Heart disease and related conditions that cause restriction of the blood vessels are a huge problem in the United States---one person dies of heart disease every 34 seconds. Because restricted blood vessels are such a health risk, it's a good idea to eat foods that keep your blood vessels open, all of which is easier than you might think.
Chemicals in the body control whether a blood vessel constricts or dilates. The primary chemical associated with blood vessel dilation is nitric oxide; more nitric oxide usually means dilation of blood vessels. One particular amino acid, arginine, is used in the production of nitric oxide, so eating foods rich in arginine can keep your blood vessels from becoming restricted.
Foods that contain high amounts of arginine include beans, salmon, walnuts and oats. As a bonus, many of these foods contain omega-3 fatty acids and "good" fats that are known to reduce bad cholesterol, or LDL.
Flavonoids are antioxidant pigment compounds found in plants. These powerful agents prevent cell damage and help strengthen the blood vessels in the body. The stronger the vessels are, the easier it is for them to open and stay that way.
To get flavonoids, eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables such as lettuce, garlic, onion, cranberries, oranges and asparagus. Certain herbs, such as basil, contain high levels of flavonoids, as do most teas. If all those fruits and veggies leave you feeling deprived, treat yourself to a piece of dark chocolate, which is also dense in this antioxidant.
Eat warm or hot foods, which heat the blood; this warm blood then travels to the hypothalamus, the body's thermostat. The body "thinks" it is too warm, and consequently the message is sent to the blood vessels to dilate in order to get rid of the excess heat. This means that virtually any food can help open your blood vessels if it is eaten hot, provided that the chemical compounds in the food don't promote constriction so much that this thermal effect is overridden.
Foods to Avoid
If you don't want to counter the effects of your warm flavonoid- and arginine-rich foods, stay away from foods that have a high sodium content. Also avoid bananas, cheese, pork, turkey and foods that are pickled. These foods have other nutrients that are good for you, so don't completely ditch them, but be aware of their effect on your cardiovascular system.
What Is a Blood Vessel Spasm?
Blood vessel spasms occur when small vessels in the body, usually in the extremities such as toes and fingers, narrow and constrict,...
Supplements That Dilate Blood Vessels
Supplements and prescription drugs that dilate blood vessels are called vasodilators. Vasodilators relax muscles that press against blood vessels, thereby allowing those...
Food for Healthy Blood Vessels
Healthy blood vessels are important so the heart does not need to work as hard to pump blood. Flexible and elastic blood...
Supplements That Strengthen Arteries & Blood Vessels
Plaque damages arteries, causing blood cells to mobilize at the site of the plaque and attempt restoration. This causes inflammation, resulting in...
Natural Blood Vessel Enlargement
Natural health and body-building enthusiasts frequently use natural hemodilators, or supplements to dilate blood vessels. These products may be useful in the...
How to Dilate Blood Vessels
When your blood vessels dilate, the walls of your arteries impede the muscles from constricting and the walls from thinning. This allows...
How to Remove Plaque In Arteries
Removing plaque in arteries is crucial to living a long and healthy life. Arterial plaque buildup contributes greatly to increased risks for...
How to Remove Plaque From Blood Vessels Naturally
Our bodies have different types of blood vessels -- namely, arteries, veins and capillaries. Arteries carry oxygen and nutrients to the body,...
Foods That Dialate Blood Vessels
Vasodilation or blood vessel dilation is an effective and safe method to improve blood circulation, increase blood flow to certain parts of...
Blood Vessel Reaction to Heat
Blood vessels react to heat by dilating and creating an increase in blood flow to the affected area. Avoid putting heat on...
Meditation to Lower Blood Pressure
Meditation can actually help lower blood pressure through its ability to relax the body, allowing blood vessels to expand for easier circulation....