How to Improve Circulation to Your Feet
The Arizona Department of Transportation plays a major role in our lives. This branch of our state government is responsible for ensuring that traffic flows smoothly at all times, and improving conditions when this doesn’t happen.
But when it comes to circulation, the responsibility of smooth blood flow falls squarely on our own shoulders. And though you might not think there is much you can do about it, we are here to tell you otherwise!
The truth is there is plenty you can do to help improve circulation to your feet. Exercising and eating healthy foods can certainly go a long way toward keeping that blood flowing and your feet well-nourished. So let’s find out what you should do (and eat) to keep that “traffic” flowing without any jams.
But Why is Good Circulation So Important?
Standing out on a cold winter day often provides a good indication of just how challenging it can be for our bodies to provide circulation to our feet. They are the farthest points on the body from the heart, and given that blood already has to travel a long distance – and fight gravity on the way back – it takes more effort to get oxygen and nutrient-rich blood out to our toes.
In cases of climate or stress, this can mean your feet are one of the first parts of the body to get cold. And if conditions such as diabetes or Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) have already caused a deterioration in circulation, the effects can be even more severe! Reduced blood flow to the feet can result in gradual damage to the nerves and diminished healing of cuts and wounds.
Most seriously, poor circulation in feet can be one of the key underlying contributors to wounds and infections that could even lead to amputation.
The bottom line, however, is that no matter where you are in life, taking steps to improve circulation in your feet definitely counts – and it doesn’t have to be hard, either.
Healthy Habits to Improve Circulation
Here’s some things you can try:
- Keep moving. Exercising regularly (within physician-recommended boundaries, of course) is a great way to increase circulation to the feet. But you don’t have to run a marathon – simply remembering to get up and move a bit every hour or so has positive effects.
- Give your feet a break. Remember when we talked about gravity adding to the challenge of circulation? Whenever you are sitting, put your legs up in a recliner or prop them up on a couple of pillows to ease some of this burden.
- Pamper your feet. Massage your feet with gentle, circular motions, traveling from your heels to your toes. This is also a great opportunity to check your feet for signs of diabetes-related damage.
- Quit smoking. Smoking can wreak havoc on circulation – not to mention all the other negative effects it can have in your overall health. So if you smoke, stop.
- Control blood sugar levels. It also pays to keep blood sugar under control, and a diabetes-healthy diet is a healthy diet for just about everyone – whether you have been diagnosed with this condition or not.
Now, when we talk about sticking to a healthy diet, we’re definitely not trying to take the joy out of your meals. In fact, with a few simple modifications, you can still be satisfied with your diet while also keeping your feet healthy. Which takes us to our next point …
A Healthy (and Delicious) Diet to Improve Circulation
In order to promote healthy circulation, try incorporating these foods into your daily diet:
- When it comes to removing cholesterol from the body, oats belong on the all-star team. Opt for steel-cut and rolled oats rather than instant, and there are also gluten-free options, if this is a concern.
- Citrus fruits. Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and other fruits in this category are natural blood thinners, but they also help prevent plaque from building up on capillary walls.
- Salmon and avocados. These two foods might not seem to have much in common, but both are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids that improve circulation and support your cardiovascular system.
- Raw walnuts and almonds. In addition to improved blood flow, almonds provide Vitamin E (which fights inflammation) and walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids to further boost cardiovascular health. These natural circulation boosters are best enjoyed raw.
- Dark chocolate. It is important to make the distinction between dark chocolate and milk chocolate. Dark chocolate might not be as sweet, but it contains more of the original cocoa bean – the source of the beneficial flavonoids that improve circulation – than milk chocolate. This makes it a great way to add some flavor to a circulation-healthy diet!
Here at Foot & Ankle Clinics of Arizona, we can help you create a dietary plan that capitalizes on the natural benefits of foods like these, and provide additional information about circulatory issues, too. So if you experience cold, tingling, or numbness in your lower limbs, take action before poor circulation creates serious problems in your life.
Simply give our office a call at (480) 917-2300 to schedule an appointment today, or take advantage of our online contact form to have a member of our staff reach out to you.