Healthy blood flow and circulation are critical for proper brain function. Your brain contains one of the densest networks of blood vessels in your entire body, a network that is extremely susceptible to any restrictions or blockages of blood flow. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, blood flow to your brain may be compromised…
- Poor concentration
- Memory problems
- Dizzy spells
- Impaired balance
Your brain depends on oxygen, glucose, and other vital nutrients transported via your bloodstream. It’s hungry for those resources, too. Although it comprises only 2 percent of your total body weight, your brain requires 50 percent of all available glucose and 20 percent of all available oxygen.
When your brain becomes resource-starved, your cognitive abilities begin to decline. Your brain enters self-preservation mode, and stops doing the least important functions so that the most important ones, the ones that literally keep you alive, can continue uninterrupted. This is the point at which you may feel what some call “brain fog” descend on you. You may find yourself reading the same paragraph three or four times, unable to concentrate or absorb the information. You may also find yourself feeling dizzy or suffering from frequent headaches.
If poor blood flow to the brain persists for too long, a state of oxidative stress can ensue, which leads to brain cell death and increases your risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.
What Causes Poor Circulation?
Many factors can affect blood flow to the brain. Often, things we don’t associate with brain function can be the root cause of circulatory issues. They may be lifestyle factors or other, seemingly unrelated conditions. Here’s a partial list of possible causes of poor circulation…
- Autoimmune and other inflammatory disorders
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and insulin resistance (high blood sugar)
- Chronic stress
How to Improve Blood Flow to Your Brain
One of the best, research-backed ways to improve blood flow to your brain makes a lot of intuitive sense: get moving. We all know that exercise can get our hearts pumping, but it turns out gentler forms of physical activity also improve our circulatory health.
Researchers from New Mexico Highlands University found that even walking can dramatically improve blood flow to the brain. The researchers used ultrasounds to assess arteries and changes in blood flow to the brain when participants were standing, walking, and running. While they saw the greatest changes when participants were running, they found that the pressure of making impact with the ground while walking also sends waves through the arteries and increases blood flow which, as study author Ernest R. Greene put it, “gives the brain more to work with.”
Even if you exercise every day, you could be restricting blood flow by eating an unbalanced diet. To maximize the health of your arteries, veins, and brain, you want the foundation of your diet to be whole foods loaded with vital nutrients. Antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and whole forms of fiber are particularly important when it comes to maintaining healthy blood flow and clearing waste from your system.
Send Your Brain Health into Overdrive
To truly maximize your cognitive function and keep your brain in peak condition throughout your entire lifetime, you should consider high-quality brain-boosting supplements. A wealth of research supports the use of ginkgo biloba to increase blood flow to the brain. According to one study conducted with healthy volunteers, supplementing with ginkgo biloba can significantly increase blood flow to the brain, so much so that it’s measurable using MRI scans.
To learn more about how ginkgo biloba and five other powerhouse nutrients scientifically proven to benefit your brain, click here.