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Future Health

Benefits of Blood Flow

May 1, 2017 

An emerging area of health research involves increasing blood flow to the brain and maximizing the heart’s ability to pump oxygen throughout the body. Vasodilation, which is the process of relaxing and expanding the arteries thereby increasing blood flow, can be a key to improved physical and mental agility.


Over the last decade Americans have suffered an increase in cases of atherosclerosis or progressive buildup of plaque in the arteries and blood vessels, which results in a decrease in diameter of the artery walls and therefore an increase in resistance. This translates into higher blood pressure and is a risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and a myriad of other pathology.


Often doctors prescribe medications that improve vasodilation such as Hydralazine and Viagra – these can be prescribed for a number of reasons due to the vast list of health benefits of increasing the blood flow. The benefits include:


  • Increases cognitive processing speed
  • Improves nutrient delivery to body tissues (muscles, organs)
  • Decreases blood pressure
  • Increases muscle fullness and tone


Another example of a nitric oxide medication is nitro glycerin, which is taken as needed during acute cardio episodes, which often present as quick on, quick off angina or chest pain.


But there are ways to improve vasodilation without the use of medications. The most efficient way is to adopt foods into our diets that increase nitric oxide – an important molecule that signals the body to open and relax arteries and blood vessels to promote blood flow.


These foods high in nitric oxide include:

  • Pure cocoa
  • Oranges
  • Pomegranates
  • Dark leafy greens


Another way to increase nitric oxide is to avoid processed foods such as cold cuts.


Improving blood flow to the body has numerous physical performance benefits. These include:

  • Increases energy production
  • Improves recovery
  • Boosts endurance and stamina
  • Improves sexual performance
  • Decreases lactic acid (more efficient metabolism of lactic acid)
  • Reduces the risk for heart attack and stroke
  • May lower the risk for cancer


The American Medical Association recommends that we all give attention to our blood flow in order to maximize our physical and mental performance potential.