These Foods Narrow Your Blood Vessels

Narrowing of blood vessels, also known as vasoconstriction, is not always a bad thing. Sometimes your blood vessels narrow to reduce the loss of body heat, stabilize blood pressure, send oxygen and nutrients to specific organs and prevent blood or fluid loss.

In other cases, however, the foods we eat can narrow our blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure and headaches. As time goes by, the narrowing of blood vessels may lead to stroke, heart attack or loss of vision.

To prevent narrowing your blood vessels and keep your heart healthy, avoid the foods below.

High-Salt Foods

The notion that sodium increases blood pressure is not a myth; it has been proven by plenty of research. When you eat lots of sodium, your body retains water, which increases blood volume. This consequently raises blood pressure.

That increased blood pressure strains your arteries and sometimes damages blood vessels.

Reducing your intake of processed foods is an easy way to lower your salt intake, but if you can’t avoid processed foods, go for the ones with low sodium. Note that you don’t have to go on a saltless diet. Just stick to the recommended 2,300 mg of sodium a day.

Licorice

Licorice is a popular Mediterranean herb. Some people use it to treat coughs, heartburn, sore throat and so on. And while it has many benefits, consuming it daily for several weeks can cause high blood pressure, according to WebMD. Licorice contains glycyrrhizic acid, a compound that causes sodium retention.

Caffeine

Have you ever wondered why drinking tea or coffee eases headaches? When you experience a migraine, your blood vessels expand and become filled with blood, which stretches them, causing pain. When you drink a caffeinated drink, your blood vessels contract, pushing the excess blood away and reducing the pain.

While drinking one or two cups of coffee a day won’t do any harm, more than four cups a day can raise your blood pressure.

Foods with Trans Fats

The fats in cakes, doughnuts, microwave popcorn, most margarine, biscuits and cream-filled candies can clog up your arteries, since they raise your bad cholesterol. Fatty meat cuts can also raise your cholesterol levels. Even lean meat cuts can raise cholesterol when deep-fried.

How to Reverse Vasoconstriction

Now that you know the worst foods for your blood vessels, here’s how you can reverse vasoconstriction.

Get a full body massage.

As you may know, massages improve blood circulation. Therefore, people with superficial vasoconstriction can benefit from regular massages.

Exercise regularly.

Physical exercise is a widely-accepted way of dilating blood vessels. Even simple exercises, like walking, can improve your circulation.

Quit smoking.

The chemicals in tobacco smoke increase the risk of atherosclerosis, a condition that causes plaque buildup in arteries.

Image via Getty

57 comments

JoAnn Paris
JoAnn Paris12 days ago

Sharing.

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heather g
heather g14 days ago

Perhaps I eat too little salt - just forget to add it to my cooking

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Jack Y
Jack Y17 days ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y17 days ago

thanks

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John J
John J17 days ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J17 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Chad Anderson
Chad A17 days ago

Thank you.

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Tanya W
Tanya W18 days ago

Good to know

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Tanya W
Tanya W18 days ago

Noted

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Carole R
Carole R18 days ago

Thanks for the good information.

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