If you are a person who is on the go, you probably have a list of foods you can easily grab and pop into your mouth throughout the day. You are likely running down that list in your mind as you read this. But have you ever stopped to think—we mean really think—about what's in these items?
According to vein specialists, your diet has a direct effect on the development and progression of varicose veins. Eating nutritious foods not only helps to maintain your weight—less weight means less pressure on your venous system—but it strengthens your veins and aids in healthy blood circulation. Also, when certain foods are consumed, they can ease your symptoms. Check out these nutrients (and foods) experts say you should be eating.
Bioflavonoids do more than give fruits and vegetables their color, they are super-antioxidants. Red cabbage, strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, grape seed, garlic, beets, onion, spinach, mango, papaya and pineapple are all bioflavonoid-rich foods that can help reduce inflammation, aching, pain and swelling associated with varicose veins. They also assist in rebuilding the collagen proteins that make your blood vessel walls stronger and more pliable.
2. Vitamin C
Varicose veins are caused by weakened vein walls and valves. Vitamin C protects your cells and contains antioxidants that aid in vein health. To be more specific, vitamin C is a nutrient that generates collagen and elastin, proteins that keep the vein walls and arteries strong and flexible. Strong vein walls and valves means blood is better able to move out of the legs and back to the heart, rather than pooling in your lower extremities and leaking out over time as a result of increased pressure. When teamed up with bioflavonoids, the duo can manage and improve the condition of your varicose veins. If you don’t have varicose veins but worry about developing them, the combo can help prevent their onset.
3. Vitamin E
Vitamin E helps keep platelets from adhering together and forming clots in the blood vessels. Blood clots that stick to the sides of the vessels cause the vein walls to narrow, stiffen and weaken. Those with diabetes are at greater risk for clots. To promote vein health and improve blood circulation, consume vitamin E-rich foods like tofu, leafy green vegetables, nuts, sunflower seeds, avocados, shellfish, fish, plant oils, broccoli, papaya, olives, parsley, pumpkin and squash.
Fiber, when consumed with lots of water, can ward off constipation. When blood flows up the leg veins and back to the heart, it must run through the vena cava in the abdomen. Constipation intensifies abdominal pressure, and straining keeps blood from traveling back to the heart. As a result, blood remains in the leg veins and pools, which raises venous pressure and worsens varicose veins. Consume fiber-rich foods like whole grains, beans, legumes, and fruits and vegetables daily.
Antioxidants have many health benefits, including reducing varicose vein symptoms like inflammation and swelling. Inflammation and swelling put pressure on the vein walls and valves, which can cause blood to pool and leak out. Garlic, chili peppers, fish, black tea and green tea help minimize inflammation. Other antioxidant-rich foods include berries, tomatoes, peaches, carrots, squash, beans, nuts, dark green vegetables, bell peppers, plums, cantaloupe, corn, sweet potatoes, artichoke, prunes, grapes and apples.