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Your Roadmap to Circulation Health

Increasingly regarded as an organ in its own right, the circulatory system supplies oxygen, nutrients and hormones via the blood to all the cells in the body, as well as eliminating harmful toxins.(1) the circulatory system – interchangeably known as the cardiovascular system – traverses to every corner of our biology, powering the liver, muscles, stomach, lungs, brain and waste and lymph systems. Put simply, good circulation means good health.

Your Roadmap to Circulation Health

Diet: Okay, it may sound hackneyed advice by now, but the importance of eating a well-balanced, nutritionally-dense diet can’t be overstated for your circulation. your circulatory system doesn’t ask for much in return. like most areas of your biology, what it wants is clean, colourful, circulation-friendly food. making smarter food choices will also help you maintain a healthy weight. indeed, the strain on your circulatory system is much greater if you’re overweight.

Eat wholefoods: Following a mainly whole food diet – with as few minimally processed ingredients as possible – is one of the best ways to support your circulatory health. Try to live by this mantra: limit any food products that contain more than five ingredients.

Fill up on fibre: Fibre is one of the best fuels for circulatory health; with a growing body of scientific data suggesting regular consumption may support cardiovascular function.(2)

Sack the saturates: Eating a diet rich in saturated fats can elevate levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol, which may increase the risk of heart and circulatory complications.(3) Limit or, better yet, cut out the saturated fats found in butter, lard, ghee, cheese and fatty meats. Instead, choose the healthy unsaturated fats in oily fish, nuts and olive oil.

Circulation-friendly foods:

  • Beetroot

  • Oily fish: mackerel, sardines, herring

  • Oranges

  • Cayenne pepper

Exercise: Circulation loves movement. A regular exercise regime makes your circulatory system more robust, more expansive, and more flexible. Physical activity encourages the growth of new capillaries in muscles, regulates blood pressure, lowers resting heart rate and attacks visceral fat (the insidious kind of fat that encases internal organs).(4) and that’s not all. exercise and the circulatory system have a symbiotic relationship: the better your circulatory system, the better you move, and the better your overall athletic performance. time to dust off your trainers?

Inactivity has consequencesThe heart is a muscle; it needs regular physical exercise to make it bigger and stronger. When you’re active, your lungs can better oxygenate your blood, enabling it to reach all the cells and tissues of your body. But when you’re inactive, fatty materials can begin to clog your arteries and compromise your circulatory health.(5) Indeed, here’s the real kicker: inactivity is estimated to cause 9 per cent of premature mortality worldwide.(6)

Aim for 10,000: Deceptively simple, upping your step count to 10,000 a day is one of the best ways to get the blood pumping around your circulatory system. And there are plenty of hacks to increase your step count: walk to work, get off the bus three stops earlier, take a brisk walk on your lunch break, or spearhead ‘walky-talky’ meetings with colleagues. Of course, steps aren’t the only important consideration here; you need to think about pace, too. For the ultimate circulation workout, walk briskly at a rate that makes you feel slightly breathless.

Prepare to sweat: Cardiovascular (aerobic) activity is often held up as the heart-healthiest exercise. Research suggests pulse-raisers may reduce ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol, help lower blood pressure, and maintain optimal weight.(7) But it’s not just a case of slogging away on a treadmill for hours. You must choose a workout that works for you – be it dancing, kickboxing, or spinning. Ultimately, this will motivate you to move. Try to get sweaty three to four times a week. Even short five-minute bursts of cardio, like skipping, will support your circulatory health.

 
Remember, exercise doesn’t have to look like traditional exercise. Gardening, pottering, and housework are also forms of activity that get you up and moving. Click here to find out more ways to stay active while being at home

Lifestyle tips: While a healthy diet and robust exercise regime will undoubtedly work wonders for your circulatory system, admittedly, it can only get you so far. If you smoke or overindulge in alcohol, it may undo all of your hard work. But it’s not just a case of cutting out habits; you may also profit from adding new rituals to your daily routine, like dry brushing or a cold morning shower.

Holy smoke!: It should come as no surprise that smoking is the greatest single cause of ill health and premature death in the UK.(8) Smoking is associated with circulatory complications. This habit causes your blood vessels to narrow, leading to the build-up of fatty deposits.(9) And if the blood can’t flow freely through the vessels, it may result in partial or total loss of circulation in some regions of the body. Read our guide on how to quit smoking.

Bar binge drinking: While the allure of alcohol is undeniable, the health implications are worth meditating on. Long-term heavy drinking may increase cholesterol and blood pressure, both of which are considerable circulatory risks.(10) In an ideal world, try to have no more than one drink a day. The NHS guidelines advise against drinking more than 14 units a week. And if you’re drinking habitually, try to spread your consumption over 3 or more days. Remember, you should have several drink-free days a week, too.

Sack the saturates: Eating a diet rich in saturated fats can elevate levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol, which may increase the risk of heart and circulatory complications.(3) Limit or, better yet, cut out the saturated fats found in butter, lard, ghee, cheese and fatty meats. Instead, choose the healthy unsaturated fats in oily fish, nuts and olive oil.

Your Roadmap to Circulation Health

Quench your thirst: To support blood flow, you should aim to drink at least 1.5 litres of water each day – more if you’re active. Struggle to hit your H2O quota? Set an alarm three times per day to remind you to sip. You could also invest in a 600ml water bottle: try to have one serving finished by lunchtime and one by the end of work, and then top yourself up before dinner. Oh, and if straight-up water isn’t your thing, add lemon, cucumber, or mint leaves for flavour.

Stress less: An unexpected bill, relationship trouble, a strongly worded email from your boss – stress abounds our modern-day life. Stress triggers the ‘flight or fight’ response in the body: your heart rate increases, and there are stronger contractions of the heart muscle.(11) The stress hormones – cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline – perform as chemical messengers for these effects. Beyond this, the blood vessels transporting blood to your heart and major organs dilate, elevating blood pressure.(12) Over time, chronic stress may compromise your circulatory system. Find out more on stress signs and symptoms.

Our top supplements to support circulatory health.
Colladeen® Original

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Turmeric 10,000mg

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Fish Oil 1100mg

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Astaxanthin 4mg

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If you require more information on the products above, please do not hesitate to contact our expert Nutrition Advice Team who will be happy to assist you.
Click here to visit our online health library for comprehensive articles on circulatory health.
 

References:

  1. 2020. Circulatory System: Facts, Function & Diseases. [ONLINE] livescience.com. Available at: https://www.livescience.com/22486-circulatory-system.html

  2. 2020. Eat More Fiber-Rich Foods To Foster Heart Health - Harvard Health. [ONLINE] Harvard Health. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/hearthealth/eat-more-fiber-rich-foods-to-foster-heart-health >/font>

  3. Bhf.org.uk. 2020. Watch: What Does Fat Do And What Is Saturated Fat?. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heartmatters-magazine/nutrition/sugar-salt-and-fat/saturated-fat-animation

  4. Nystoriak, M. A., & Bhatnagar, A. (2018). Cardiovascular Effects and Benefits of Exercise. Frontiers in cardiovascular medicine, 5, 135.

  5. Bhf.org.uk. 2020. Physical Inactivity. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/risk-factors/physical-inactivity

  6. Lee IM, Shiroma EJ, Lobelo F, et al. (2012) Effect of physical inactivity on major non-communicable diseases worldwide: an analysis of burden of disease and life expectancy. Lancet. 380(9838): 219–229.

  7. Patel, H., Alkhawam, H., Madanieh, R., Shah, N., Kosmas, C. E., & Vittorio, T. J. (2017). Aerobic vs anaerobic exercise training effects on the cardiovascular system. World journal of cardiology, 9(2), 134–138.

  8. Torbayandsouthdevon.nhs.uk. 2020. Smoking And Your Circulation. [ONLINE]Available at: https://www.torbayandsouthdevon.nhs.uk/uploads/23528.pdf

  9. Torbayandsouthdevon.nhs.uk. 2020. Smoking And Your Circulation. [ONLINE]Available at: https://www.torbayandsouthdevon.nhs.uk/uploads/23528.pdf

  10. nhs.uk. 2020. Alcohol Misuse - Risks. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alcohol-misuse/risks/

  11. Apa.org. 2020. Stress Effects On The Body. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress/effects-cardiovascular

  12. Spruill T. M. (2010). Chronic psychosocial stress and hypertension. Current hypertension reports, 12(1), 10–16.