the secret behind diet and varicose veinsVeins are responsible for transporting blood throughout the body and ultimately returning blood to home base, the heart. These veins have one-way valves to keep blood flowing in the right direction and prevent any backflow or pooling of the blood. When these vein valves become weakened, it becomes more difficult for blood to be pumped back to the heart, so pooling may occur. Varicose veins surface as enlarged, swollen veins often purple or blue in color. They are a huge cosmetic concern but can also cause much pain and discomfort and even be an indicator of a more serious vascular issue.

While the cause of varicose veins is hard to pinpoint, there are a number of contributing factors such as obesity and genetics. There are however, steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing varicose veins or delaying the onset, specifically related to incorporating a healthy diet and exercise into your daily routine to maintain a proper weight. Implementing a few small dietary changes is one way to do just that. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Eat Whole Foods: Whole foods are food that have been processed as little as possible and are free from additives and artificial substances. They are full of important, easy- to- digest nutrients and provide energy to fuel your day. Removing processed foods from your diet can help you maintain a healthy weight as well as maintain adequate levels of energy throughout the day.

Portion Control: Always include a balance of protein, fiber and healthy fats in every meal and snack. When consuming a whole food diet, the focus is not as much on calorie restriction, but more on ensuring that you are getting the appropriate levels of nutrients. While you should be mindful of appropriate portion sizes, your body more easily processes food when it is in its “natural” or “whole” state as opposed to processed foods, which the body hangs on to as, stored fat.

Drink Plenty of Water: To help flush the body and promote good digestion, it is imperative to drink an appropriate amount of water each and every day. There are many suggestions as to what is the “right” amount of water to drink. An easy rule of thumb to follow is divide your weight in half to give you the number of ounces of water you should drink per day. For example, an individual weighing 150 lbs. should drink 75 oz. of water per day.

Eat Foods High in these 3 Nutrients:

  • Vitamin C – Vitamin C promotes the production of collagen and estrogen, which can help keep veins strong and toned over the years.
  • Fiber – It is well known fiber plays a major role in the digestion process. When digestion is hindered, increased pressure in the veins can occur contributing to a weakening of the vein valves.
  • Bioflavonoids – Bioflavonoids, or flavonoids, are the nutrients that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors. It is suggested flavonoids are also responsible for promoting healthy arteries and strong vein walls.

Here are a few on the go snack ideas in line with the dietary suggestions above:

  • Almonds
  • Apple slices with almond butter and granola
  • Celery and carrot sticks with humus
  • Hard boiled egg

Being mindful of your diet should not be a substitute for seeking medical advice if you are experiencing symptoms of varicose veins. It is important to discuss your symptoms with your physician and if necessary, seek the consult of a board certified vascular surgeon. To request an appointment with Premier Vein Clinics of Knoxville, visit us online or call (865) 588-8229.