Foods that Improve Blood Circulation in Legs: What Do the Studies Say?

Medically reviewed by — Written by Alex Eriksson

Poor circulation may be caused by peripheral artery disease (PAD). But that is not the only reason why people are interested in foods that improve blood circulation in legs.



Potential Causes of Poor Blood Circulation

There are other things that may also contribute to the narrowing of arteries and blood vessels in the lower regions of the body. Apart from that, some people just want to get rid of horrendous-looking varicose veins, which affect 20% of adults by the way.

Other conditions and bad habits may impede blood flow in various parts of the body. Some of these contributing factors include Raynaud’s disease, smoking, obesity, diabetes, among others.


Foods That Help Improve Blood Circulation

Getting good blood circulation is essential for overall health and not just in the legs. The following is a list of the best foods that improve blood circulation in legs that you can add to your grocery list.

1. Ginger

Ginger is a staple in traditional, herbal, and alternative medicine. Studies have shown that the extracts from this root may help improve blood circulation by lowering blood pressure.

According to a 2017 medical review, experts confirm that ginger extracts has a hypotensive mechanism. It may be used as a natural alternative to conventional anti-hypertensive medications.

ginger

In another study, researchers suggest that taking 2 to 4 grams of ginger extract per day can lower one’s risk for developing hypertension. Researchers see its effects as being somewhat similar to ACE inhibitors.

blue-berries

2. Berries

A lot of people like munching on berries. They’re a well-known healthy snack that can satisfy a sweet tooth really fast.

One of the biggest benefits that we can get from berries is its antioxidant effects. This effect also has a positive impact on proper blood flow to the legs and the rest of the body.

When it comes to blood flow, berries have a lot of positive effects on the body, such as the following:

  • Improves artery dilation which reduces the constriction in the blood vessels
  • Reduces inflammatory markers in the blood
  • Lowers platelet aggregation
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    Reduces heart rate
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    Lowers blood pressure

Add a cup of berries to your daily meals so you can harness its benefits. Just watch the sugar levels—remember that they are definitely sweet as they come.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene. This nutrient of course comes with a lot of notable health benefits.

It can help lower the activity of the angiotensin-converting enzyme, which is responsible for constricting blood vessels. That is a great way to support vascular health, which makes it one of the best foods that improve blood circulation in legs.

tomatoes

This action of the compounds in tomatoes have led medical researchers to speculate that tomatoes may be a potential natural alternative to taking ACE inhibitors—of course more studies will be required before doctors can actually prescribe that.

walnuts

4. Walnuts

Walnuts contain a lot of beneficial compounds and nutrients, which includes the following:

  • Vitamin E
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
  • L-Arginine

Note that vitamin E stimulates the production of nitric oxide. This has a number of essential benefits including the vasodilation or the widening of blood vessels.

The compounds from walnuts have been found to help decrease inflammation and it helps to lower blood pressure. It is especially helpful for people with type 2 diabetes.

5. Citrus Fruits

Grapefruit, lemons, oranges, and all kinds of citrus fruits are also excellent foods that improve blood circulation in legs. Its flavonoid and other antioxidant content are especially beneficial.

Flavonoids have been found to be helpful in reducing the stiffness of the arteries and hypertension.

Citrus fresh fruits
fresh spinach

6. Spinach and Other Leafy Greens

Spinach and other leafy greens are a good source of nitrates, which are in turn converted into nitric oxide. One study shows that people who eat more nitrate rich veggies have a significantly lower risk for high blood pressure and heart disease.

7. Turmeric

One of the essential benefits of turmeric is its ability to increase blood flow. Studies suggest that adding curcumin to one’s diet for about 3 months can increase blood flow by as much as 37%.

The curcumin content of turmeric helps to increase nitric oxide production.

turmeric
beetroot

8. Beets and Beet Juice

One reason why a lot of athletes drink beet juice is because beets are also another good source of nitrates. It also promotes oxygen flow to the muscles.

9. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish like mackerel, sardines, and salmon are great sources of omega-3s, which is a type of fatty acid. Omega-3s promote the release of nitric oxide.

Apart from that, this fatty acid can also help to prevent the formation of blood clots. It also reduces blood pressure which also helps to improve the blood flow to the legs and other parts of the body.

salmon
garlic bulb

10. Garlic

Garlic contains compounds that can help relax the blood vessels, thus increasing the blood flow. One of the main nutrients that bring this benefit is allicin.

One study suggests that taking 1200 mg of garlic supplements for 3 months may improve blood flow by 50%.

11. Cinnamon

Apart from increasing blood circulation to the legs and other parts of the body, cinnamon has been known to provide a lot of other health benefits.

For instance, it is known to help improve heart performance. It can also help bring down high blood pressure.

cinnamon
red onion

12. Onions

Onions are great sources of flavonoid antioxidants, which are great for promoting heart health. One of the ways it does that is by widening the veins and arteries.

Studies suggest that taking 4.3 grams of onion extract per day for 30 days may help to improve blood circulation and reduce high blood pressure as well.

13. Pomegranate

Pomegranates are also another great source of potent vasodilators, which make them great foods that improve blood circulation in legs.

Researchers suggest that taking 1000 mg of pomegranate extract or supplements 30 minutes before your workout may increase the blood vessel diameter thereby improving blood flow.

estrogen rich foods pomegranate
chili pepper

14. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper also stimulates the release of nitric oxide, the benefits of which we have already described earlier. Apart from that, cayenne pepper may also help to reduce plaque build-up in the veins and arteries.

15. Grapes

Purple grapes are a great source of antioxidants and they also reduce inflammation, which helps improve blood circulation. They also contain compounds that prevent blood clot formation.

grapes

Lifestyle Changes

Apart from eating foods that help to improve blood circulation, there are lifestyle changes that can also help you achieve this goal. They may also help get rid of varicose veins.

Some of the things that you can do include:

  • Wearing compression clothing
  • Maintaining good posture
  • Walking
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    Doing cardio
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    Increasing physical activity
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    Elevating the legs when you lie down
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    Losing weight
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    Managing blood pressure
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    Getting a massage
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    Staying hydrated
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    Do yoga

These lifestyle changes, combined with foods that improve blood circulation in legs, may help get rid of those nasty looking varicose veins and provide you with an overall holistic treatment for many health conditions.


author

Alex Eriksson is the founder of Anabolic Health, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing honest and research-backed advice for optimal male hormonal health. Anabolic Health aspires to become a trusted resource where men can come and learn how to fix their hormonal problems naturally, without pharmaceuticals.



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