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Improve your Circulation by Rebecca Speechley

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Chilly extremities can be a real nuisance and make life miserable as the weather turns colder. 

You’re more prone to circulation problems if you spend a lot of time sitting, have high cholesterol, blood pressure issues or diabetes. For toasty hands and feet you need a good supply of blood, oxygen and nutrients.

And cold toes aside – it’s worth making an effort to get things moving because people who have good blood flow to the very smallest blood vessels live longer according to Italian researchers.

Move more
Exercise is one of the quickest ways to improve your circulation and for the best results, try what’s known as interval training. Scientists at the University of Leeds found combining bursts of high intensity exercise with shorter periods of more restful activity helps to improve the health of your blood vessels.

If you like to walk, try strolling at your normal pace for a few minutes then stepping it up a gear for up to 30 seconds before returning to your normal speed. Repeat for 30 minutes.

Mini Massage
You can ease the pain and numbness of cold hands and feet with a bit of a massage. Firmly stroke the back of your hand from your fingers to your wrists. Then use your thumb to squeeze your hand all over, concentrating on your palms.

With one hand on top and one under your foot, rub backwards and forwards to get the blood flowing. Gently squeeze each toe. Regularly roll your wrists and ankles and clench the muscles in your arms and legs to stimulate blood flow.

Eat up
Any foods that are good for your heart could help improve circulation. A Mediterranean-style diet is the gold standard for heart health so pack your plate with wholegrains such as brown rice and oats, plenty of fresh fruit and veg, oily fish, beans and pulses, lean meats, nuts, seeds and olive oil. Drink a cup of anti-oxidant rich green tea for even more of a boost.

Smoking narrows your arteries which could limit the blood supply to your hands and feet so try to give up.

Quick Fixes (alongside pictures of the products)

Fruitflow+ Omega 3 £15.95 / 30 caps has been shown to have similar blood thinning and circulation boosting effects as a daily dose of aspirin. Available from www.fruitflowplus.com/buy

Pukka Three Ginger Tea £2.49 / 20 tea sachets has ginger, galangal and tumeric, which is thought to help unclog arteries and improve blood flow. Available from Tesco.

Padma Circosan £16.95 / 60 caps is a traditional herbal remedy with active ingredients and essential oils to ease inflammation and stimulate circulation. From health shops.

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