During a long-haul flight or even when sitting at your desk for an extended period of time, you may experience the feeling of heavy legs and swollen feet. This phenomenon is the result of poor blood circulation, often due to a lack of movement, but also caused by a poor diet.
To avoid this discomfort, you should first consider what you eat. Your diet should be rich in quality proteins, healthy fats, a big load of vegetables and low glycemic index carbohydrates.
In order to have good blood circulation, here are some more specific nutritional tips:
First, avoid eating food with too much salt. This promotes water retention and thus impairs blood circulation. Also, think about reducing your sugar intake which weakens the blood vessels, as well as eliminating as much as possible bad fats.
In parallel, consider eating the following nutrients:
- Selenium and vitamin E - Protects the vein walls against substances that are harmful to our body. These vitamins are mainly found in nuts, Brazil nuts and avocados.
- Flavonoids and oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC) - Preserves the elasticity and tone of blood vessels. Red and citrus fruits are rich in flavonoids, and grape seed oil is rich in OPC.
- Omega 3 - Helps thin the blood to improve circulation and is found in salmon, sardines and other fatty fish, as well as garlic, grapefruit and onions.
- Ginger - Stimulates blood circulation. Ginger or Zingiber officinale is a widely known herbaceous plant with irregular shaped roots (rhizomes) and used as a flavoring agent or spice in food and a herbal traditional medicine for centuries in China and India (Ayurveda). Ginger is known to have anti-platelet aggregation properties and fibrinolytic activity and because thinner blood is easier for your heart to pump, it helps improve the circulation of blood within your veins.
Of course, it is also essential to drink at least 1.5 to 2 liters (0.4 to half a gallon) of water per day and to have a diet rich in fiber (especially in fruits and vegetables) in order to avoid constipation, which will compress the veins and cause venous insufficiency.
By adopting these practices, you will decrease the feeling of heavy legs during long-haul flights or endless work days.