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Top 10 Foods that Improve Blood Circulation in Legs

by DailyHealthPost Editorial

Are you experiencing cramps, pain, and fatigue in your legs? Poor circulation in the legs, ankle, and feet, can cause edema, varicosis, and venous diseases. In today’s video, we’ll explore 10 foods that boost circulation in the legs. Make sure you watch till the end, cause we’ll mention one spice that has amazing benefits for your arteries, that you’ll want to eat daily.

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Top 10 Foods that Improve Blood Circulation in Legs

As always, this video is educational, and does not constitute medical advice; we are not doctors.

Number 10. Potassium-Rich Foods.

Potassium is a vasoactive mineral that increases blood flow, by widening blood vessels to the organs and limbs, resulting in reduced pain, and increased nutrient and oxygen flow. Potassium is beneficial for a healthy circulatory system – the network of blood vessels that carry blood away from, and towards the heart – because it helps to lower blood pressure. Luckily, it is widely found in foods. The western diet is full of salty foods, which are rich in sodium and poor in potassium, resulting in increased blood pressure. You can balance sodium to potassium intake by consuming potatoes, bananas, broccoli, tomato, beans, and legumes which are the best nutritional sources of potassium.

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Number 9. Vitamin D Sources.

Vitamin D is a vasoactive vitamin, and has a vital role in regenerating the vascular system. The anti-inflammatory effects of vitamin D prevent blood vessels and the heart from oxidative damage caused by metabolic processes and environmental pollutants. A 2014 study published in Circulation, showed that supplementation of daily 4000 IU cholecalciferol (vitamin D3), which is a bioactive form of vitamin D, promotes regeneration of blood vessels. Although fish, milk, eggs contain vitamin D, sunlight is the primary source of it. You can get enough vitamin D by getting sunlight for 5 to 15 minutes. Sufficient vitamin D levels can elevate the repair of blood vessels resulting in better circulation to the legs. For better results, take vitamin D3 with K2, as K2 helps to prevent stiff arteries caused by calcium buildup, and returns calcium to the bones where it is needed for growth.

Number 8. Fish as a Source of Omega3.

Fish is a well-known food for its benefits for the vascular system. It is a healthy fatty acid, found in vast amounts in fish (as DHA and EPA), and minor amounts in walnuts, flax seeds, and chia seeds (as alpha-linolenic acid). Omega-3 shows antioxidant effects by preventing oxidative damage to the blood vessels and heart. It also helps relax the muscle cells of blood vessels, which results in increased blood flow, and lower blood pressure. Fish that contain the highest amount of omega-3 are mackerel, sablefish, salmon, sardines, and tuna. The approximate recommended daily intake of Omega-3 is 1000 mg.

Number 7. Grapes and Red Wine.

Grape is a rich source of polyphenols which are potent antioxidants. Also, they modulate LDL, also known as “bad cholesterol”, therefore preventing the clotting of blood vessels. Importantly, the polyphenols in grapes help to reduce blood pressure and improve the elasticity of blood vessels. In one 2004 study published in BioFactors, daily grape supplementation was given to hypertensive patients; their blood pressure was reduced due to polyphenolic compounds. Polyphenols in grapes help promote circulation in legs and other organs, contributing to open, healthy blood vessels.

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Number 6. Tea Which Contains Catechins.

Drinking 1 or more cups of black or green tea daily, has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases because of their effects on lowering blood pressure. Tea is an enormous source of catechins which is a type of polyphenol. A study published in Nutrients 2021, showed that when healthy people take catechin-containing green tea extract, their blood flow to their legs was increased. At the same time, vascular resistance improved, suggesting that blood flow was more effortless due to decreased resistance from blood vessels. Catechins help in relaxation of blood vessels through nitric oxide formation, which has strong effects on blood circulation by widening blood vessels. Other catechin sources are red wine, strawberries, apples, and cherries. 

Number 5. Cacao and Dark Chocolate.

Higher consumption of cacao has been associated with lower risk of cardiovascular diseases. Cacao also contains a more elevated amount of catechins. Studies showed that cacao or dark chocolate could lower blood pressure which increases blood flow. It also prevents endothelial dysfunction – this means the arteries are narrowing when they should be opening, thus causing chest pain. Even in serious cardiovascular problems, cacao supplementation showed beneficial effects on the dilation of arteries.

Number 4. Garlic as a Rich Source of L-arginine.

Garlic is rich in L-arginine, an amino acid that is critical for nitric oxide synthesis, which helps blood vessels relax. A 2004 study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, showed supplementation of garlic tablets increased blood flow to the legs. Garlic also modulates serum lipids, and prevents the accumulation of lipid. Some of us find garlic hard to consume. If that’s you, there are other sources of L-arginine, including red meat, fish, and eggs.

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Number 3. Green Leafy Vegetables.

The venous system is vital for healthy circulation. It helps the return of blood to the heart and prevents edema. A higher intake of green vegetables is associated with a healthier venous system. Some green leafy vegetables that you can add to your diet are kale, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce and spinach. Studies have shown that healthy people who ate spinach had higher dilation of blood vessels, indicating increased blood flow to the organs. This is because spinach contains nitrates that affect nitric oxide levels, a compound that helps blood vessels widen. Besides, vegetables contain a high amount of fiber, which lowers blood lipid levels, and prevents clotting in blood vessels; it’s recommended to take around 8 ounces of vegetables daily.

Number 2. Cayenne Pepper.

Cayenne pepper is made from chili peppers and used as a spice. It affects metabolism, resulting in increased blood flow in arteries and veins. It also improves common lipid problems such as high triglyceride and cholesterol levels. As a bonus, its main ingredient capsaicin, also shows beneficial effects on blood circulation. Capsaicin improves the effects of nitric oxide on blood vessels resulting in lower blood pressure.

Number 1. Vitamin C.

Fatigue, pain, leg cramping can be causes of blood vessel abnormalities in the legs. Vitamin C has beneficial effects on blood vessels through its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In a 2001 study published in Circulation, vitamin C levels were assessed in patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD), in which lipid accumulates in the wall of blood vessels and negatively affects blood circulation in legs and feet. Researchers found that vitamin C levels were two times lower in PAD patients compared to healthy people. Fortunately, vitamin C is easily available in fruits such as orange, kiwi, lemon, strawberry, and tomato.

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There you have it! The top 10 foods that boost circulation in your legs.

Your cardiovascular system includes the heart, veins, and arteries, which are the blood vessels. When your cardiovascular system is healthy, it results in good blood circulation in the body, meaning your organs and limbs, can receive the needed nutrients and oxygen to function properly.

While varicose veins, ulcers, and venous insufficiency or buildup of blood in the feet, are not life-threatening, edema or swelling in the lower legs could be a sign of heart failure.

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And now, over to you: Which are your favorite foods to improve blood flow?

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