Diet Plan For Varicose Veins — Due to the nature of varicose veins and associated symptoms, it is important that you adopt a healthy lifestyle with diet and exercise. Along with rest, the following Foods That Help Varicose Veins aims to provide foods rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential for maintaining the health of your veins and your overall circulatory system. This diet plan can be followed both during pregnancy as well as after delivery for women.
The side effects of varicose veins are sometimes uncomfortable or make you self-conscious. Here are several symptoms, information and treatments regarding this condition.
Diet Plan For Varicose Veins
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are usually bulging, bluish cords running just beneath the surface of your skin. They almost always affect legs and feet. Visible swollen and twisted veins — sometimes surrounded by patches of flooded capillaries known as spider veins — are considered superficial varicose veins. Although they can be painful and disfiguring, they are usually harmless. When inflamed, they become tender to the touch and can hinder circulation to the point of causing swollen ankles, itchy skin, and aching in the affected limb.
Besides a surface network of veins, your legs have an interior, or deep, venous network. On rare occasions, an interior leg vein becomes varicose. Such deep varicose veins are usually not visible, but they can cause swelling or aching throughout the leg and may be sites where blood clots can form.
Varicose veins are a relatively common condition, and for many people they are a family trait. Women are at least twice as likely as men to develop them. In the U.S. alone, they affect about 23% of adult Americans.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
To help circulate oxygen-rich blood from the lungs to all parts of the body, your arteries have thick layers of muscle or elastic tissue. To push blood back to your heart, your veins rely mainly on surrounding muscles and a network of one-way valves. As blood flows through a vein, the cup-like valves open to allow blood through, then close to prevent backflow.
In varicose veins, the valves do not work properly, allowing blood to pool in the vein and making it difficult for the muscles to push the blood “uphill.” Instead of flowing from one valve to the next, the blood continues to pool in the vein, increasing venous pressure and the likelihood of congestion while causing the vein to bulge and twist. Because superficial veins have less muscle support than deep veins, they are more likely to become varicose.
Any condition that puts excessive pressure on the legs or abdomen can lead to varicose veins. The most common pressure inducers are pregnancy, obesity, and standing for long periods. Chronic constipation and — in rare cases, tumors — also can cause varicose veins. Being sedentary also may contribute to varicosity because muscles that are out of condition offer poor blood-pumping action.
The likelihood of varicosity also increases as veins weaken with age. A previous leg injury may damage the valves in a vein, which can result in a varicosity. Genetics also plays a role, so if other family members have varicose veins, there is a greater chance you will, too. Contrary to popular belief, sitting with crossed legs will not cause varicose veins, although it can aggravate an existing condition.
Can You Prevent Varicose Veins?
Even though your genetics play a part in your risk for varicose veins, there are things you can do to prevent them.
- Exercise regularly. Staying fit is the best way to keep your leg muscles toned, your blood flowing, and your weight under control.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, lose weight. Weight control prevents excess pressure buildup on veins of the legs and feet.
- Avoid tight clothing. Tight clothes can constrict blood flow in the waste, groin, or legs.
- Avoid high heel shoes. Wearing high heels for prolonged periods of time can hinder circulation. Flat or low-heel shoes are better for circulation, as they improve calf muscle tone.
- Move around. Avoid sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time to encourage blood flow. If your daily routine requires you to be on your feet constantly, consider wearing daily support hose. Stretch and exercise your legs as often as possible to increase circulation and reduce pressure buildup.
- Quit smoking. Studies show that smoking may contribute to the development of varicose veins.
- If you’re pregnant, sleep on your left side rather than your back. This will minimize pressure from the uterus on the veins in your pelvic area. This position will also improve blood flow to the fetus. If you are prone to developing varicose veins, ask your doctor for a prescription for compression stockings.
Foods That Help Varicose Veins
Varicose veins usually look blush in color, twisted, and bulge above the surface of the skin. They may not always be visible and for some people but can be painful or cause discomfort.
Varicose veins are more commonly found in the legs due to standing and walking increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body.
They are the result of tiny valves that weaken or become damaged when the leg veins cannot return the blood back to the heart to be recirculated.
To do this, the veins in your legs must work against gravity. Although varicose veins are not considered a serious medical condition, they can lead to more serious problems.
Varicose veins risk factors
- Leg injury.
- Oral contraceptives or hormone replacement.
A healthy nutritious diet is vital to your overall health and can promote a strong venous system. This is especially important for anyone who lives with varicose veins.
Healthy eating habits play an important role in how well the blood circulates throughout the body.
Knowing the best and worst foods for varicose veins will give you the advantage of building strong veins.
If you are already going through varicose veins treatment, changing your eating habits will have a positive effect on your well-being.
Best Foods for Varicose Veins
Foods that are good for varicose veins include a low carb, low-calorie diet that is high in fiber and full of colorful vegetables and fruits.
- Avocados. These include vitamin C for inflammation and vitamin E as a natural blood thinner to help prevent clots. They also help protect veins against oxidant damage.
- Blackberries. They are filled with antioxidants, anti-inflammatories that can protect blood vessels against blood clots and can strengthen the capillaries to decrease the risk for new varicose veins.
- Beets. They are full of chemicals that support vein health by opening the blood vessels and letting more oxygen flow through. They can also lower your blood pressure and improve blood circulation.
- Ginger. This is a natural remedy to vein disease. It increases blood circulation and breaks down fibrin in the blood vessels which prevents the veins from hardening.
- Chia seeds and flaxseeds. These are high in fiber and help to prevent bloating which will ease pressure in the lower body.
Also, drinking at least half a gallon of water daily to avoid dehydration is just as important as eating healthy because it will keep the blood pumping.
Worst Foods for Varicose Veins
Maintaining a healthy diet also means knowing what foods to avoid that are harmful to the veins.
A good rule is to stay away from foods that are sugary, salty, and high in refined carbohydrates, especially if you are required to do varicose veins treatment.
- Fried foods. These can clog your arteries making it harder for the blood to flow through them.
- Milk and cheese can slow down the digestive system and cause constipation which enables the veins to swell.
- Processed meats. These are usually high in sodium and cause water retention which makes the blood thicker and harder to pump.
- White bread. The process to make white bread is to strip away the nutrients that promote strong veins.
- Alcohol. This dehydrates you and can make the venous system sluggish.
Eating a healthy diet is essential to improving blood circulation to help prevent or slow the development of varicose veins. Therefore, healthy eating can reduce their symptoms.
Self-care through diet and exercise is not only beneficial to varicose veins but also to your overall health.
Symptoms indicating you might have varicose veins
- A heaviness and aching in your legs
- Burning, swelling, cramping, and throbbing in your lower leg.
- Itchy feeling around one or more of your veins.
- Pain that worsens after sitting or standing for long periods of time.
- Discoloration in the skin.
10 Best food Items for people with Varicose Veins
With blood accumulating in your veins, varicose may cause discomfort, inflammation and pain in the affected area. Some of the food habit changes and additions you can inculcate in your diet are as follows:
- Beetroot: Research and studies have shown that consuming beets regularly can effectively lower the chances of varicose veins. Beetroots contain a naturally occurring compound called betacyanin. This compound is what majorly contributes to the beautiful red colour of beets. Betacyanin is a phytochemical compound that lowers the levels of homocysteine in the body. Having high levels of homocysteine can damage blood vessels and lead to blood clots. Beets can easily be added to your everyday salads and can be juiced or steamed to be included in your daily diet.
- Ginger: For many centuries, ginger has been used in Indian households as a spice as well as its medicinal properties. It is widely used to lessen the symptoms of varicose because it helps increase blood circulation and dissolves fibrin in the blood vessels. Fresh ginger has a more robust flavour and is said to be more effective in vein health. Ginger can be used as a spice in most Indian dishes.
- Turmeric: Since ancient times, turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine to unclog blood vessels and promote effective blood circulation. Curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, increases the production of nitric oxide, which in turn facilitates better blood flow and circulation.
- Apples: Fruits like apples, bananas and pears are high in fibre content. High fibre fruits lower the chances of inflammation and help with your overall health. Apples are high in rutin, a powerful antioxidant compound that helps to keep veins healthy. A quick fruit salad including apples or pears is a healthy option when it comes to lowering symptoms of varicose veins.
- Grapes: Red and purple grapes are loaded with flavonoids and vitamins along with oligomeric proanthocyanidins, also known as OPCs, which some researchers believe could lessen vein and leg swelling.
- Cherries: Like apples, cherries are loaded with rutin. Rutin is a flavonoid that helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as keeps your veins healthy. In addition, this flavonoid is also anti-inflammatory, an excellent source of antioxidants and lowers the chance of blood clots.
- Raw nuts and seeds: Nuts are rich in niacin and vitamin B3, essential nutrients for blood flow and lowers blood circulation issues. Hemp, sunflower, flax and chia seeds are some foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids and fibre. They are also a good source of anti-inflammatory proteins that help in removing cholesterol and promoting blood flow quality.
- Green leafy vegetables: Leafy green vegetables such as kale and lettuce are excellent sources of magnesium, a mineral that plays a key role when it comes to managing blood circulation and blood flow.
- Avocado: Some fats are good for your health and your veins, such as the fats found in avocado. Avocados are also a great source of vitamins C and E, potassium and magnesium. Avocados can be sliced and consumed with toast, can be added to salads or made into guacamole (avocado paste with hot sauce and lime juice).
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a powerful spice known for regulating blood sugar levels and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes. Other benefits of cinnamon include the ability to increase blood flow and promote circulation. Cinnamon may particularly help blood vessels dilate and widen, which makes it easier for blood to flow throughout your body.
Foods to avoid while suffering from Varicose Veins:
Apart from seeking medical help to diagnose varicose veins, it is important to maintain a healthy diet to lessen the symptoms of varicose veins from getting worse. Consider the following list to be a guideline of the food that varicose veins should avoid:
- Refined carbs: People with varicose vein symptoms should avoid refined carbohydrates or simple carbohydrates as much as possible. They are responsible for chronic diseases and largely contribute to poor vein health. The absence of fibre in refined carbs causes strain during excretion. As a result of this, it causes pressure to build up in the veins of the lower rectum and may damage them.
- Canned foods: Canned foods are lined with a chemical called Bisphenol. Bisphenol creates a mimic of estrogen and affects the hormones in our body which can cause or worsen varicose veins. Opt for fresh foods instead of buying canned goods.
- Foods with added sugar: Chocolates, cakes and cookies are processed foods that often contain high amounts of added sugar which contributes to obesity and weight gain.
- Fried foods: Fried foods have very little nutrition content, almost negligible fibre and is very hard to digest and is not exactly healthy. They should be avoided until the condition of varicose veins has lessened.
- Alcohol: This one goes without saying, but alcohol is probably the worst on this list. Steer clear from consuming alcohol if you have varicose veins.
- Red meat: Red meat is quite hard to digest. It has little fibre and it takes a lot of effort to digest a couple of red meat pieces. Avoid consuming dishes that include red meat.
- Salty foods: Foods with high sodium content like ham, pizza and hot dogs should be limited. A high concentration of sodium in the blood causes the body to retain more water than usual. This causes an increase in blood in the body, which leads to an increase in pressure in the vein. This increase in pressure can cause swelling and water retention in the legs.
- Caffeinated beverages: Strong coffee or other kinds of beverages should be avoided as long as your symptoms are not gone.
Varicose Vein-friendly recipes to try:
When it comes to varicose veins, it is best to consume homemade food items with the above ingredients. You must follow a healthy diet that is per your doctor’s suggestions and body needs. Here are some interesting recipes you may try on:
1. Carrot and ginger soup
- Heat the oil in a heavy pan.
- Add chopped onion and cook until translucent.
- Add chopped carrots, lentils, chilli flakes and stock.
- Simmer for 15 minutes, until the lentils are cooked.
- Remove from the heat.
- Grate in the root ginger and add the orange juice and zest.
- Use your blender until smooth and reheat if necessary.
- Serve hot with bread or alone as an appetizer.
2. Beetroot raita
- Take 2-3 beetroots and boil them. Grate it and set it aside.
- Take a medium-sized pan and put it on the stove.
- Add olive oil to the pan and let it heat.
- Add chopped ginger and garlic and gently saute it till light brown in colour.
- Add the grated beetroot and mix well.
- After 1-2 minutes, add salt and pepper as required.
- Turn off the flame. Take the mixture and transfer it to a heat-resistant bowl to let it cool.
- In a separate bowl, add hung curd and mix well.
- After the beetroot mixture has cooled down to room temperature, mix it with the hung curd.
- Enjoy this as a great evening snack.
3. Quinoa stuffed bell pepper
- Cook the quinoa in vegetable broth. Check the package to see how to cook quinoa.
- Saute chopped onions in a skillet until transparent then add garlic.
- Add black beans, diced tomatoes and sweet corn.
- Season, cook and stir for 4-5 minutes then add the cooked quinoa.
- Slice bell peppers halfway and remove the seeds.
- In a baking tray, line it with a baking sheet to avoid the bell peppers from sticking.
- Spoon the filling into each pepper then sprinkle some grated cheese.
- Bake the peppers until they are soft and the cheese has melted.
- Enjoy as an amazing snack with friends and family.
Blood vessels carry blood throughout the body and their health directly affects your blood flow and circulation. When you eat healthy foods and indulge in exercises that provide better circulation, you are allowing your cardiovascular health to remain healthy and lessen your risk of problems like varicose veins. Try to include food items using ingredients that are beneficial and have been known to promote regular blood flow.
Side Effects Of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are large, raised, swollen blood vessels that twist and turn. They usually develop in the legs and can be seen through the skin. They result from a weakening in the blood vessel wall or from faulty valves. They can show up anywhere on the body but most often appear on the legs or pelvic area.
Spider veins are smaller, red, purple, and blue vessels that also twist and turn. Spider veins are easily visible through the skin, as well. They affect the capillaries, the body’s smallest blood vessels. Spider veins, which are red or blue, look like a spider’s web or tree branch. They are typically visible on the legs and face.
What Causes Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?
A number of things can put you at risk for varicose veins and spider veins. These include:
- Occupations that involve a lot of standing, such as nurses, hair stylists, teachers, and factory workers
- Hormonal influences of pregnancy, puberty, and menopause
- The use of birth control pills
- Postmenopausal hormone replacement
- A history of blood clots
- Conditions that cause increased pressure in the abdomen, such as tumors, constipation, and externally worn garments like girdles
Other reported causes include trauma or injury to the skin, previous vein surgery, and exposure to ultraviolet rays.
Other Risk Factors for Varicose Veins and Spider Veins
Varicose veins and spider veins develop more often in women than in men. They increase in frequency with age. An estimated 30% to 60% of adults have varicose veins or spider veins.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins and Spider Veins
Many people with varicose veins complain of pain, described as an aching or cramping in the legs. Other common symptoms include tiredness, restlessness, burning, throbbing, tingling, or heaviness in the legs. Pain from these veins is usually relieved by elevating the legs or by wearing support hose, also called compression stockings.
In women, symptoms may be worse during certain parts of the menstrual cycle or during pregnancy. Less common is swelling, ulcers, and a darkening of the skin, especially in the ankle region. Occasionally, varicose veins can form a painful blood clot with inflammation of the vein, a condition called thrombophlebitis.