Diet Tips For Improving Vein Health
After an indulgent holiday season, women and men across the world are making plans to overhaul their diet in the new year. Eating less junk food, drinking more water and losing weight top many lists of New Year’s resolutions — but sticking with those healthy intentions isn’t just good for your figure, it’s also good for your veins.
Varicose veins affect millions of Americans. Making thoughtful dietary choices can help prevent new varicose veins from developing or keep existing vein health issues from getting worse. By consciously seeking out vein-friendly foods, you can naturally increase your intake of key ingredients that improve blood circulation and strengthen vein walls.
Here are nine achievable New Year's resolutions for healthier veins and a healthier you this year.
DON’T: Go Calorie Crazy
Varicose veins are significantly more likely to affect individuals who are overweight or obese. Carrying extra pounds puts increased pressure on the veins in the lower legs, which raises the risk of varicose veins and spider veins, and can worsen the symptoms of existing vein conditions. To lose weight or avoid weight gain, start with a nutritious diet plan and a reasonable daily calorie count. Steer clear of high-calorie foods like soda, refined starches and deep-fried fare. Aim to make reasonable, sustainable changes — crash dieting and extreme calorie restriction are not healthy approaches to weight loss.
DO: Eat the Rainbow
Pile your plate with as much color as you can. Fruits and vegetables are superfoods for varicose veins (not to mention being an important part of any nutritious, balanced diet). The nutrients contained in these foods — including antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber — are essential for a healthy body and strong vein walls. They also have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the swelling and discomfort associated with varicose veins. Produce items are most effective in their raw form, so choose fresh fruits and vegetables over canned, cooked or processed options.
DON’T: Chow Down on Constipating Foods
Anyone who has struggled with constipation knows how miserable it can be, but what you may not know is the effect it has on your veins. Constipation puts pressure on your body and your venous system, particularly in your lower legs where varicose veins are most likely to appear. Over time, chronic constipation can lead to vein damage. Foods that contribute to constipation include red meat, dairy products, bananas and alcohol. To reduce your risk of constipation, eat foods that are high in fiber and drink plenty of water daily. A high-fiber diet can also prevent high cholesterol and help you maintain a healthy weight.
DO: Eat Bioflavinoids
Many of the best foods for vein health contain bioflavinoids, nutrients found in plants that have potent antioxidant power. Bioflavinoids (also called vitamin P) help reduce inflammatory responses and protect your body from free radical damage. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best way to get bioflavinoids into your diet. Produce items rich in bioflavinoids include citrus fruits, broccoli, tropical fruits, spinach, bell peppers and garlic. They can also be found in dark chocolate, tea and red wine.
DON’T: Get Too Sweet
It’s hard to pass up decadent treats — especially around the holidays — but limiting your sugar consumption is one of the best moves you can make for your body. Eating too much added sugar increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, inflammation, high blood pressure and heart disease. Cut out sugary beverages like soda and juice, reduce your use of condiments containing hidden sugars and choose fresh fruit over cookies, cakes and candies when your sweet tooth gets the better of you. Sugar is often hiding where you least expect it, so learn the names of different sweeteners and make it a habit to read nutrition labels.
DO: Minimize Your Salt Intake
Any chef will tell you salt is one of cooking’s most essential seasonings. It even has a place in a healthy diet. But too much sodium can increase your blood pressure and put extra strain on your heart and veins. Many people are unaware of just how much salt is lurking in the foods they eat on a regular basis. Processed meats and canned soups are notorious for their high salt content, as are cooking sauces and condiments. Swap these foods for low-sodium alternatives and, rather than adding extra salt during cooking or at the table, use herbs and spices to boost flavor.
DON’T: Wolf Down Foods That Cause Water Retention
There’s another reason salt makes the list of what food to avoid for varicose veins: water retention. High salt intake can make your body conserve excess water as it struggles to maintain a healthy balance of fluids and minerals. Water retention can cause dehydration in other parts of your body which, in turn, raises blood pressure and puts stress on your veins. You can reduce water retention by avoiding refined carbs, canned foods, processed meats and cheeses, frozen meals, potato chips, pickles and fast food. Eat foods rich in magnesium, potassium and vitamin B6 instead.
DO: Drink More Water
A hydrated body is a happy body. Since the human body is mostly composed of water, your hydration habits have a huge effect on how good you feel and how well your body functions. Sufficient water intake keeps your veins strong and helps blood flow more easily through your circulatory system. Buy a water bottle and keep it near you wherever you go. If you have trouble remembering to drink, set a timer to remind yourself when it’s time for a sip. Try to begin and end your day with a glass, and be sure to drink extra if you’ve been sweating through a workout or another vigorous activity.
DON’T: Use Products Containing BPA
BPA is a chemical found in some hard plastic food containers, cans and bottles. BPA can leak into food from these containers and lead to an increase of estrogen — which has been linked to a higher risk of varicose veins — when it is ingested. Check containers before buying them and look for ones that are labeled “BPA-free.” When possible, use containers made of alternative materials like glass or stainless steel.
When It Comes To Your Veins, You Are What You Eat
Whether it’s January 1st or the middle of June, there’s no wrong time to take control of your vein health. Eating right supports strong veins, promotes better blood flow and is an essential factor in maintaining overall health and wellness. Don’t wait for varicose veins to become a problem before taking steps to live your healthiest life — this year, and every year.
Meet with a specialist at Capitol Vein & Laser Centers to receive a personalized diet plan for varicose veins and discuss your other treatment options. You can reach us at 866-695-8346 to schedule a consultation at one of our locations in the greater D.C. area.