Brain blood flow, also known as cerebral blood flow, refers to the blood supply that reaches your brain. It is the blood’s movement through an intricate network of arteries and veins that supply oxygen and vital nutrients to the brain. The arteries deliver oxygenated blood, glucose, and nutrients to the brain and the veins carry the deoxygenated blood back to the heart removing carbon dioxide and other metabolic waste products. Here we will find out the most effective and natural ways to increase blood flow to the brain as well as which vitamins and food items we should prefer for this.
Symptoms of Poor Blood Flow to the Brain
With a steady blood flow, your brain receives an adequate amount of oxygen, glucose, and nutrients. Healthy blood flow is essential for optimal brain functioning and mental health. The human brain consumes 50% of glucose and 20% oxygen available in the body. This is needed for everyday functions like consciousness, coordination, and vision. When the blood flow is hindered, it leads to severe health and cognitive problems. It contributes to a range of physical and mental disorders for the body and impairs life quality.
Low blood circulation can have adverse impacts on the body and its ability to perform various functions. It can lead to several mental issues, from mild to severe. With an adequate blood flow, you can preserve your normal cognitive functions. How do you know if your blood circulation level is optimal? Here are some common symptoms related to impaired cerebral flow or poor blood circulation to the brain:
- Poor focus and reduced concentration
- Sudden difficulty in carrying out daily activities and problems in communication and coordination
- Need for caffeine to energize your brain
- Mood changes, such as depression or anxiety
- Cold nose; feet or hands
- Brain fog and mental fatigue
- Dizziness and light-headedness, also known as vertigo
- Blurred vision
- Numbness on face
- Sudden uncoordinated movements
- Memory loss and sleepiness
Can lack of brain blood flow cause headaches?
Blood circulation directly impacts your brain, and any health issue related to the brain eventually gets impacted. Hence, there is a close connection between headaches and low blood circulation. When there is a barrier between blood flow and the brain, it usually leads to a headache or brain fog. Adequate blood circulation enables energy production in your brain and helps you preserve your cognitive functions. Therefore, it is essential to increase brain circulation to improve your cognitive deficits and counter brain fog.
7 Ways to Increase Blood Flow to the Brain
A steady blood flow delivers life-giving oxygen and nutrients to your brain to survive. We need to nourish our blood cells and keep them healthy. Here are 7 excellent tips to increase your blood flow to the brain:
1) Vitamin intake
Vitamins help regulate glucose transportation to the brain and within it. Several vitamins, minerals, and supplements have positive effects on your body and can improve your blood circulation to the brain. Consider increasing your blood flow through these vitamins supplements to your diet:
- Vitamin E: Foods rich in Vitamin E are essential for blood cells and blood circulation. You can easily add this to your diet by using oils like sunflower, hazelnut oil, and consuming nuts like almonds and cashews. You can also take Vitamin E supplements after consulting your doctor.
- Vitamin B-3: According to a 2012 Study, Vitamin B-3 (also known as Niacin) increases your blood vessel function, thereby improving the blood circulation to the brain. Green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are excellent sources of Vitamin B. It is also available in capsules and powders, which can be taken after consulting with your doctor.
- Iron: It is a known fact that your body needs iron to make hemoglobin, the protein in your blood that carries oxygen. Iron is available in supplements, capsules, red meat, and leafy vegetables, and can be easily added in your regular diet.
2) Eat the right Food
Taking care of your brain can be as simple as consuming foods that increase blood flow to the brain. Foods rich in nitrates like carrots, beets, and other leafy vegetables improve your blood circulation and your cognitive performance. Consider adding these foods in your diet that is very beneficial for your brain:
- Fruits and vegetables: Green leafy vegetables like spinach and coriander are rich in magnesium, which dilate blood vessels and boost blood flow to the brain. By consuming fruits like oranges and blueberries, you can improve your cognitive functioning and protect the brain from oxidative stress.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These play a crucial role in reducing cholesterol and decreasing inflammation, which eventually increases blood flow. By consuming walnuts and flaxseeds, you will be able to fight depression and get to sleep better, thereby protecting your cognitive decline. Moreover, these acids stimulate the blood cells and improve blood circulation to the brain.
With regular exercise, you can keep your blood vessels healthy and increase the blood flow to your brain so that the cells produce more energy. A regular cardiovascular exercise like jogging improves the body’s ability to take in oxygen and improves blood circulation. Yoga is another form of exercise that helps compress and decompress your veins, thereby improving circulation and blood flow. This will keep your cognitive abilities intact and help improve your productivity. Make regular workout part of your morning routine to stay healthy both physically and mentally.
4) Restrict Caffeine
We have always come across the question of whether coffee reduces blood flow to the brain. Well, yes! Increased use of caffeine blocks the adenosine receptors in the brain vessels, consequently impairing brain circulation. It is advisable to restrict caffeine in your diet or consume in periodic breaks to maintain an adequate level. Reduced consumption of caffeine mitigates the effect of poor blood circulation.
5) Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Practicing a healthy lifestyle is one of the key ways to improve your brain's blood flow. While taking supplements and other artificial ways may help, a healthy lifestyle helps in improving blood circulation naturally. By controlling your stress levels, consuming a balanced and nourishing diet, getting regular massages, fluids intake, and quitting smoking can significantly impact your blood cells. Moreover, with a healthy lifestyle, you will be able to maintain your mental acuity, thereby boosting blood cells and adequate blood flow to the brain.
6) Limit Salt and added Sugars
According to a 2010 study too much salt can harden your arteries and increase blood pressure, adversely impacting the blood vessels and reducing blood flow. Similarly, too much sugar can increase blood glucose levels, damage the blood vessels, and lead to a decline in blood circulation. Hence, it is advisable to avoid excessive salt and sugar in your diet.
7) Cold Exposure
Exposing yourself to cold temperatures helps in getting more blood flowing to your brain. Cooling your skin or putting your hand in ice water can significantly increase your brain's speed of blood flow. Cold exposure stimulates the nerves and supports blood flow.
Your brain is one of the most vital organs and needs to be protected with healthy habits. There is enough evidence that reduced blood flow puts you at risk of brain disorder. Hence, follow these essential tips listed above to help increase blood flow to your brain. Be sure to protect your blood cells and stimulate healthy blood flow to the brain by eating the right food, taking adequate vitamins intake, and living a healthy lifestyle.
- Libretexts. (2020, August 14). 18.7D: Blood Flow in the Brain. Retrieved September 11, 2020, from https://med.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Anatomy_and_Physiology/Book:_Anatomy_and_Physiology_(Boundless)