14 August, 2017
Foods for the Circulatory System
The circulatory system includes your heart and the blood vessels. The job of the circulatory system is to transport oxygen to your cells and carbon dioxide away from them. Heart disease is a disease of the circulatory system that afflicts more than 83 million adults living in the United States, the American Heart Association reports. Consuming healthy foods for the circulatory system can help boost the health of your crucial circulatory system.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain a number of nutrients that promote the health of the circulatory system, Harvard School of Public Health reports. They note that the antioxidants in dark- and bright-colored fresh fruits and vegetables such as eggplant, bell peppers and broccoli protect your heart and blood vessels from damage. They add that a fruit and vegetable-rich diet can help prevent and treat high blood pressure. High blood pressure puts strain on your circulatory system, increasing the risk of injury.
Green tea is rich in compounds known as tea polyphenols which work hard to keep your circulatory system running smoothly. According to the National Institutes of Health green tea can help reduce blood pressure as well as combat high cholesterol. High cholesterol can harm your circulatory system by forming the harmful plaque that leads to heart attacks and strokes.
Almonds and other nuts can boost the health of your circulatory system by providing your body with heart-healthy vitamin E and healthy monounsaturated fats. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant vitamin that reduces oxidation in your blood vessels. Oxidation damages blood vessels, making them more likely to form plaque. Monounsaturated fats are healthy fats that can lower your cholesterol and reduce cardiovascular disease risk, according to the American Heart Association.
Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, sole and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats aid the circulatory system by reducing inflammation -- a harmful process that damages your body's blood vessels. Additionally, the omega-3s in fish can help increase good HDL cholesterol while lowering triglyceride levels, according to a report in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
Foods to Avoid
While there are some foods you should add to your diet to boost the health of your circulatory system, there are also foods you should avoid. Any processed foods such as meats or boxed and frozen dinners should be eliminated from your diet. Harvard Health Publications explains that these foods are loaded with salt and any vitamins and minerals they may contain are stripped out in processing. Canned meats, pastries, sweetened cereals and white breads all fall into this category. Sugary drinks and foods should also be avoided, as they lead to weight gain and excess fat, which put an extra work load on your heart and may cause narrowing of the arteries.
- Circulation: Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics -- American Heart Association 2014 Update: A Report From the American Heart −−
- Harvard School of Public Health: Vegetables and Fruits: Get Plenty Every Day
- Harvard School of Public Health: Vegetables and Fruits
- National Institutes of Health: Green Tea
- American Heart Association: Know Your Fats
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: Your Guide to Lowering Your Cholesterol With TLC
- Harvard Health Publications: Avoid These Foods For A Healthier Heart
- Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images