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12 Foods That Can Improve Circulation

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health cover, explores 12 foods that can improve circulation.


“The circulatory system, or the cardiovascular system, is a complex network of organs and blood vessels that transports blood, oxygen, nutrients, and waste products throughout the body,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.


“The primary components of the circulatory system include the heart, blood vessels, and blood itself.”

Importance of Good Circulation

Good circulation is crucial for the following reasons:

  • Cell Function: Efficient circulation ensures all cells have enough oxygen and nutrients to operate correctly.


  • Heart Health: Proper circulation reduces the strain on the heart, lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes.


  • Temperature Regulation: Circulation helps regulate body temperature by distributing heat evenly.


  • Wound Healing: Adequate blood flow to injured areas promotes faster healing and tissue repair.


  • Detoxification: Efficient circulation supports the body’s natural detoxification by removing waste and toxins.


  • Muscle Function: Muscles require a steady blood supply to function correctly, making circulation essential for physical performance.


Signs of Poor Circulation

Recognising the signs of poor circulation is essential for early intervention and preventing potential complications. Common symptoms include:


  • Cold Extremities: Persistent cold hands and feet can indicate restricted blood flow to these areas.


  • Numbness and Tingling: Reduced circulation may cause a tingling sensation or numbness (pins and needles).


  • Swelling: Swollen ankles and legs may result from poor circulation, as blood and fluid accumulate in the lower extremities.


  • Fatigue: Reduced oxygen supply to cells can lead to unexplained fatigue and weakness.


  • Slow Healing: You might have wounds, cuts, or bruises that take longer than usual to heal.


  • Skin Changes: Skin discolouration, such as pale or bluish skin.


  • Varicose Veins: Sometimes, your veins can be enlarged and visible, particularly in the legs.

The Role of Diet in Improving Circulation

Certain foods can help enhance blood flow, reduce inflammation, and support cardiovascular health. Here are 12 foods that can improve circulation:



Strawberries, cherries, blackberries, mulberries, blueberries, and raspberries are highly antioxidants, particularly flavonoids, which can enhance circulation by lowering inflammation and oxidative stress in blood vessels. They also increase nitric oxide synthesis, a chemical that relaxes blood arteries and improves blood flow.


Fatty Fish

Omega-3 fatty acid-rich fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, can decrease blood pressure and minimise the risk of blood clots.


Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits, such as oranges, naartjies, limes, lemons, and grapefruits, are abundant in vitamin C, which helps blood vessels work correctly.


Leafy Greens

Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are excellent sources of nitrates, which can enhance blood flow by relaxing blood vessels and improving arterial elasticity. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals that support overall cardiovascular health.



Garlic has been known for its medicinal properties for centuries. It contains allicin, a compound that can help relax blood vessels and reduce blood pressure, leading to improved circulation and a reduced risk of heart disease.



Almonds, pistachios, cashews, pecans, and walnuts are rich in healthy fats, fibre, and antioxidants, contributing to better cardiovascular health. The unsaturated fats in nuts can also help reduce harmful cholesterol levels and improve blood vessel function.


Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (70% or more) contains flavonoids that can improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.



Beets contain a high concentration of nitrates, which the body converts to nitric oxide. This substance relaxes blood arteries while increasing blood flow.



Turmeric contains curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory ingredient that can help decrease inflammation and enhance blood vessel function.



Ginger has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties, including its ability to improve circulation. It can help reduce blood pressure, relax blood vessels, and reduce inflammation.



Watermelon is high in citrulline, an amino acid. Citrulline can increase nitric oxide synthesis, which improves blood flow and circulation.


Green Tea

Green tea contains catechins, which have been demonstrated to enhance blood vessel function and lower the risk of blood clots.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health coverage provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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