When blood vessels are loose, relaxed, and wide, good things happen. It means nutrient-rich oxygenated blood can circulate throughout your body. Good circulation means lower blood pressure, less risk for heart disease, and improved overall health.
Your body wants to move blood through as efficiently as possible. You even produce chemicals like nitric oxide to help dilate blood vessels and keep things moving. But you can only do so much on your own.
That’s where natural vasodilators come in.
You may have heard of vasodilators before, but as pharmaceutical medicine. There are a host of foods that act as vasodilators, and research suggests they could be as effective as blood pressure medications—if you’re eating them regularly.
Foods that have vasodilating capabilities work to increase nitric oxide production to boost blood flow. These foods are nearly all vegetables that are high in compounds called nitrates.
It’s possible, however, that you’ve heard of nitrates before, and the news wasn’t good. Sodium nitrates are preservatives added to processed foods and are associated with health risks. They’re generally added to bacon, cold cuts, hot dogs, and other processed meats.
The nitrates in vegetables are different. They are also packaged with plenty of other nutrition that can boost health. Good sources of dietary nitrates to improve vein health include: celery, cress, arugula, spinach, beetroot, lettuce, kale, chard, and more.
One thing to keep in mind is that nitric oxide is a rather sensitive molecule that can degrade very quickly. Antioxidants can help nitric oxide molecules withstand free radicals to keep them intact longer. Including foods like berries, apples, and bell peppers can help.
These are just a couple of ways you can use diet to improve blood pressure, circulation, and vein health. Natural vasodilators are an effective protective measure against high blood pressure and a way to lower the risk of heart disease.
Devon Andre holds a bachelor’s degree in forensic science from the University of Windsor in Canada and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Andre is a journalist for Bel Marra Health, which first published this article.