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WHY EXERCISE AND STRESS AFFECTS YOUR BLOOD FLOW – AND WE’RE NOT TALKING MENSTRUAL
by Emma Pritchard
Turns out you should be paying more attention than you, probably, are to blood health.
It’s something we all take for granted but, when it comes to how well your blood is transporting nutrients, oxygen, energy – life! – around your body, having a healthy fluid blood flow is an essential. But, did you know that it can age and it can be heavily influenced by external factors such as how much you exercise, what you eat, stress levels and even the weather?
According to research published today in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, getting to know your blood flow and taking steps to keep it healthy, is a vital step in maintaining cardiovascular health that, for many women, is being forgotten.
“There are three pillars of cardiovascular health,” says Dr Niamh O’K ennedy. “The heart, the blood vessels and the blood itself. People know about cholesterol and blood pressure but there is little information on how to keep your blood and blood flow healthy. But, taking care of it when you’re younger, can ensure they will continue to flow smoothly into old age.”
And it’s not simply women post menopause who need to be concerned about sluggish flow. Sticky platelets that cause clotting can arise at any time. “Platelets are stickier (more active) mid-menstrual cycle, in women who take a contraceptive based on progesterone, and during pregnancy. But they are also programmed to respond to stress, which means they become sticker if there’s too much fat or sugar in the blood, during intense exercise, in sedentary lifestyles and even if it gets too cold. Sticky platelets leave women at risk of thrombosis,” O’ Kennedy says.
So how do you tell whether your blood flow is up to scratch and what do you do if it turns out it needs improving?
“You can’t usually feel your blood flow – so it’s important not to make assumptions about how healthy it is. Getting your blood pressure, blood sugars and cholesterol levels measured will give you a basic idea of what’s going on internally. Or taking a natural and safe supplement such as Fruitflow (as opposed to aspirin), which is based on an active ingredient found in tomatoes known to promote normal blood flow.”