In today’s post, we’ll look at 9 ways to improve blood flow to your feet, and the causes of poor blood circulation. Make sure you watch till the end, cause we’ll explain how one unique food extract has been found to specifically help improve blood flow in your legs.
As always, this video is educational and does not constitute medical advice, we are not doctors.
Number 8. Walking.
Walking is the best way to quickly improve circulation. That’s because every step you take, helps activate the muscles in your legs, which helps increase blood flow. As your muscles contract and relax, they squeeze around the large veins in your legs, promoting healthy circulation in your lower body. Going for short walks of just 5 minutes a day can help make a difference. Many studies have found that even small increases in the amount of time you walk daily, can have long-lasting benefits; these include improving overall balance, lowering blood pressure, promoting weight loss, and lifting your mood.
Number 7. Wear Compression Socks.
If you work at a job where you need to be either seated or standing for the entire day, compression stockings can help to improve your blood flow, as well as reduce swelling and pain. The basic concept behind compression socks is called ‘graduated compression’. This technique works by concentrating the highest amount of compression at the ankle, then gradually reducing it higher up the leg. This helps to gently push old and stagnant blood, “up and out” of the feet and legs. It’s a little like squeezing the bottom of a toothpaste tube! Doctors typically recommend compression socks for preventing deadly blood clots on long-haul flights. Plus, according to studies, the right compression socks can improve endurance, enhance athletic performance, and speed recovery time – which is why athletes wear them. See below for our recommended compression socks to keep your legs fresh and energized all day.
Number 6. Stop Smoking.
If you want better overall blood flow, then you definitely shouldn’t be smoking. Cigarettes contain high amounts of nicotine. This chemical compound causes your blood vessels to constrict or narrow, and reduces blood flow to your limbs. This happens because over time, the constant constriction makes your blood vessels stiffer and less elastic. In addition, smoking has also been found to cause plaque build-up in your arteries, which can lead to peripheral artery disease (PAD). This may cause symptoms, such as claudication, which means there is pain in your thigh, calf, or buttocks when you walk.
Number 5. Eat More Nitrate-rich Vegetables.
Besides reducing your intake of highly processed foods to prevent high blood pressure, plaque formation, and diabetes, adding more nitrate-rich foods to your diet can help your body improve blood flow. That’s because nitrates are converted into nitric oxide in the body, which improves blood flow by relaxing blood vessels. Some foods that are naturally high in nitrates include dark leafy greens, beets, cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, citrus fruits, watermelon, and pomegranates. See our video, “Top 11 Foods to Strengthen Blood Flow“.
Number 4. Try Horse Chestnut Extract.
Extract from the horse chestnut seed contains a natural compound called aescin, which has been found to improve vein health and reduce inflammation. Many studies have found that taking daily doses of 50 milligrams of aescin for up to 8 weeks can help reduce symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), which is a health condition characterized by poor blood flow to the veins of the legs. Another study published in 2015 found that horse chestnut was as effective as wearing compression stockings. Always consult your healthcare provider before taking horse chestnut extract, especially if you have a medical condition or are currently taking medications.
Number 3. Manage Your Blood Pressure Levels.
Having high blood pressure can create microtears in your artery walls, which increases your risk of plaque buildup. This cholesterol blockage can occur in your lower extremities and reduce blood flow. Exercising, cutting back on sodium, and reducing stress levels are three things you can do to help lower your blood pressure, and improve your circulation at the same time. Also, see our video, “Top 12 Potassium-Rich Foods That Reduce Blood Pressure“.
Number 2. Cut Back on Sugar.
Eating too many sweets or refined carbs, can cause your blood sugar levels to damage the lining of your small blood vessels. When this happens, the elasticity of your blood vessels decreases and this causes them to narrow, impeding blood flow.
Number 1. Focus on Feet Exercises.
There are plenty of exercises you can do lying down, or while sitting to keep your blood flowing. Some examples that you can do while lying down include ankle pumping, which involves flexing your foot in the direction of your head. Another popular one that you can do while standing or seated are heel and toe raises. To do this, simply raise both heels until you’re on your toes and hold for 3 seconds before lowering back to starting position. Lastly, you can do ankle rotations pretty much anywhere you want. Simply rotate the ankle clockwise and then counterclockwise.