Feeling chilly? Boost circulation...with some chilli

If the freezing temperatures are leaving you with painfully sore fingers and toes, some circulation-boosting herbs might be just what you need. Medically proven to enhance blood flow, they will help to keep warm blood pumping to where you need it that much longer.

'Good blood flow is vital, not just for warmth, but to bring oxygen, glucose, vitamins and minerals to the tissues,' explains Dr Sarah Brewer, GP and author of Essential Guide To Vitamins, Minerals And Herbal Supplements.

'Unfortunately, cold temperatures cause blood vessels to constrict, and when it is very cold they can constrict so much that blood supply becomes minimal. Fingers and toes can become painful, numb and stiff, making your hands difficult to use. You can also develop small, itchy and painful swellings called chilblains. At worst, freezing temperatures cause frostbite where tissue is damaged and may actually start to die.'

Women, says Dr Brewer, are particularly susceptible. 'We are more efficient at pooling blood centrally to maintain our core body temperature,' she explains. 'This reduces blood flow to the arms and legs, so we feel the cold more than men do.'


Here are plant extracts that have been shown to be effective at giving blood supply a boost.

CHILLI

Capsacain, the substance that gives chilli its fiery edge, stimulates receptors in the gut that, in turn, stimulate circulation to the hands, feet and head. 'Chilli promotes vasodilation, or widening of the arteries, and it stimulates nerve endings to produce a warming sensation,' explains Dr Brewer.

Tip: You don't need much to break into a sweat - a medium curry will give an instant warming effect.

Source - Daily Mail