Thanks to long hours chained to desks and cars due to traffic jams, many of us end up becoming one with our couches once we finally get home, then drag our tired behinds to bed and repeat it all over again the next day. Over the long run, this sedentary lifestyle can lead to poor blood circulation which manifests itself through symptoms such as swelling in the calves, ankles and feet; cold hands and feet; fatigue; dizzy spells; cramps; blotchy skin and poor memory.
Symptoms of Poor Circulation:
- Cold hands, feet, fingers and toes
- Feeling numb in certain parts of the body especially the extremities
- Feeling tired or having a lack of energy much of the time
- Having regular dizzy spells
- Swelling and water retention especially in the feet
- Cramps or pins and needles
- Feeling short of breath at times
- Skin feels dry even though drinking plenty of water
- Blotchy or blemished skin
- Poor memory
- Poor concentration
How to Improve Your Blood Circulation
Left untreated, poor blood circulation can worsen and lead to various health complications associated with heart attacks, stroke, high blood pressure, aneurysms, kidney damage, etc.
To improve your blood circulation, it must involve lifestyle and dietary changes. Since the major cause of poor circulation is a sedentary lifestyle, getting regular physical activity is important to increase blood flow around the body.
When you are working at your desk, make a note to get up and move around every hour. Do some simple stretching in the office in between work. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Try to get at least 20 minutes of exercise three times a week. Exercises like walking or yoga are great for improving circulation. Alternative treatments like reflexology, acupuncture and massage may also help.
Diet-wise, there are a number of brilliant herbs which have been shown to have a great effect at improving circulation. Circarol, a dietary supplement from Korea, is specially formulated to boost blood circulation with a unique formulation containing extracts of gingko biloba, hawthorn berry, lemon balm and garlic oil. The use of these herbs are established and proven throughout history.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) – According to the US National Institutes of Health, most of ginkgo biloba’s medicinal effects relate to its efficacy as a circulatory enhancer. Compounds in ginkgo leaf appear to dilate blood vessels, thereby increasing blood flow to the legs, ears, eyes and brain. Improved blood flow to brain has been shown to improve memory, concentration and focus.
Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha) – Contains powerful antioxidants named flavonoids which exert many beneficial effects on the heart and blood vessels, including stabilising the blood pressure, improving coronary artery blood flow as well as blood flow to the extremities, strengthening the contractions of heart muscles and widening blood vessels close to the surface of the skin.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) – Considered a calming herb, the use of lemon balm dates back at least 2,000 years. It has been shown to have an anti-viral and soothing effect on muscles. Its healing and restorative powers help to improve circulation. This herb is useful when nervousness or depression affect the heart, causing heart pains, palpitations or irregular heartbeat.
Garlic (Allium sativum) Oil – Research has shown that garlic is good for the heart as it contains compounds which react with red blood cells and produce hydrogen sulphide which relaxes the blood vessels, keeping blood flowing easily. This, in turn, reduces blood pressure, allowing the blood to carry more oxygen to essential organs and reducing pressure on the heart. Garlic also aids in lowering cholesterol production in the liver.