The Network That Fuels Your Entire Body
The health of your heart - and actually of your entire body - depends upon a strong network of blood vessels. From the womb through old age, healthy arteries, capillaries, and veins are essential for optimal functioning of all organs, muscles and nerves. They fuel and cleanse your body in two ways: efficient nutrient delivery (fuel) and removal of toxins (cleanse/detox). Their main job is to deliver more blood flow where needed or constrict to reduce blood flow when necessary.
If your blood vessels don't open or narrow as required, then blood, oxygen, and nutrients can't get to where they're needed, whether it's the brain, the gut, the muscles, or back to the heart. The poor condition of your blood vessels can lead to major illness of the heart, including atherosclerosis (clogged or blocked arteries), as well as varicose veins, aneurysm, and other diseases of veins and arteries in the periphery of the body.
Tips for Maintaining Healthy Blood Vessels
Many of the things you do for the health of your heart are also important for the blood vessels. The entire circulatory system benefits from exercising aerobically every day, reducing stress and negativity, getting sufficient hours of restful sleep, eating a variety of whole foods, and not smoking. Here are ways to maintain healthy blood vessels:
Eat Smart: Eating a variety of colorful fruits and dark green veggies daily provides ample amounts of fiber and Vitamin C, both important to blood vessel resilience. When cooking, use plant-based oils such as coconut, olive, and sunflower. Limit your intake of refined sugars. Opt for wild-caught fish, organic or free-range poultry, and leaner cuts of grass-fed beef. Increase your intake of healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, and seeds.
Stay Calm: Chronic negativity and daily stress take a huge toll on your mind and body, particularly the cardiovascular system. Learn how to achieve inner calm through healthy coping strategies, deep breathing, yoga, meditation, journaling, and aerobic exercise.
Break a Sweat: The most important type of exercise for your circulatory system is aerobic, where you're moving your body rhythmically to increase heart rate, breathing rate, and circulation. You also break a good sweat. When you're in the zone for 30 minutes a day, you've done your heart, mind, and body a world of good.
Supplement Your Diet. Support blood vessel health with key nutrients and herbs, which include resveratrol, Horse chestnut, and Bilberry. Red wine contains resveratrol, which has anti-inflammatory properties, reduces the risk for blood clots, and lowers HDL cholesterol. Bilberry contains potent anti-inflammatory anthocyanidins which contribute to the robust color of many fruits and veggies and have heart-protective properties. The herb Horse Chestnut is well known to support vein health by reducing swelling and inflammation, strengthening the blood vessels and capillaries, and acting as another potent anti-inflammatory.
Start a conversation with your Naturopathic Doctor about steps you can take to support the health of your blood vessels and all of the vital organs they nourish and protect.
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Lpi.OregonState.edu. Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/about
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