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10 Ways to Improve Your Blood Health

10 Ways to Improve Your Blood Health

Importance of good blood health

Blood is an essential bodily fluid with critical functions in the body. It transports oxygen from the lungs to cells and tissues while carrying carbon dioxide back to the lungs through exhaling. It also supplies cells with nutrients and hormones, eliminating waste products from metabolism.1

Additionally, blood helps maintain the body’s balance by regulating temperature and helping protect against disease.1

Inside the body, blood flows through a network of blood vessels. Good circulation is essential to ensure a smooth flow of substances that are crucial for proper body functioning.2 When circulation is poor, it can lead to health issues like heart problems, blood clots, swelling, slow-healing wounds, and a higher chance of infections.

Boosting your blood health

Good blood health depends on several factors. Here are some tips on how to keep your blood healthy:

  • Nourish your body

For your blood to function effectively, it needs a mix of vitamins and minerals. Iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12 are essential for producing red blood cells. Iron is present in red meats, poultry, fish, fortified cereals, beans, lentils, and dried fruits. Dark green leafy vegetables, beans, and peanuts are good sources of folic acid. Vitamin B12 is naturally present in animal products and is added to fortified cereals.

  • Limit sodium intake

Too much salt can increase blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart disease. It can also damage organs and tissues like the heart, kidneys, blood vessels, and brain.4 The World Health Organization (OMS) suggests a limit of 2,000 mg of sodium per day for adults.5

  • Stay hydrated

When you drink plenty of water, you help keep your bloodstream liquid enough so it can flow smoothly through your blood vessels. Women should aim for 9 glasses and men for 13 glasses a day.6

  • Exercise regularly
According to a study, when we exercise, hundreds of molecules rise and fall in our bloodstream, making positive changes in our health. These changes include reducing substances linked to insulin resistance, increasing substances associated with fat breakdown, and improving nitric oxide levels, which release blood vessels and improve blood flow.7 To ensure maximal benefit, aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle-strengthening activity each week.

Healthy Diet and Lifestyle 
  • Keep a healthy weight

Those at a healthy weight usually have lower blood pressure, blood sugar, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol than overweight or obese people. Plus, staying at a healthy weight helps steer clear of circulation problems like blood clots.9

  • Manage stress

When you’re feeling stressed, your body releases stress hormones such as cortisol into the bloodstream. This causes the heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to contract, increasing blood pressure. The pressure typically returns to normal once the stress goes away. Yet, if you're constantly stressed, those occasional pressure spikes can damage your blood vessels and heart in the long run. That's why taking steps to ease stress is crucial for keeping your blood and circulatory system in good shape. Techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or just chatting with someone can make a real difference.10

  • Limit alcohol consumption

Alcohol has negative impacts on the blood-building system that are both direct and indirect. Excessive alcohol consumption can damage the blood marrow, blood precursors, and mature red blood cells, white cells, and platelets. Indirectly, alcohol consumption can cause nutritional deficiencies that impair the production and function of blood cells. So, limiting alcohol consumption is a prudent choice when trying to improve your blood health.11

  • Get enough sleep

Sleep is essential to health. Those who don’t get enough sleep are at increased risk of developing various conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.12

  • Get regular checkups

Make sure to get regular check-ups to monitor your blood pressure, check how your heart and vessels are doing, and run tests every now and then to check your blood health.

  • Consider suplements

Various nutrients have been associated with supporting blood health. Examples are iron, vitamin B12, folate, vitamin K, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, magnesium, zinc, and copper. Usually, you get them from food, but if that's not happening, dietary supplements can be helpful.

Takeaway

Looking after your blood health means adopting healthy lifestyle habits and scheduling regular check-ups with your doctor. Always consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any treatment.

 

References

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