WHAT FOODS STRENGTHEN BLOOD VESSELS?
The cardiologist names the most useful products for veins and arteries and lists medicinal herbs that strengthen blood vessels.
WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO STRENGTHEN BLOOD VESSELS?
The circulatory system consists of an intricate network of veins and arteries, the length of which is approximately 100,000 km. Through them, along with blood, oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the organs and tissues of the body, and waste products are removed. In this case, the leg veins work against gravity, returning deoxygenated blood to the heart.
The circulatory system plays a vital role, so it is very important to know which foods strengthen blood vessels in the human body.
WHAT CAUSES ARTERIAL PLAQUES?
The plaque that builds up on the inner walls of the arteries is made up of various substances that circulate in the blood, such as calcium, fat, cholesterol, cellular waste, and fibrin (involved in the blood clotting process). The more plaque, the higher the risk of developing atherosclerosis (narrowing and hardening of the arteries).
As a rule, the causes of damage to the mucous membrane of the arterial walls are:
- High levels of “bad” cholesterol and low “good” cholesterol are the main factors in forming arterial plaques.
- High blood pressure – increases the rate at which arterial plaque builds up and accelerates the hardening of clogged arteries.
- Cigarette smoke – increases the risk of atherosclerosis in the arteries of the heart, legs, and aorta – the largest artery in the body.
- Diabetes or elevated levels of circulating blood sugar that has not yet reached the state of diabetes (for example, in metabolic syndrome).
- Other risk factors: family history, stress, sedentary lifestyle, pregnancy, obesity, and work that requires prolonged sitting or standing.
WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF ARTERIAL PLAQUES AND CLOGGED ARTERIES?
Blockage of arteries in different parts of the body can lead to a variety of diseases, including:
- Coronary artery disease occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries that supply the heart. This can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, and a heart attack.
- The disease of the carotid arteries. They run on both sides of the neck and supply the brain with oxygen. The accumulation of arterial plaque in the carotid arteries can lead to a stroke.
- The disease of peripheral arteries. If plaque forms in the blood vessels that carry blood to the legs, the amount of oxygen delivered decreases. Impaired blood flow can cause pain, numbness, or serious leg infection.
SYMPTOMS OF CLOGGED ARTERIES
In many cases, blocked arteries cause no symptoms until a heart attack or stroke occurs.
But sometimes, especially when an artery is blocked by 70% or more, you may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, weakness or dizziness, nausea, and sweating.
The main symptom is chest pain (angina pectoris). It appears as a result of a decrease in blood flow to the heart due to plaque that forms in the arteries leading to the heart.
Blockage of the arteries in carotid disease can cause the main precursors of a stroke – ischemic attacks. They are accompanied by:
- feeling weak or numb on one side of the body;
- inability to move an arm or leg;
- loss of vision on one side only;
- Slurred pronunciation of words.
About blockage of the arteries in peripheral artery disease can speak:
- leg pain;
- delayed healing of injuries on the legs;
- cold feet;
THE MOST USEFUL PRODUCTS FOR BLOOD VESSELS
Good blood flow depends on proper nutrition. Let’s figure out what you need to include in your diet for the health of arteries and veins and what useful products are for cleaning blood vessels.
Bright vegetables and fruits
When it comes to healthy eating, color matters; add brightly colored fruits and vegetables to your diet – they are rich in bioflavonoids and antioxidants that are good for the heart and blood vessels. Bioflavonoids are phytonutrients that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant color. A variety of bioflavonoid rutin has long been used to improve circulation. There is a lot of it in apples and citrus fruits.
Leafy greens promote the formation of red blood cells, which circulate oxygen. Spinach, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts contain omega-3 fatty acids and powerful antioxidants that strengthen and protect blood vessels from the damaging effects of free radicals.
Spices have been used medicinally for thousands of years. For example, turmeric, widely used in India, is a powerful anti-inflammatory and helps prevent the hardening of the arteries. And cayenne pepper stimulates circulation, helping to maintain blood flow and promoting healthy circulation.
A high-fiber diet can help maintain cholesterol levels, which are inextricably linked to healthy veins and arteries. Choose whole grains, fruits, and vegetables as snacks instead of salty chips or sugary candies.
Blood plasma consists of 93% water. Therefore, for the circulatory system’s health, you should drink 30 ml of water per 1 kg of body weight daily for lactating women – at least 16 glasses per day.
VITAMINS FOR BLOOD VESSELS
Even if your diet contains all the best foods for blood vessels, sometimes this is not enough, and you need to take vitamins.
Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Niacin improves circulation and reduces inflammation. It is rare to be deficient as it is naturally found in many foods: turkey, chicken, peanuts, mushrooms, green peas, etc. Before taking niacin supplements, consult your doctor, as an overdose of this vitamin is dangerous.
A lack of ascorbic acid can lead to the formation of plaques on the walls of arteries that impede blood flow. Vitamin C is abundant in citrus fruits and broccoli.
Vitamin K produces matrix proteins Gla-protein (MGP), which help prevent the calcification of the heart’s arteries and the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.
In a Dutch observational study of 564 postmenopausal women, dietary intake of menaquinone (NOT phylloquinone) was inversely related to coronary artery calcification. There is a lot of vitamin K in greens: parsley, chard, watercress, and spinach.
Vitamin E is necessary for the health of blood vessels; it promotes their expansion, prevents blood clotting, inhibits platelet aggregation (platelets sticking together), and helps lower blood pressure. It is abundant in wheat germ oil, hazelnut, sunflower, almond, and safflower oils.
Rutin (vitamin P)
It has an antioxidant effect and, together with vitamin C, regulates the production of collagen, which has a beneficial effect on the condition of blood vessels, protects against atherosclerosis, and normalizes blood pressure.
Vitamin D affects the functioning and regeneration of heart muscle cells and vascular muscle cells, the renin-angiotensin system (a system of hormones regulating blood pressure), the absorption of calcium ions by vascular endothelial cells, and the elimination of inflammation in the walls of arteries. Rich in vitamin D: salmon, sardines, herring, egg yolk.
7 FOODS THAT ARE GOOD FOR BRAIN VESSELS
The main cause of strokes is the fragile vessels of the brain. Their natural wear and tear are especially facilitated by a diet high in cholesterol, salt, trans fats, and other harmful compounds.
You can improve the condition of the vessels of the head and reduce the risk of stroke thanks to the following products:
- Nuts – normalize the salt balance of plasma, and contain vitamin K and other vitamins.
- Dried fruits (dried apricots, dates, prunes) – dried apricots contain a lot of vitamin A, which is useful for the epithelium of the walls of blood vessels, and prunes and dates contain vitamin P.
- Lemon – helps to reduce the level of “bad” cholesterol in the blood, thus cleansing the blood vessels.
- Beets – also lower the level of “bad” cholesterol and cleanses the blood.
- Honey helps restore the blood’s biochemical composition, remove toxins from the plasma, and lower the level of “bad” cholesterol.
- Green tea – has a beneficial effect on the tone of cerebral vessels and expands them, improving blood flow.
- Dark chocolate – contains flavanol, which improves blood circulation in the brain.
WAYS TO STRENGTHEN BLOOD VESSELS
Vascular foods play an important role, but several other rules must be followed to keep veins and arteries healthy.
Add physical activity to your life.
Without physical activity, the legs will begin to swell or hurt, and signs of venous disease will appear. Excessive weight gain stretches the blood vessels in the lower body.
Cardio exercises such as walking, cycling, swimming, and yoga promote healthy blood flow, strengthening, and elasticity of the veins.
Remember that stretching improves blood circulation, has a preventive effect on veins and arteries, and reduces the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
If you have a sedentary job, get up every 30 minutes, and take a walk in the park at lunchtime or in the evening.
Everyone knows that smoking damages the lungs but also the veins and arteries. Tobacco smoke, getting into the blood, quickly spreads throughout the body, and oxygen is replaced by carbon monoxide. As a result, organs and tissues experience a lack of oxygen. At the same time, resins and other toxic substances, interacting with platelets, make them more “sticky” to the walls of capillaries, which causes blood clots and increases the risk of developing myocardial infarction or stroke.
Monitor your blood pressure
Whether you have hypertension or not, keep your blood pressure under control. Low blood pressure can cause circulation problems, while high blood pressure can strain the venous and arterial valves, causing them to weaken.
Pay attention to your feet.
If your legs are swollen at the end of the day, lift them and lie down in this position. It makes sense to wear special compression stockings if you have poor circulation or stand for long periods at work (teachers, nurses, restaurant and factory workers, hairdressers, and flight attendants).
MEDICINAL HERBS FOR VASCULAR HEALTH
Medicinal herbs have some properties that positively affect vascular health and blood circulation. They can be shown to some patients not as the main method of treatment but only as an addition to medical preparations and only as directed and under the strict supervision of a physician.
Horse chestnut seeds
Aesculus hippocastanum has a long history of oral and external use in vascular conditions, including varicose veins. The active component of horse chestnut – escin – improves blood circulation, “seals” leaking capillaries, and increases the elasticity of veins, reducing inflammation and swelling. Be aware that horse chestnut can cause side effects. Raw horse chestnut seeds are toxic and should not be eaten. Topical application is generally safe and promotes the healing of venous leg ulcers.
Butcher’s broom (prickly needle)
Root and rhizome (Ruscus aculeatus) have the same effect as horse chestnut seeds but are safer. Butcher’s broom can be taken as a tincture or tablet with meals or applied topically.
Witch hazel bark contains powerful astringent tannins that reduce inflammation and improve blood vessel integrity. The bark is unsafe for internal use, so witch hazel is used topically as an alcoholic extract or decoction applied as a bath or compress.
Blue and purple berries
Flavonoid pigments, anthocyanidins, and anthocyanins gently tone blood vessels, make them less fragile, support blood circulation, and reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. These berries primarily include blueberries and dark purple grapes.
Buckwheat contains a lot of routines. Therefore, for the health of blood vessels, it is recommended to regularly eat buckwheat or brew tea with raw or roasted dry cereals.
Gotu kola (Centella Asiatica)
Gotu kola strengthens the walls of blood vessels and activates cerebral circulation and oxygen supply to the brain, thereby improving memory, thinking, and reaction speed. Gotu kola has a beneficial effect on blood circulation in the limbs, reduces the permeability of the vascular walls, prevents varicose veins, and eliminates swelling.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
The leaves and flowers of this field plant have a wide range of medicinal properties, but yarrow is best known for its effect on the blood. It stops bleeding wounds and, at the same time, improves blood circulation. This herb has long been used in folk medicine to treat vascular conditions, including varicose veins, slow circulation, and hemorrhoids.
WHAT CAUSES ARTERIES TO CLOG
Healthy blood vessels provide organs and tissues with the constant blood flow they need to function. Since proper nutrition is of great importance for the normal functioning of the circulatory system, it is important to know what foods clog the vessels.
Eating foods high in sodium negatively affects blood vessels. Sodium retains water in the body. Because of this, blood volume increases, and blood pressure rises. High blood pressure puts more stress on the arteries and can damage small blood vessels, such as those found in the kidneys. Limit the consumption of processed and fast food – they contain a large amount of salt. Do not exceed 2300 mg of sodium per day; if you have high blood pressure and are over 51, then no more than 1500 mg.
Nitrates (chemical preservatives) also damage blood vessels. Nitrate intake increases the risk of atherosclerosis. These plaques constrict blood vessels, preventing blood flow and making artery walls more fragile and more susceptible to damage. Nitrates are high in processed meats such as bacon, sausages, etc.
Trans fats (“bad” fats, saturated) are produced by a chemical process called hydrogenation. They increase LDL cholesterol (the bad type of low-density cholesterol) in the bloodstream, clog blood vessels, promote atherosclerosis, and lower beneficial HDL. Avoid fatty meats such as pork, steaks, or poultry served with skin on, fatty dairy products, sausages, and processed foods.
Using foods high in cholesterol adversely affects the condition of blood vessels. Cholesterol is abundant in animal products such as eggs, shellfish, and meat.
A healthy circulatory system is a key to good health. Eat as many plant foods as possible, remember which foods clog blood vessels, and be sure to move a lot. Monitor your blood pressure, and immediately contact a cardiologist if the above symptoms appear.