Smoking cigarettes can restrict blood flow, which can slow down the wound healing process.

Several factors can slow down the wound healing process including insufficient blood flow to the skin. According to Drugs.com, poor blood supply can be due to a few reasons such as blocked or narrowed blood vessels and low blood pressure. Here are some ways you can improve blood flow to speed up wound healing:

Apply heat to the area

An effective way to increase blood flow is to apply heat to the wound. Whether you put the affected area in a bucket of warm water or place a heating pad on it, you can increase blood flow to the skin. Contra Costa Health Services recommends keeping heat on the wound for 15 to 30 minutes three to four times a day.

Stop smoking

If you are a smoker, now may be the time to quit. According to Smokefree.gov, nicotine tightens blood vessels, which prevents essential nutrients from reaching a wound. If nutrients can’t get to an injury, it will severely slow down the healing process.

Elevate the wound

Since swelling restricts blood flow, it is important to keep your wound elevated. For example, if the wound is on your leg, place a pillow or two under it while you lie down. Contra Costa Health Services suggests elevating the area three to four times a day for 15 to 30 minutes.

Get moving

When you are recovering from a wound, exercise is probably one of the last things you want to think about. However, regular physical activity can improve blood circulation. Include both aerobic and strength training exercises in your workout routine. For example, you could try walking, swimming, biking or even dancing. If you have trouble finding motivation to exercise, ask a friend to do it with you.

Eat a healthy diet

If you want to improve blood flow, it is important to eat a nutritious diet. Nutrients that promote healthy blood flow include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, C and E, magnesium and folate. Good foods to add to your diet include salmon, oranges, carrots, walnuts, bell peppers and dark leafy vegetables.

If you make an effort to improve blood flow to your skin, your wound may heal faster.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients, delivering to both homes and long-term care facilities.