Your circulatory system is only as healthy as the arteries that carry blood throughout your body. Ideally, your arteries should be flexible, with a smooth, undamaged lining (endothelium) that allows the oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to flow freely. But, over time, heredity, unhealthy habits, and simply growing older can damage arteries. When these arteries become compromised–a condition called atherosclerosis–blood flow can eventually be hindered or even completely blocked.
Atherosclerosis (known as hardening of the arteries) is sneaky, silently developing over many years. It starts when the endothelium becomes damaged. This, in turn, triggers the formation of plaque at the site of the damage. Plaque is a fatty substance made up of cholesterol, calcium, cellular waste, and a blood-clotting material called fibrin that causes endothelial tissue to malfunction.
Over time, plaque accumulates, further damaging the arterial lining and causing the arteries to become narrow and stiff. As it grows, plaque can eventually reduce blood flow to the heart, brain, and other parts of the body. If plaque becomes unstable it can rupture, causing a blood clot to form that can block the artery completely and trigger a heart attack or stroke.
As complicated as the circulatory system is, it’s no wonder things can–and do–go wrong. But by adopting some of the following recommendations, you can prevent, and possibly even reverse some of the damage that eventually may lead to a heart attack, stroke, or peripheral artery disease.
Better Blood Flow: Action Plan
Protecting your circulatory system from harm, especially as you age, is critical to overall cardiovascular health. Yet, over time, plaque can accumulate and block your blood flow. If you’ve been diagnosed with or are at higher risk of atherosclerosis or some other circulatory problem, the following lifestyle changes and supplements can help.
- Add cooked veggies, like asparagus, mushrooms, or spinach, to your morning omelet for an antioxidant-rich high protein breakfast.
- Remove the skin from chicken and turkey to minimize unhealthy, saturated fat.
- Check ingredients labels for hidden salt, sugar, and trans fats.
- Trade in the sugary dessert for a handful of grapes. People in one study experienced better blood flow just three hours after eating the equivalent of one and a quarter cups of grapes. At 60 calories a cup, that’s a pretty sweet deal!
- Try to eat at least one fresh salad each day. Include a variety of leafy greens and raw vegetables for a dish that’s bursting with circulatory supporting nutrients.
- If you work at a desk, take regular breaks every hour and walk around for a few minutes.
- Rent an exercise DVD that features resistance exercises that use your own body weight.
- If painful joints make traditional exercise difficult, try swimming or join a water aerobics class.
- Stretch for a few minutes after your workout, when blood has a tendency to collect in muscles. Stretching helps keep circulation high and speeds muscles recovery.
- Take steps to stop smoking, even if you’ve tried and failed in the past. Tobacco use is the most detrimental thing you can do to your circulatory system.
- Indulge in a massage. Not only does a massage ease stress, it helps move blood through congested areas.
- Discourage plaque buildup while lowering both cholesterol and homocysteine levels by taking a combination of Aged Garlic Extract, B vitamins, and L-arginine. Two capsules of Kyolic Formula 108, taken twice a day with meals, will give you a healthy dose of these artery-loving nutrients.
- Help blood flow freely with a high-quality fish oil supplement like Kyolic Omega-3 that also includes Aged Garlic Extract.
- Support healthy blood pressure by exercising daily, watching your salt intake, and taking Kyolic Formula 109, a synergistic blend of Aged Garlic Extract and nattokinase that may also thin the blood and prevent blood clots.
- Keep your cholesterol (a major component of artery-clogging plaque) under control with a dose of phytosterols like those found in ModuChol. For best results, take one capsule with your two largest meals of the day.
With the above recommendations you can make sure you keep plaque buildup at bay and your circulatory system running smoothly!