Foods You Should and Shouldn't Eat If You Have Varicose Veins
When it comes to vein health, the old saying “you are what you eat” certainly applies. Learn which foods are best for your veins — and which to avoid.
We all know that certain foods are better for our minds and bodies than others, but did you know that many healthy foods can also have a positive effect on vein health? Making the right dietary decisions can help prevent new varicose veins from developing or keep existing vein-related issues from getting any worse. While food alone cannot make your existing varicose veins disappear, the vein health benefits that come with good overall health should not be discounted.
If you want to make your diet more vein-friendly, this list can help you find foods that are great (and not so great) for your veins.
Foods That Are Good For Varicose Veins
As a general rule, people with vein disease — including varicose veins — should stick to a low-carb, low-calorie diet that’s high in fiber and full of colorful fruits and vegetables. You should also try to drink at least half a gallon of water every day to avoid dehydration and keep your blood pumping. Beyond those general guidelines, these five specific foods can be particularly beneficial for your vein health:
Avocado: Avocados are great for vein health because they include vitamin C, an anti-inflammatory, and vitamin E, a natural blood thinner that helps prevent clots. They’re also rich in glutathione, which helps protect your veins against oxidant damage.
Beets: Beets are full of chemicals that support vein health. Betacyanin reduces homocysteine in the body, an amino acid that can wreak havoc on your blood vessels, while the nitrates in beets open up your blood vessels to let more oxygen flow through, lowering your blood pressure and naturally improving blood circulation.
Blackberries: Blackberries are filled with antioxidants, which improve arterial health, anti-inflammatories, which fight painful swelling, and high levels of rutin, which protect your blood vessels against blood clots. The berries can also strengthen your capillaries and reduce the risk of developing new varicose veins.
Chia seeds or flaxseeds: These tiny seeds are high in fiber and can help prevent bloating, which eases pressure in the lower extremities. Consider adding some to a green smoothie, your morning oatmeal, or even some yogurt.
Ginger: Ginger is a famous natural remedy for vein disease. The spicy plant increases blood circulation and helps break down fibrin in the blood vessels. If you can’t break down fibrin properly, your veins can harden, making varicose vein symptoms worse.
Foods You Should Avoid If You Have Varicose Veins
The good news is that if you’re trying to maintain an overall healthy diet you’ll likely naturally end up avoiding many of the foods that are harmful to your veins. A good policy is to stay away from any foods that are salty, sugary, and full of refined carbohydrates. These five groups are particularly good to avoid:
Alcohol: Alcohol is dehydrating, which can make your venous system sluggish and can lead to blood clots if left unchecked. Make sure to drink water throughout the day for healthy veins!
Dairy Products: Milk and cheese are notorious for slowing down your digestive system. Constipation is never fun, but it’s especially worrying for patients with varicose veins since it can cause their already-damaged veins to swell. Eat lots of fiber to stay regular.
Fried Foods: Sadly some of your favorite foods might actually be among the worst options for vein health. The high fat and salt content of fried foods can clog your arteries and make it harder for blood to pass through them, leading to blood clots.
Processed Meats: Processed meats like bacon, ham, and sausage are full of sodium. Excessive sodium makes you retain water, making your blood thicker and harder to pump throughout your body. Also, many canned meats come in containers that contain BPAs, which can seep into your food and boost hormones that make varicose veins worse.
White Bread: White bread is made by stripping whole grain flour of its essential nutrients. That includes the bioflavonoids that help promote strong veins. The process also results in a loss of fiber, which can decrease circulation and exacerbate varicose veins. Instead of white bread, try whole grain or multigrain bread instead.
Going Beyond Diet to Eliminate Varicose Veins
There’s no denying that changing your diet can help prevent your varicose veins from getting worse, but if you want to eliminate your veins fully, the only option is medical treatment like sclerotherapy, RFA, or VenaSeal. At Center for Vein, our venous experts can find the right treatment for you so you can get rid of your varicose veins for good. To schedule an appointment, contact us at Center for Vein today.