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How to Increase Blood Circulation to the Limbs

Elizabeth Leighton

Inadequate flow of blood to the limbs can be caused by a number of things such as diabetes or genetic predisposition; however, according to ePodiatry, the main cause of poor circulation is a progressive hardening of the arteries or atheorsclerosis. In this situation, the walls of the blood vessels become smaller over time due to the accumulation of lipids, fibrous tissues and calcium deposits. The resulting plaques restrict the flow of blood, and as a result, the limbs become colder or even numb. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do the help alleviate this condition.

Get more exercise.

Any sort of physical activity, from gardening to walking to dancing, will get your heart pumping and increase the circulation of the blood throughout the body. Begin with ten minutes a day, and gradually work your way up to thirty minutes a day, five times a week.

Place cold hands and feet into warm water and keep them submerged for five minutes. Then place them in cold water for 10 seconds. Repeat this process five times and then place the warmed limbs into cotton gloves and socks that have been warmed in the microwave. This process, outlined on High Blood Pressure Information, is designed to use hot water to bring blood rushing to the surface and then the use cold to send it racing back to the vital organs, increasing circulation in isolated areas.

Add cayenne pepper to your diet.

According to Healing Daily, the capsaicin in the pepper stimulates the circulation of the blood throughout the system. If you're not accustomed to spicy food, begin by adding a pinch to your morning eggs or stir it into a small glass of tomato juice. As you get used to the spice, increase the dosage until you are able to take 1/2 teaspoon per day.

Stop smoking.

Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide. This compound distresses the lining of the blood vessels, enabling fats within the blood to cling to the lining. This leads to a decrease in circulation.

Massage your limbs.

The pressure created by touching the skin not only helps to relieve stress, it encourages the flow of blood and the removal of metabolic wastes which can accumulate in areas of low circulation. 

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