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How To Improve Blood Circulation Naturally

Medically reviewed by Caroline Duncan, MD
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How To Improve Blood Circulation Naturally May 1, 2018

Are your hands or fingers blue and/or always cold? Do some parts of your body begin to feel numb or tingle after you sit or stand for prolonged periods? This is exactly what happens when your blood circulation is disrupted. Although the blood flow usually goes back to normal after some movement, it might lead to complications and health issues in a few cases. Hence, it is important to address this issue. In this article, we discuss the causes and natural ways to improve blood circulation. Scroll down.

Table Of Contents

What Is Poor Blood Circulation?
What Causes Poor Blood Circulation?
What Are The Signs And Symptoms of Poor Blood Circulation?
Best Foods That Increase Blood Circulation In The Body
Other Natural Ways To Increase Blood Circulation In The Body

What Is Poor Blood Circulation?

The circulatory system, also known as the cardiovascular system, is responsible for the transport of blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout your body. When the blood flow to specific parts of your body is reduced, you start experiencing symptoms of poor blood circulation.

This condition is often a result of various health issues and factors. Some of the common causes are listed below.

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What Causes Poor Blood Circulation?

  • Peripheral Artery Disease: Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a circulatory condition that causes your arteries and blood vessels to narrow. It can lead to poor blood circulation in your legs.
  • Blood Clots: Blood clots can block the flow of blood to different parts of your body partially or entirely. Though they can develop anywhere in the body, blood clots that form in the arms and legs can cause poor circulation problems.
  • Varicose Veins: When your veins become large as a result of valve failure, it results in varicose veins. The damaged veins can’t transport blood as efficiently as the normal ones, thus leading to poor blood circulation.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes can also cause poor blood circulation in certain areas of your body. This is usually due to diabetic neuropathy.
  • Obesity: Those who are overweight or obese may also face poor circulation problems on standing or sitting for long hours.

The following are some common symptoms associated with the condition.

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms of Poor Blood Circulation?

  • A tingling sensation
  • Numbness
  • A throbbing or stinging pain, especially in your limbs
  • Muscle cramps

If you experience any unusual sensation that points toward poor blood circulation, you can improve your condition using natural ways. We have put together some of the best foods and other natural ways that can help improve blood circulation throughout your body.

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Best Foods That Increase Blood Circulation In The Body

  1. Blackberries
  2. Nuts
  3. Garlic
  4. Cayenne Pepper
  5. Ginkgo Biloba
  6. Ginger
  7. Watermelon
  8. Citrus Fruits
  9. Oats
  10. Dark Chocolates
  11. Avocados
  12. Salmon

1. Blackberries

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You Will Need

1 cup of blackberries

What You Have To Do

Consume a small cup of blackberries daily.

Why This Works

Regular consumption of blackberries is one of the best ways to improve blood circulation. These berries are a rich source of various nutrients that stimulate the formation of new blood cells and purify your blood (1).

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2. Nuts

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You Will Need

A small cup of almonds and walnuts

What You Have To Do

Consume a small bowl of raw almonds and nuts on a daily basis.

Why This Works

Among nuts, almonds and walnuts are your best bets for increasing blood circulation. Both are rich sources of antioxidants that enhance blood supply by dilating your blood vessels (2).

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3. Garlic

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You Will Need

Minced garlic cloves

What You Have To Do
  1. Add raw minced garlic to your favorite dish and consume daily.
  2. You can also chew on garlic cloves directly.
Why This Works

Garlic contains allicin, which has powerful antioxidant properties that purify your blood and enhance blood supply and circulation. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in your body (3).

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4. Cayenne Pepper

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You Will Need

Raw or powdered cayenne pepper

What You Have To Do

Add fresh or powdered cayenne pepper to your favorite salads and dishes and consume daily.

Why This Works

Cayenne pepper improves the functioning of the blood vessels and reinforces your arteries. This is mainly due to its stimulating medicinal properties (4).

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5. Ginkgo Biloba

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of ginkgo biloba tea
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • Honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of ginkgo biloba tea to a cup of hot water.
  2. Steep for 5 to 10 minutes and strain.
  3. Add some honey to it and consume immediately.
Why This Works

Ginkgo biloba contains flavonoids and terpenoids that render it most of its medicinal properties. Flavonoids are potent antioxidants that protect your body, including your heart and blood vessels, from free radical damage. The terpenoids in ginkgo biloba are responsible for dilating the blood vessels and improving blood circulation (5).

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6. Ginger

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You Will Need

Minced ginger

What You Have To Do

Consume freshly minced ginger daily by adding it to flavor your dishes and salads.

Why This Works

Ginger not only treats digestion and nausea but is also a great option for improving blood circulation (6). The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of ginger purify your blood and protect your body from free radical damage (7).

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7. Watermelon

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You Will Need

A bowl of cut watermelon

What You Have To Do

Consume a bowl of cut watermelon daily.

Why This Works

The lycopene in watermelons helps enhance blood circulation due to its antioxidant properties (8).

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8. Citrus Fruits

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You Will Need

Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits

What You Have To Do

Consume a portion of citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and limes on a daily basis.

Why This Works

Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant. They also have strong anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation within the body. A combination of these properties helps in purifying your blood and enhancing circulation (9).

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9. Oats

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You Will Need

1 bowl of cooked oats

What You Have To Do
  1. Consume a bowl of cooked oats daily.
  2. You can also blend oats with your favorite smoothie and consume it.
Why This Works

Oats can work wonders in improving blood circulation throughout your body. They possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help dilate your blood vessels and protect your body from free radical damage (10), (11).

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10. Dark Chocolate

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You Will Need

A small bar of dark chocolate

What You Have To Do

Consume a small bar of dark chocolate daily.

Why This Works

Dark chocolates are a rich source of cocoa, which contains flavonoids that have high antioxidant potential and enhance blood flow (12), (13).

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11. Avocados

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You Will Need

A small bowl of cut avocados

What You Have To Do
  1. Add some cut avocados to your favorite salad and consume daily.
  2. Alternatively, you can also blend some avocado with milk to make a refreshing smoothie.
Why This Works

Avocados are rich sources of an amino acid called L-carnitine, which boosts metabolism, promotes fat loss, and increases blood circulation, especially in your brain (14).

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12. Salmon

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You Will Need

1 portion of salmon

What You Have To Do

Consume a portion of marinated and cooked salmon every few days.

Why This Works

Salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that possess anti-inflammatory properties and boost the antioxidant potential of your heart (15), (16). This helps enhance your cardiovascular health and increases blood circulation.

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Other Natural Ways To Increase Blood Circulation In The Body

  1. Essential Oils
  2. Massage
  3. Exercises And Yoga
  4. Acupressure
  5. Avoid Drinking Alcohol
  6. Keep Yourself Hydrated

1. Essential Oils

a. Ginger Oil

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You Will Need
  • 12 drops of ginger oil
  • 30 mL of any carrier oil (coconut or olive oil)
What You Have To Do
  1. Add 12 drops of ginger essential oil to 30 mL of any carrier oil.
  2. Mix well and massage this mixture all over your body for 2 to 5 minutes.
  3. Leave it on for 20 minutes and then take a bath.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 to 3 times a week.

Why This Works

Ginger essential oil contains a compound called zingibain, which exhibits powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation within and outside your body and fight free radical damage (17), (18). This ultimately results in improved blood circulation.

b. Eucalyptus Oil

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You Will Need
  • 12 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • 30 mL of any carrier oil (coconut or olive oil)
What You Have To Do
  1. Add 12 drops of eucalyptus oil to 30 mL of any carrier oil and mix well.
  2. Gently massage this mixture all over your body.
  3. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes and then take a shower.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 to 3 times a week.

Why This Works

Massaging is a great way to stimulate blood flow, and when essential oils are involved, the effects are multiplied. Eucalyptus oil contains eucalyptol that helps in dilating your blood vessels, thereby improving blood flow in your body (19).

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2. Massage

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A full body massage using any carrier oil is a great and widely accepted method to increase the circulation of blood throughout your body (20), (21). Improved blood flow also promotes healing and wellness. You may opt for professional or therapeutic massage therapy for added benefits.

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3. Exercises And Yoga

Certain exercises and yoga poses can also aid in improving your blood circulation. Given below are a few:

Exercises

a. Walking

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How It Helps

Walking, being a cardiac exercise, can get blood pumping throughout your body.

Duration

20 to 30 minutes

b. Weight Training

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How It Helps

Lifting weights not only helps in building muscles but also boosts blood flow and improves your cardiovascular health.

Repetitions

12 to 15

Yoga

a. Deep Breathing

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How It Helps

As surprising as it sounds, a session of concentrated deep breathing can help increase your blood flow. When you breathe deeply, your muscles are relaxed. This, in turn, helps dilate the blood vessels, which helps improve blood circulation.

Repetitions

10

b. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

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How It Helps

The Mountain Pose improves blood circulation by increasing the elasticity of the blood vessels.

Duration

Hold this pose for 2 to 5 minutes.

c. Utkatasana (Chair Pose)

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How It Helps

The Chair Pose helps to stretch your body and promotes blood flow to all organs.

Duration

Hold this pose for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

d. Viparita Karani (Legs Up The Wall Pose)

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How It Helps

This is one of the best exercises to increase blood circulation as it promotes blood flow to the lower extremities of your body.

Duration

Hold this pose for 5 to 15 minutes

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[ Read: Types Of Yoga – Which One Is Best For You? ]

4. Acupressure

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Acupressure is a therapy that involves massaging certain acupoints on the foot. This is known to strengthen your immune system and improve blood circulation throughout your body (22).

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5. Avoid Drinking Alcohol

Alcohol consumption can affect the natural circulation of blood. Therefore, you need to avoid drinking alcohol to make the other methods more effective.

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6. Keep Yourself Well Hydrated

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Drink enough water and keep yourself well hydrated to enhance the blood flow throughout your body.

You can easily combat poor blood circulation with the help of the foods and remedies listed in this article. Also, keep in mind that a few healthy lifestyle choices and changes are all it takes to enhance your blood flow and fight any complications. Did this article address all your queries? Let us know via the comments section.

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Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

What happens if you stop the blood circulation in your hand or other body parts?

When you cut off the blood supply to your hands or legs, they will go numb in a few minutes due to the absence of oxygen in the neurons. This will further result in the absence of any sensation, and your hands or legs may also turn blue.

How long does it take to improve blood circulation?

Poor blood circulation may lead to adverse health effects later in life. Hence, it is necessary to follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly to maintain proper blood circulation.

What vitamins should I take to improve blood circulation?

You may increase your intake of foods rich in vitamins B, C, and E like milk, eggs, cheese, poultry, citrus fruits, leafy vegetables, soy, and nuts to improve blood circulation.

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