Circulatory problems can take many forms, and can range from a minor inconvenience (such as cold hands and feet) to cosmetic problems like burst blood vessels, and painful, aching conditions. 


  • Cold hands and feet
  • Varicose veins, with congested, swollen and discoloured veins visible through the skin; legs sometimes ache or feel swollen and heavy
  • Wounds on the feet or legs  that are slow to heal
  • Bruising easily, from even slight knocks to the tissue
  • Although many circulatory problems don't need to be worried about, it is important to seek medical advice if you are concerned about any of the following symptoms:
  • Severe sensitivity to cold that fingers or toes become numb or painful and turn blue or white. This may indicate Raynaud's syndrome
  • Tight or cramping calf pain when walking
  • Ulcers and other Wounds that are slow to heal 


  • Varicose veins occur when the valves in the veins that carry the blood from the feet and legs back to the heart become damaged. The role of the valves is to prevent the effects of gravity allowing blood to pool in the lower limbs, and when this mechanism fails, the veins become congested and swollen, resulting in the characteristic appearance and symptoms of Varicose veins
  • Inadequate dietary intake of vitamin C and bioflavonoids may compromise the integrity of the blood vessels, causing increased susceptibility to bruising 

Nutritional & Herbal Support

  • Grape seed extract may assist blood circulation and help relieve symptoms associated with poor circulation such as swelling, heaviness and tingling
  • Taking Ginkgo helps maintain blood circulation to the peripheral areas of the body such as the legs, hands and feet
  • Bilberry assists in maintaining health of capillaries 

Diet & Lifestyle advice

  • Severe, recurrent or persistent circulatory problems may be indicative of underlying disease, and require medical investigation
  • Regular exercise is important for healthy circulation. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise (such as brisk walking) on most days of the week, after seeking your doctor's approval
  • Decrease or limit your consumption of cholesterol and saturated fats from offal, meat and dairy products, instead choosing lean cuts of meat, skim milk, and reduced-fat cheeses and yoghurts
  • Choose unrefined polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, from fish, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil and avocados
  • The blood vessels are very susceptible to Free Radical Damage, so eat plenty of nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables to ensure that you are consuming adequate vitamin C and E and a wide variety of other antioxidants
  • Keep your hands and feet warm, if necessary by wearing gloves and socks or by applying heat to the affected areasLying with the legs elevated against a wall promotes blood flow to the heart, and may help to relieve swelling and congestion
  • Ensure any Wounds on the legs and feet are tended to quickly and appropriately; if necessary ask your healthcare professional to arrange for the dressings to be changed for you
  • Herbalists recommend spicy foods such as ginger and cayenne pepper to promote peripheral circulation
  • Refrain from smoking, aside from other detrimental effects, it promotes Free Radical Damage and further exacerbates circulatory problems

If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional. Information provided is of a general nature and should not replace that of your healthcare professional.

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