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Blood Health – 5 Ways to Keep Your Blood Healthy

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When’s the last time you thought about blood health? We are dependent on our blood literally every second of every day for our very lives. In this article I’m going to be sharing 5 ways to keep your blood healthy.

Let’s start by asking what exactly is blood and what does it do? Yes blood is the red liquid that circulates in your veins and arteries. The bible says the life of all flesh is in the blood. And that is very true. Blood carries oxygen and life-giving nutrients to your body’s tissues and carries away carbon dioxide and other waste products from those same tissues. Blood is made up of 4 basic components: red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. Red blood cells make up 40-45% of your blood and are what carries oxygen throughout your body. White blood cells only account for 1% of your blood. White blood cells are a key part of your immune system. Platelets are tiny cells that make up less than 1% of your blood. Their role is to help the clotting process, stopping you from bleeding when you are injured. Plasma is the liquid portion of your blood and makes up the remaining 55%. It transports water and nutrients to your body’s tissues.

Blood health is important because if something is wrong with your blood it can affect your entire body. The most common blood disorder is anemia, affecting more than 3 million Americans. Anemia is where there are not enough red blood cells or the cells do not work correctly, so you don’t get enough oxygen. It can be caused by iron or vitamin deficiencies, and can be brought on by an injury, illness, pregnancy or some medications. Treatments include blood transfusions, dietary changes and medications that stimulate the production of bone marrow and new red blood cells.

There is also a platelets disorder called hemophilia which is a genetic condition caused by a lack of clotting factors in a person’s blood. Meaning their blood does not clot properly, causing excessive bleeding. Treatment typically involves replacement therapy where the patient gets infusions of the specific clotting factors they are missing.

Too much blood clotting can be a problem too. A blood clot is clump of red blood cells that have changed from a liquid to a gel like state. Clotting is a necessary process that will protect you from losing too much blood if you are injured. But when a blood clot is formed inside one of your veins, if it breaks free and travels to your heart or brain or your lungs it can be life threatening. A blood clot affecting the brain is known as a stroke. And a blood clot affecting your heart is what causes a heart attack.

There are also blood disorders affecting white blood cells, such as Lymphoma, Leukemia and Myelomas. Lymphoma is a type of cancer that occurs in white blood cells when they change and multiply rapidly. Leukemia involves the build-up of abnormal white blood cells in the bone marrow, which interferes with its ability to produce red blood cells and platelets. Myelomas involve build-up of plasma cells, a specific type of white blood cells, in the bone marrow which also interferes with the development and function of other blood cells.

Lymphoma, Leukemia and Myelomas are types of blood cancer treated by chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and targeted drug therapy. Of course all this is way out of my scope of practice as a personal trainer. But I believe there are things we can do today to improve circulation and keep our blood healthy, and I’m going to give you 5 of them right now.

  1. Good Nutrition. Healthy blood starts with healthy eating. You want to eat a balanced diet with plenty of high protein foods, which is necessary for antibody production and blood clotting. Foods low in saturated fats decrease cholesterol levels and keep your blood and circulatory system healthy. Complex carbs and fiber will also help keep your cholesterol down. A diet low in refined sugars and processed carbs can help keep your blood sugar within healthy limits. High blood sugar levels can lead to oxidation which can damage cells and promote inflammation. Broccoli, fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables all have different nutrients that are useful in cleansing blood. So it’s no surprise, the number one way to keep your blood healthy is good nutrition.
  2. Exercise and stretching. Any exercise that gets your blood pumping will be beneficial. Remaining sedentary is the worst thing you can do for your blood and your overall health. Exercise improves circulation and the body’s ability to take in and use oxygen. Once you’re comfortable moving on to more challenging exercises, you’ll see circulation improve even more. And stretching. With just a few minutes of basic stretching each day, you can drastically improve your blood circulation. So make an effort to get up once in a while, walk around, and stretch.
  3. Drink plenty of water. I’m sure you’re tired of me say this in almost every video and article. But remember your body is up to 60% water and your blood is 82% water. When you’re dehydrated, your blood volume decreases, which means your heart has to work harder. Also your blood retains more sodium, making it harder to circulate. Dehydration also lowers blood flow and oxygen to your brain and muscles. On the other hand staying well hydrated will avoid all these problems and will help keep everything flowing smoothly throughout your body.
  4. Cut back on alcohol. Moderate alcohol consumption can be okay for your body, but many studies have recognized the connection between alcohol use and long term damage to the circulatory system, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, to name a few. For most of us “moderate” alcohol consumption means no more than 2 drinks. Any more than that can lead to all kinds of damage.
  5. Nutritional supplements. Of course I always recommend a good multivitamin to make sure your body is getting everything it needs in the way of vitamins and minerals, but certain other supplements stand out when it comes to blood health. Omega 3 fish oil is known to promote cardiovascular health and improve circulation. Same with the antioxidants found in tea, and that goes for black tea and green tea. Turmeric is known to help strengthen red blood cell production. And garlic may slow the build-up of plaque in your arteries, lowering the risk of blood clots, stroke and heart attack. Supplement disclaimer: Always ask your doctor before you start taking any new supplements, if you have or suspect you have a health problem.

Are you noticing a trend here? It seems that no matter what specific topic we’re exploring, health and fitness boils down to 2 main things, 1. Exercise and keeping active and 2. Eating healthy, putting the right things in your body. This week I’m giving away the S&M glycemic index food guide to help you on your journey to eating healthier. If you’re not familiar, it’s a pdf download with nutritional recommendations, meal planning ideas, and a list of over 100 of the most common foods and where they fall on the GI. It’s free, my gift to you. To get your copy visit the link below

Thanks for reading this article. Pease share these articles and videos if they are helping you. My goal is to help as many people as possible. That’s all for now, God bless you, and I’ll see you next time

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