No matter what type of green you choose, you can be sure your blood will give you a high five! Greens are the most alkalizing foods we can eat because they contain the most dense sources of chlorophyll of any food. This cleanses the blood and also the liver, which filters our blood. Greens are also a great source of Vitamins C and K to improve the blood and body even further. Spinach, kale, mustard, turnip, arugula, romaine, and even lettuce are all great choices. Enjoy them however you want, be it a salad, smoothie, soup, or a raw wrap.
7. Certain Superfoods
We hate to toss the word superfood around like it’s a such a fancy term, but the truth is, certain high-antioxidant, more exotic foods (that we call superfoods these days) are beneficial to the blood, circulation, and overall health. Some are also pretty affordable. For instance, spirulina is one of the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet, containing more protein than beef per serving (4 grams per teaspoon), and has more chlorophyll than any vegetable or green. Acai contains more antioxidants than blueberries or other common berries and also packs in those important omega 3 fats to boot. Goji is rich in necessary Vitamins A and C, which act as antioxidants in the body and reduce inflammation, and even cacao is a fantastic food for boosting circulation, lowering blood pressure, and improving neurotransmitter function in the brain.
Cucumbers are much like celery in their ability to shuttle out wastes and remove toxins, and they provide water, potassium, Vitamin C, and fiber to benefit blood flow even further. Cucumbers are especially anti-inflammatory, but should be bought organic when possible to reduce pesticide exposure (that waxy coating on conventional cukes).
Asparagus is another wonderful food at relieving toxins and wastes. It also acts as a diuretic due to being high in potassium, and contains important B vitamins such as folate, Vitamin C, and fiber. This little mighty stalk is even a good source of unknown protein, containing 4 grams in just 6 stalks.
10. Red Bell Peppers
Red bell peppers are rich in Vitamin C, containing over your entire day’s worth in just one pepper! They’re also a good source of fiber, antioxidants, and are hydrating to the body to improve blood flow further. You can use peppers as a natural shell for stuffing with grains or other veggies, such as in Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers, enjoy them sliced with some raw almonds as a snack, or tossed onto any salad or soup if you please.
Other especially good options are carrots, avocados, tomatoes, squash, and other root vegetables. Remember to choose fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats when it comes to eating to improve your blood flow and you’ll be good to go. These foods will serve the body well on every single level without worry. Oh, and of course, don’t forget to drink that water and move!
Lead Image Source: Soba Noodle and Vegetable Soul Bowl