Image of a person picking up an orange from an orange plant.

18 best foods for blood flow & circulation.

Whether you are trying to address the symptoms of poor circulation or improve circulation for athletic performance, the following foods will help get your blood pumping.†

Medical illustration vasodilation in the veins.


A brief science lesson..

To improve blood flow naturally, we are going to focus on the production of a single gas - Nitric Oxide.

Nitric Oxide, when produced, signals a vasodilatory effect.

Vasodilation is the process through which our blood vessels and arteries expand, allowing more blood to flow at a lower blood pressure.

To improve blood flow naturally, we need to produce MORE Nitric Oxide.

Nitric Oxide is produced when the nitric oxide synthase enzyme converts L-Arginine into L-Citrulline and Nitric Oxide.

This process requires several cofactors to be catalyzed (started).

What all of this science means, is that in order to improve blood flow, we need to focus on 4 areas:

  1. Increase our supply of L-Arginine and L-Citrulline

  2. Increase Nitric Oxide Synthase activity

  3. Increase the stability of Nitric Oxide

  4. Increase our supply of the involved cofactors

Phew! With the science out of the way, let's get into how to accomplish all 4 of the above, using foods you can find at the grocery store.

Image with all 4 foods shown (Garlic, Beef, Eggs, Crustaceans))


4 foods that contain L-arginine.

  1. Garlic: Garlic is great for boosting circulation due to its allicin content, which helps to relax and widen blood vessels, improving blood flow. It also possesses antioxidant properties that protect blood vessels and reduce arterial plaque. Garlic is a good source of L-arginine, an amino acid that further aids vasodilation and enhances circulation.

  2. Beef: Beef supplies iron for healthy blood and oxygen transport and is also a source of L-arginine. This contributes to improved blood flow by aiding in the production of nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes blood vessels. Plus, the B vitamins in beef support cardiovascular health.

  3. Eggs: Eggs are beneficial for circulation thanks to their B vitamins and choline content, which help maintain healthy blood vessels. They are also a source of L-arginine, enhancing their role in promoting good blood flow and overall cardiovascular health.

  4. Crustaceans (like shrimp, crab, and lobster): This seafood is known for improving heart health and blood circulation and contains L-Arginine. This amino acid aids blood vessel relaxation and improves blood flow.

By consuming additional L-Arginine through our diets, we can directly increase the plasma arginine levels in our blood.

Image with all 4 foods shown (Watermelon, Pumpkins, Cucumbers, Squash))


4 foods that contain L-citrulline.

  1. Watermelon: This refreshing fruit is a fantastic source of L-citrulline, an amino acid that helps boost blood circulation. L-citrulline is converted into L-arginine in the body, producing nitric oxide, a key player in vasodilation (the widening of blood vessels). This process helps improve blood flow and reduces blood pressure.

  2. Pumpkins: Pumpkins are not just for pies; they're also rich in L-citrulline. This nutrient contributes to better blood flow by supporting the body's ability to produce nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels. Regular consumption of pumpkins can be a tasty way to support heart health and circulation.

  3. Cucumbers: Cucumbers might be mostly water, but they're also a good source of L-citrulline. This makes them helpful in promoting vasodilation and improving blood circulation. Adding cucumbers to your diet can be a simple and hydrating way to support your cardiovascular system.

  4. Squash: Squash, including both summer and winter varieties, contains L-citrulline. This amino acid aids in better blood circulation by helping the body produce more nitric oxide, thus ensuring your blood vessels are relaxed and blood flow is enhanced.

Consuming L-citrulline has actually been shown in research to consistently increase your plasma L-Arginine levels more than consuming L-arginine directly. This is likely due to the poor absorption rate of L-arginine in the body, making L-citrulline much more effective for boosting Nitric Oxide levels.

Image with all 3 foods shown (Beets, Pomegranates, Radishes)


3 foods that contain dietary nitrates.

  1. Beets: Beets are a powerhouse of dietary nitrates, converted into nitric oxide in the body. This nitric oxide helps to widen and relax blood vessels, enhancing blood flow and lowering blood pressure. Regularly including beets in your diet can be a delicious way to boost your heart health and improve circulation.

  2. Pomegranates: Pomegranates are not only delicious but also rich in dietary nitrates. These nitrates support nitric oxide production, aiding in the relaxation and dilation of blood vessels. This can lead to improved blood flow and reduced risk of vascular complications, making pomegranates an excellent choice for cardiovascular health.

  3. Radishes: Radishes are often overlooked but are excellent sources of dietary nitrates. These nitrates help produce nitric oxide, a crucial component for maintaining the flexibility of blood vessels and promoting better circulation. Adding radishes to your diet can be an effective way to support your circulatory system naturally.

Nitrate (NO3) and nitrite (NO2) are inactive byproducts of nitric oxide metabolism (breakdown). Recent findings have shown that nitrates/nitrites can be recycled in the body back into biologically active nitric oxide. Consuming foods dense in nitrates is an effective method of increasing nitric oxide levels.

Image with all 3 foods shown (Citrus Fruits, Citrus Juices, Tomatoes)


3 foods that contain Vitamin C.

  1. Citrus Fruits (like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits): Citrus fruits are well-known for their high Vitamin C content. This essential nutrient is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the health of blood vessels by combating free radicals. Vitamin C also plays a role in collagen production, which is crucial for maintaining the integrity and elasticity of blood vessels, thus promoting better circulation.

  2. Citrus Juices: Freshly squeezed juices from citrus fruits, packed with Vitamin C, offer similar benefits. They help in strengthening blood vessel walls and improving their elasticity, facilitating better blood flow. However, it's important to consume these juices in moderation due to their high natural sugar content and to opt for freshly squeezed over store-bought varieties when possible.

  3. Tomatoes: Often considered a culinary vegetable, tomatoes are technically fruits and are another excellent source of Vitamin C. This nutrient aids in ensuring the health and flexibility of the arterial walls, enhancing blood flow. Tomatoes also contain lycopene, another antioxidant that works alongside Vitamin C to support circulation.

Vitamin C acts as a very potent antioxidant in the body and can significantly reduce oxidative stress in the body.  This can result in less vasoconstriction due to less stress. Vitamin C has also been shown to help preserve the activity of the nitric oxide synthase enzyme.

Medical illustration of a white fat cell


3 foods that support nitric oxide synthase activity.

  1. Garlic (deserves a repeat): Known for its myriad health benefits, garlic is particularly effective in enhancing nitric oxide synthase activity. This enzyme is crucial for producing nitric oxide, a key molecule in regulating blood flow and blood vessel dilation. The sulfur compounds in garlic, such as allicin, stimulate the production of nitric oxide, thus helping to improve circulation and lower blood pressure.

  2. Red Wine: Enjoyed in moderation, red wine can benefit circulatory health. It contains antioxidants like resveratrol and flavonoids, which are known to stimulate nitric oxide synthase activity. This increases nitric oxide levels, helping relax and widen blood vessels for better blood flow. However, it's important to consume red wine responsibly, as excessive consumption can have adverse health effects.

  3. Pomegranate (deserves a repeat): Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants, including punicalagin and nitrates, that boost nitric oxide synthase activity. This results in higher nitric oxide levels, improving blood vessel health and circulation. Therefore, regular consumption of pomegranate or its juice can be a tasty way to support heart health and blood flow.

Although the mechanism behind this isn’t very clear, increasing the stability and/or productivity of the nitric oxide synthase enzyme increases nitric oxide levels in the body.

Top down photograph of cocoa.


1 food that supports nitric oxide stability.

Cocoa: Cocoa, especially in its dark and less processed forms, is rich in flavonoids, specifically epicatechin. These compounds are known to enhance the stability and bioavailability of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is a critical molecule for vascular health, helping to relax and dilate blood vessels, thus improving blood flow and reducing blood pressure. The flavonoids in cocoa help protect nitric oxide from oxidative degradation, thereby prolonging its effects on the circulatory system. This makes cocoa a beneficial choice for supporting cardiovascular health and enhancing circulation.

Nitric Oxide is a gas, so it is very unstable and typically only lasts for a few seconds before it is broken down.  By increasing the stability of Nitric Oxide we can increase the number of cells which receive a signal from Nitric Oxide and thereby increase its effectiveness.

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REDWOOD: Support circulatory health naturally.

5 Natural Ingredients to Support Healthy Blood Flow.

Your circulatory system is one of the few bodily systems that touches virtually every inch of the human body. Maintaining normal, healthy blood flow is key to the proper function of so many processes - how else do you think nutrients from the food you eat are transported around?

REDWOOD can help support the health of your circulatory system by employing 5 key natural ingredients shown to support better blood flow.

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