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Boosting Circulation can Benefit the Entire Body

Friday, March 26, 2010 by: Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D.
Tags: circulation, healing, health news

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(NewsTarget) Are you feeling weary? Are you having trouble focusing? Are your hands or feet chilly, even when the weather is warm? The reason could be a problem in your circulatory system.

Like breathing and other automatic bodily functions, circulation is something we seldom think about. When it is properly functioning, the circulatory system is like a smooth flowing highway. Traffic moves efficiently, delivering drivers to destinations in a timely manner.

A similar process occurs in the body. Blood moves through the heart, lungs, arteries and veins, providing the cells with life-sustaining oxygen and nutrients while removing carbon dioxide and other waste products. But if blood flow is obstructed, every cell in the body is affected. Symptoms of poor circulation run the gamut, from brain fog, numbness and burning or tingling sensations in toes or fingers to pain in the legs when walking, shortness of breath, fatigue and chilliness, especially in the extremities. Circulatory problems also contribute to serious health disorders, like high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack.

Healthy circulation can be obstructed by inflammation or accumulations of plaque and by fatty deposits or clots in blood vessels. A sedentary lifestyle, excess weight, smoking and a poor diet can harm circulation, too. So do a long list of health issues, including peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).

First Stop: The Doctor`s Office

A thorough physical examination is the best way to diagnose circulatory disorders. Many times, simple lifestyle changes, taking up regular moderate exercise for example, work wonders for circulation. Exercise can also strengthen the heart, help lower blood pressure and relieve stress, all of which provide circulation with an additional boost.

If your physician has given the go-ahead to get moving, but you are having trouble starting or sticking with -- an exercise program, here are a few suggestions that could help:

* Exercise first thing in the morning so you can enjoy the feeling of accomplishment;
* Break up the 30 to 45 minutes daily dose into ten- to fifteen-minute long sessions throughout the day;
* Vary your routine to prevent boredom and injuries;
* Join a social group focused on a specific activity, like ballroom dancing, bicycle riding or hiking;
* Remember that doing something even for ten minutes is better than doing nothing.

How Food Affects Circulation

Making dietary changes is a good way to improve circulation. Start by eliminating caffeine, alcohol and soft drinks and avoiding foods that can slow circulation, like those high in sugar, starch and fat. Focus on getting more fiber to reduce unhealthy cholesterol levels. Replace artery-clogging trans fats and saturated fats with `good fats` or omega-3s found in fish and fish oil supplements, olive and grapeseed oils, and the monounsaturated fats found in walnuts and other nuts.

Drink plenty of water. Even slight dehydration can impair circulation by making blood thicker and harder to move through the body. For a bit of flavor, add a wedge of lemon, lime or orange, a slice of cucumber or a splash of juice.

Supplements can provide circulation-friendly nutrients that are difficult to get from food alone. The group known as vitamin B complex, for example, supports healthy circulation. Foods rich in B vitamins include beans, molasses, meat, potatoes, lentils, nutritional yeast and chili peppers. Circulation-stimulating products that combine various helpful nutrients are another option. Your physician can help you choose the ones that are right for you and your body`s particular needs.


McCall DO, McGartland CP, McKinley MC, et al. Dietary intake of fruits and vegetables improves microvascular function in hypertensive subjects in a dose-dependent manner.Circulation. 2009 Apr 28;119(16):2153-60.

Ros E, Nunez I, Perez-Heras A, et al. walnut diet improves endothelial function in hypercholesterolemic subjects: a randomized crossover trial. Circulation 2004 Apr 6;109(13): 1609-14.
VAsil AP, Streltsova NN, Sekisova MA. Effect of omega-3 fatty acids on the serum lipid profile and microcirculation in patients with metabolic syndrome and hypertensive disease. Klin Med (Mosk). 2009;87(4):37-41.

Siri PW, Verhoef P, Kok FJ. Vitamins B6, B12 and folate: association with plasma total homocysteine and risk of coronary atherosclerosis. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 1998 Oct;17(5):435-41.

Digby JE, Lee JM, Choudhury RP. Nicotoctic acid and the prevention of coronary artery disease. Current Opinions in Lipidology. 2009 Aug;20(4):321-6.

About the author

Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D. has specialized in Integrative Medicine for over twenty years, using conventional and natural methods to determine and discover the "root of the cause" in her clinic, Center for New Medicine in Irvine, California, each and every day. Many people come in to the clinic from all over the world with severe chronic illnesses that conventional medical protocols have been unsuccessful treating. She realized early on that she can truly change lives through education as well as treatment protocols.
Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D. and her medical staff strives to look at the whole person while exploring the effects and relationships among nutrition, psychological and social factors, environmental effects and personal attunement. Out of frustration of trying to find the right products to help her patients she formulated the perfectlyhealthy brand of products. All perfectlyhealthy products are clinically tested. For more information on recommended products, please visit www.perfectlyhealthy.net or www.perfectlyhealthy.com.

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