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Blog Post Template - The Lifestyle Guide to Blood Flow

BLOOD FLOW:

The Lifestyle Guide

This is the most complete guide to boosting your blood flow naturally through your lifestyle.

So if you want to:

  • Learn everything you need to know about blood flow
  • See how your cardiovascular system works
  • Increase your blood flow through your lifestyle
  • Boost circulation through your nutrition

Then you'll love the detailed strategies in this guide.

Let's dive right in

Contents

Chapter 1

Defining Blood Flow Terms

Chapter 2

The Physiology of the Cardiovascular System

Chapter 3A

Meditation for Increasing Blood Flow

Chapter 3B

Breathing for Increasing Blood Flow

Chapter 3C

Sociability for Increasing Blood Flow

Chapter 3D

Exercise for Increasing Blood Flow

Chapter 3E

Walking for Increasing Blood Flow

Chapter 3F

Nutrition for Increasing Blood Flow

CHAPTER 1:

Defining Blood Flow Terms

Before we dive into the nitty gritty it is important to have a basic understanding of some of the words I will be using and how they play a part in blood flow, along with having a basic understanding of the circulatory system and how it works.

Taking the time to look at these is going to allow for the greatest possible success when implementing the strategies we will talk about later on in this guide. 

Let’s get into it!

Vasoconstriction

Vasoconstriction is the constriction or narrowing of blood vessels due to the contraction of the muscular wall of the blood vessels. This process is necessary for the preservation of body temperature and blood when hemorrhages occur and when in times of stress. 

Vasoconstriction is the opposite of what we want when we are looking to boost blood flow. It makes it more difficult for blood to get to the extremities and leads to cold fingers and toes among many other things.

Instead we want to make sure that we coax our body in a way that promotes vasodilation.

Vasodilation

Vasodilation is the widening of the diameter of the blood vessels due to the relaxation of the muscular wall of the blood vessels. This leads to less vascular resistance and less stress on the heart to pump blood throughout the body, allowing for more blood to reach all areas of the body.

Nitric Oxide

Within the vasculature, NO induces vasodilation, inhibits platelet aggregation, prevents neutrophil/platelet adhesion to endothelial cells, inhibits smooth muscle cell proliferation, regulates programmed cell death (apoptosis) and maintains endothelial cell barrier function.

Needless to say this is an important molecule that plays a HUGE role in blood flow and circulation.

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide production increases when the oxidative metabolism is increased. This happens due to increased mitochondrial respiration and more water, atp, and CO2 being produced as a result. 

It then gets dissipated into the smooth muscle cells of the blood vessels and results in vasodilation. One of the primary results of this is increased cerebral blood flow, which is something that can be very beneficial when wanting to ensure our brain is working at full capacity. 

CHAPTER 2:

The Physiology of the Cardiovascular System

Next, we'll take a look at how the cardiovascular system employs other internal processes to get your blood moving. Here's what we'll cover:

  • The Role of the Heart
  • The Role of the Liver
  • The Role of the Lungs
  • How Hormones Play a Role
  • Cortisol
  • Estrogen
  • Progesterone
  • Thyroid Hormone

The Role of the Heart

The heart's main function is to propel blood throughout the body. Whenever we have high amounts of vasoconstriction present it puts more stress on the heart, making it work harder to pump blood through the system.

The Role of the Liver

The liver is known as the chemical factory of the body, with over 500 different functions it is an extremely important organ. Within the context of the cardiovascular system, the liver acts like a “filter” taking out different toxins and chemicals from the blood getting them out of the body through the digestive system and urinary system.

The Role of the Lungs

The lung’s main purpose within the context of the circulatory system is to deliver oxygen to the blood and export CO2 from the system.

How Hormones Play a Role

Hormones play a part in every single thing we do on a daily basis, and there is no exception when it comes to the circulatory system. Knowing which hormones are good for blood flow and which ones are not can be beneficial in helping you achieve success in overcoming your challenges with blood flow and increasing the health of your circulatory system.

Cortisol

Cortisol is a hormone that is secreted from the adrenals during times of stress. It is the key stress hormone in the body, and leads to vasoconstriction, and tightening of the blood vessels throughout the body. This is why when you are in a state of stress your fingers and toes become cold.

Cortisol and adrenaline are redirecting the blood away from the extremities (via vasoconstriction) and shuttling it to the muscles and brain to allow you to react and either fight the challenge to come or flight and escape the situation. This is also known as the fight or flight response or the sympathetic state.

Estrogen

Estrogen, contrary to popular belief, is a stress hormone. Estrogen is not the primary female hormone, however, it is necessary for the proper functioning of the body for both genders; it is not the primary female hormone. 

Progesterone is THE female hormone produced at 1000 times the amount that estrogen produced inside the female body. No that was not a typo. There is 1000 times more progesterone than estrogen when looking at the hormonal status of most  healthy women. 

Estrogen, when it comes into the scope of the cardiovascular system, leads to vascular permeability, hence why women during the menstruation period bleed in excess and can even experience nose bleeds. Estrogen is also one of the hormones that are responsible for excessive water retention within the cells. This tends to lead to premature cellular division and a whole host of other nasty things.

When excessive estrogen is in the bloodstream we see increased retention of water in the endothelial cell. This swelling of the endothelial cells leads to less diameter in the blood vessel resulting in a smaller area for blood to flow through, increased blood pressure, and more stress on the heart (vascular resistance). 

When it comes to the health of the heart there are things that are inotropic (increase the power of contraction of the heart) and things that are lusitropic (things that promote relaxation of the heart). Estrogen has a negative relationship with both of these, meaning that it is a negative inotropic and a negative lusitropic hormone, interfering with optimal functioning of the heart whenever it is in excess in the body. 

Progesterone

Progesterone is also known as the hormone of youth. Whenever you see a woman who has recently become pregnant she will more than likely have the “pregnancy glow” and look as if she has aged backward by about five years. 

This is due to the increased amount of progesterone that is being produced because of the pregnancy. Progesterone is protective to the human body in an almost countless amount of ways. For the cardiovascular system progesterone and testosterone work synergistically to antagonize the action of excessive estrogen. 

This is gender apathetic (works the same for both men and women). By decreasing vascular permeability and mitigating endothelial cell fluid retention progesterone allows for free-flowing blood throughout the system. Progesterone also acts by increasing the flexibility of red blood cells to allow them to more easily pass through capillaries.

Progesterone and testosterone both have a positive inotropic and lusitropic function, increasing the health and function of the heart so it can work at its highest possible capability. 

Thyroid Hormone

Thyroid hormone is the main energy regulating hormone that is present within the human body. Without a sufficient amount of active thyroid hormone (t3) being produced the energy production in the body will be downregulated leading to an energy deficit. 

Energy creates order and allows for more complex and abstract functions to take place in the organism, and when the production of energy is hindered it leads to disorder within the organism. 

In the presence of downregulated thyroid hormone production, and conversion the body goes into a hypometabolic state (a state of energy deprivation). During this time of energy deprivation, the body is more susceptible to the influences of stress hormones most commonly estrogen, cortisol, and adrenaline. 

By increasing the production and conversion of thyroid hormone you will increase the availability of energy within the system allowing for higher order functions to take place while down regulating stress hormones and mitigating their detrimental effects. 

CHAPTER 3:

How to Optimize Your Blood Flow

Now it’s time to get into the section where you can begin to take action TODAY. 

Everything from here on is going to be actionable steps that you can start implementing right now to increase vasodilation, lower stress hormones, and boost your blood flow. 

I recommend implementing these slowly over time. Adding 1-2 things at a time is going to allow the habit formation to be much more sustainable in the long run.

Meditation for Increasing Blood Flow

Meditation has been proven time and time again in clinical studies to have a profound ability to lower blood pressure effectively. The psychological component of high blood pressure and poor circulation is overlooked by most people who struggle with this problem. 

Due to the tremendous complexity of the human psyche and the relationship that it has to our physiology, stress has a major impact on our body. Psychological stress manifests itself on the physical level in the body by increasing the various stress hormones that we have talked about. 

Meditation, when utilized correctly, can decrease the impact that negative thought patterns and stressful circumstances have on the amount of stress hormones produced in the body. Some research has even shown that as little as focusing on taking six deep breaths was able to significantly decrease blood pressure and promote vasodilation. 

Some good areas of meditation are transcendental meditation, mindfulness meditation, and focus meditation among others. 

Experiment with different types and find out which one is best for you.

Breathing for Increasing Blood Flow

Breathing is another surefire to ensure that you are effectively lowering the amount of stress hormones that you have and exchanging gas properly in order to increase vasodilation.

 Most people are completely unaware of the way that they are breathing and go throughout their day mildly hyperventilating. This hyperventilation is relaying to the body that it is in a stressful situation promoting stress hormones. 

By focusing on your breath and correcting your breathing patterns you begin to allow your respiratory system to function the way that it is meant to.

This allows for the proper exchange of gas between the lungs and the blood, and begins to tell your body it is not in a state of stress in order to allow for not only optimal circulatory health but contribute to optimal health in general. 

Some good tactics to begin working on your breathing patterns are box breathing (breathing in for 7 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and letting the breath out for 7 seconds) and equal breathing (sama vritti - breathing in for the same amount of time you breathe out). 

Sociability for Increasing Blood Flow

Sociability, for the same reason that meditation is beneficial for decreasing the amount of stress hormones that are present in the body and thus decreasing vascular resistance and promoting vasodilation, plays a beneficial role. 

However, for the introverts who might be freaking out reading this, have no fear. It does not mean that you have to go out and be the center of attention, but finding even one person who you enjoy being around and being present with has been shown to have a massive impact on stress and blood pressure.

Exercise for Increasing Blood Flow

Everyone knows that exercise is beneficial for your health, however most people think that the wrong type of exercise is most beneficial in the scope of cardiovascular health. 

Resistance training is one of the most beneficial things that anyone can do in order to increase all areas of their health. Resistance training slows down the aging process and allows for a more friendly internal environment in the long term, even though that exercise itself is a stressor. 

Resistance training is extremely beneficial for increasing the strength and resiliency of the heart. On the other end of the spectrum, there is endurance training, which has been shown to increase stress hormones and overstress the heart leading to a weakened heart in the long term. This is one of the reasons that endurance athletes have such a slow resting heartbeat. 

Resistance training decreases our body’s susceptibility to injury allowing it to be more resilient against trauma and other forms of shock. So if you have the decision to go run a few miles or do some pull-ups and push-ups I would opt for the latter.

Walking for Increasing Blood Flow

Walking is the most beneficial form of movement that anyone can do, especially if you have the ability to walk out in nature. 

Walking has a significant impact on the hormonal status of the body, allowing for more protective and youth associated hormones to be produced and reducing the amount of stress hormones within the body. 

Walking also regulates many different functions throughout the body. One of the most significant systems that are regulated by walking is the digestive system. Walking for around 45-60 minutes a day allows for proper peristaltic contraction of the intestine helping to move waste through the system and promote proper digestion. 

Walking promotes proper circulation to the lower half of the body helping to get unoxygenated blood back to the heart and lungs to be replenished with nutrients. 

If you have the ability to walk outside in an unknown place this also becomes very beneficial for increasing brain function and helping to promote creativity through different neural patterns being integrated. 

Nutrition for Increasing Blood Flow

Nutrition plays a foundational role in the health of the circulatory system, as well as all other areas of health. Providing the body with the material that it needs in order to support proper hormonal status and a high functioning metabolism is extremely important, and is why we have created an entire course dedicated to this topic called the Thermo Diet. 

The Thermo Diet is built upon the metabolic theory of health and is designed in a way that allows you to eat to support proper hormonal status within the body and alleviate micronutrient deficiencies. The best thing about eating in this way besides the phenomenal health benefits that you experience is the fact that it is absolutely delicious. 

Cutting out foods and other things that block the flow of energy through the body and adding in things that will enhance it is the most ideal approach. At the fundamental level of this way of eating you should eat plenty of nutrient rich carbohydrates (fruits and roots), get in just the right amount of protein from the right sources, and eat adequate amounts of the right type of fats to support hormonal production and cellular repair. 

The biggest thing that you can do right now in terms of nutrition for blood flow is eliminate polyunsaturated fatty acids. There are numerous adverse effects with these type of fats as they are extremely unstable, breaking and down and forming free radicals in the body, and can even lead to metabolic degradation. 

To take an in-depth look at this way of eating check out The Thermo Diet Course.

Conclusion

All of these are extremely easy to implement and can have a massive impact on your ability to improve blood flow and get your body in a healthy state. I hope you enjoyed this post and see an improvement in your blood flow after implementing these. If there is something that you think I missed or something that would like to see on this list feel free to reach out to me in our facebook groups (The Thermo Diet Community Group, The UMZU Community Group) or even on our awesome platform UMZUfit. 

To better blood flow.

Cheers my friends,

Jayton Miller