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10 Oxygen- and Iron-Rich Foods to Improve Circulation

Head and shoulders photograph of Anju Mobin
Woman making a salad and holding a tomato in one hand and egg in the other
Proper circulation is essential for optimal health. Good circulation ensures the transport of oxygen and nutrients through the blood to the entire body. This aids vital organ functions, cell development and growth, and enhanced immunity to keep the body disease-free.

A healthy and balanced diet can provide the right amount of nutrients to the human body. Eating foods that are rich in nitrates, vitamins, iron, antioxidants, polyphenols, and flavonoids all help with enhanced oxygen levels and increased blood circulation. Some nutrients are crucial to keeping up proper circulation, blood flow, and overall health. Iron is an essential mineral that is required for red blood cells (hemoglobin), which helps transport oxygen (1).

Eating a varied diet matters, but it's easier said than done. If you're struggling to get the proper nutrients from the food you eat, meal delivery is perfect for you. You can have nutrient-rich meals delivered right to your doorstep, saving you time in the kitchen and taking the guesswork out of healthy eating.

Here are 10 foods you can include in your diet for increased blood circulation and oxygen levels. For more information, you can find the nutritional information of various foods on the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) food database (2).

1. Pomegranates

Pomegranates are sweet, juicy fruits with edible seeds. They are a good source of several essential nutrients and contain plant polyphenols and nitrates that help increase blood oxygen levels. Eat fresh pomegranates raw, press them into juice for an antioxidant boost, or add them to salads.

Consuming 100g of pomegranate rubies contains healthy carbs and dietary fiber. It is also high in vitamins, choline, and minerals such as iron, copper, and zinc, all of which help increase oxygen levels and blood flow.

2. Citrus

Citrus fruits are loaded with vitamins, iron, antioxidants, and flavonoids, making them an excellent choice for boosting blood oxygen levels. Flavonoids also help reduce stiffness in the arteries, leading to improved blood flow and nitric oxide production.

Citrus fruits can be consumed raw or juiced. You can also add lemon juice to your meals for a zesty twist.

3. Beetroots

Beets add color and extra nutrition to your dishes and provide the body with nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes the blood vessels for smooth circulation and oxygenated blood flow. Beetroots also contain protein, fiber, vitamins, iron, and manganese to raise iron and oxygen levels.

Beetroots are easy to incorporate into your diet. They are non-starchy and thus suitable for a diabetic diet. Toss them into salads, add them to soups, or use them to make colorful smoothies.

4. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are plant leaves that are eaten as vegetables. They are superfoods that are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and a variety of minerals, including iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium.

Eating leafy greens supplies the body with adequate iron to help boost oxygen levels in the body. They are also high in nitrates that aid blood flow. Use leafy greens for salads or sauté them with other vegetables. Add them to sandwiches, burgers, and pasta, or use them to replace tortillas for wraps.

5. Legumes

Legumes are essential plant-based protein sources that consist of beans, peas, and lentils. They are a powerhouse of protein and a rich source of iron, zinc, and multiple B vitamins. In addition, the high iron content in legumes can increase blood oxygen levels.

Legumes can be cooked and added to curries and salads for easy consumption.

6. Fish

Fatty fish is one of the best-known high-protein sources. They are also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, calcium, iron, and zinc. Eating fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and anchovies can increase nitric oxide levels and, in turn, blood flow.

Eat your favorite fatty fish poached or steamed to retain the omega-3s present in them.

7. Meat

Meat is a good source of nutrients, namely B vitamins, healthy fats, zinc, and iron. The iron contained in meat is known as heme iron, which is better absorbed by the body and boosts oxygen levels efficiently.

Consuming cooked or grilled organ meats like kidneys or liver two times a week can ensure a good oxygen supply in the blood. However, keep in mind that organ meat is among the foods to avoid while pregnant, so skip this food if you're pregnant or trying to conceive.

8. Turmeric

Referred to as the golden spice, turmeric has many beneficial compounds that can boost your overall health (3). Known for its antioxidant capabilities, turmeric increases nitric oxide production to improve blood flow and circulation.

The nutritional content of turmeric is vast. It contains fiber, iron, riboflavin, curcuminoids, polysaccharides, and fatty acids. Turmeric can be added to many foods and even warm milk to increase oxygen availability in the body.

9. Garlic

Garlic is considered to be a vegetable, herb, and spice all rolled into one. It contains fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and selenium. Its most important component is allicin, a sulfur compound that relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow.

Garlic can be consumed by having one or two pods raw or by adding it to any food of your choice.

10. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of nutrition. They contain B vitamins, vitamin E, protein, fiber, and fatty acids. They also have a good mineral content that includes iron, zinc, calcium, and copper.

Nuts and seeds promote blood vessel health, boost blood oxygen levels, and help with better circulation. They can be eaten raw or added to different dishes for an added crunch and nutty taste.

Get the Most Nutrients From Your Diet

Good circulation contributes to optimal health. Your regular diet is the most ideal way of getting the best nutrients the body needs to boost oxygen levels. When ordering meal delivery from services such as Sunbasket or Blue Apron, select recipes with the above-mentioned ingredients.

References

  1. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.00179.2015
  2. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/index.html
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/
Head and shoulders photograph of Anju Mobin
Anju Mobin is a certified nutritionist and has worked in numerous medical clinics. She specializes in nutrition and fitness content with over a decade of experience as a writer and editor.

*The information on this site is based on research, but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new diet plan, we recommend consulting with a physician or other professional healthcare provider. Results may vary based on various health factors, individual weight loss plans and adherence to the meal plan.