There is no known cure for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), only preventive measures that can help improve blood circulation in the lower extremities. For our subject today, we’re going to specifically be focusing on 10 foods that improve blood circulation in legs.
The first item in this list of foods to help improve blood circulation in legs are Oranges. Oranges and other citrus fruits are known for their natural ability to reduce blood viscosity and improve arterial health (keeping arteries strong and flexible.)
The magic ingredient, in this case, is Vitamin C. Vitamin C, is a mineral essential in the formation of collagen, which is important for the microcirculation of blood. If you’re not the type to enjoy oranges, you can also try lemons, pineapples, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, etc.
- Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate, according to new studies, can help improve arterial health and reduce high blood pressure. It’s the cacao content in dark chocolate, filled with a substance called flavonoids, that can prevent inflammation and help improve circulation in individuals who are at risk for certain cardiovascular complications.
Nuts offer double in beneficial nutrients. Namely, Magnesium and L-Arginine. The Magnesium is said to help relax arteries and allow for easy dilation, which works cooperatively with L-Arginine — a material that produces nitric oxide which prompts said dilations.
Outside of Garlic’s other uses, there are also studies that would suggest that it can help treat atherosclerosis by preventing plaque build-up and cleansing the blood. In conjunction with that fact, similar foods like onions, leeks, and radishes are also suspected of having the same benefits.
Natto is a traditional Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans. It’s known to be particularly healthy, offering many benefits. Which just so happens to include an ability to reduce blood viscosity (making blood less viscous – thick and sticky – to prevent clotting.)
According to a recent study in 2015, these benefits are from a nutrient called nattokinase — which is able to reduce the amount of fibrin (a substance necessary for clotting to occur) in the body.
- Cold Water Fish
Cold-water fish, specifically, are known to be rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. These are the healthiest of fats, making them perfect for keeping your circulatory system in good condition.
In this case, the Omega-3 fats are also said to be able to help reduce inflammation and blood viscosity — thus, ensuring that your arteries can dilate as needed and that your blood is thin enough to pass through easily.
Similar to the L-Arginine in nuts, beets contain a substance that produces nitric oxide — which, as mentioned earlier, prompts arteries to dilate and contract as needed. As a double benefit, beets are also rich in Vitamins (like Vitamin C, which as we discussed, is good for thinning the blood and improving arterial health.)
- Sunflower Seeds
Similar to the nattokinase that reduces production of fibrin, the Vitamin E in sunflower seeds has also been said to help prevent clotting. Such benefits are also available in pumpkin seeds and olives.
With watermelon, the improvement of blood circulation is credited to a natural antioxidant called lycopene. Although still unproven, lycopene is suspected of protecting damaged arteries.
- Cayenne Pepper
Presently, cayenne pepper is better known for helping improve metabolism. However, there are preliminary studies that suggest that cayenne pepper can also help strengthen arterial walls and prevent inflammation and other damages.
Conclusion — 10 Foods That Improve Blood Circulation in Legs
Poor circulation in the legs and feet is attributed to complications that might result in coronary and cardiovascular diseases. In such cases, a one-and-done cure is not available. Instead, dietary changes like the ones suggested above are vital in ensuring that the disease does not progress any further.
- Vlachopoulos, C, et al. “Effect of Dark Chocolate on Arterial Function in Healthy Individuals: Cocoa Instead of Ambrosia?” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2006, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17147918.
- Sanjay K Banerjee, and Subir K Maulik. “Effect of Garlic on Cardiovascular Disorders: a Review.” Nutrition Journal, BioMed Central, 19 Nov. 2002, nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-1-4.
- Kurosawa, Yuko, et al. “A Single-Dose of Oral Nattokinase Potentiates Thrombolysis and Anti-Coagulation Profiles.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 25 June 2015, www.nature.com/articles/srep11601.