The Effect of Sweets on Varicose Veins
Keep your veins healthy by skipping the candy and sugary snacks this winter.
In the winter months, you naturally seek comfort, which may lead you to consume sugary snacks and desserts. And if you’re already confined to your home most of the time due to the pandemic, the temptation to indulge in sweets is even stronger.
But consuming foods high in refined sugar is bad not only for your overall health, but for your veins in particular. If you currently have varicose veins, eating too many sweets will likely make your symptoms worse. However, you can begin to improve your vein health by limiting or eliminating your intake of sweets.
Why Sugar is Bad for Your Veins
Sugar has numerous negative effects on your vascular system. And since varicose veins result from insufficient blood flow in the veins, consuming high amounts of sugar will interfere with the normal circulation of blood, leading to clogged veins that grow into visible and painful varicose veins. Here are three reasons why sugar is bad for your veins:
It contributes to obesity. Foods packed with refined sugar are usually high in calories, too. When you’re overweight, blood doesn’t flow smoothly due to the pressure those excess pounds put on the veins. Blood then becomes pooled in the veins, leading to varicose veins. Although there are many factors that contribute to the development of varicose veins that are out of your control, such as family history and pregnancy, you can control your weight. Keeping your weight within an ideal level reduces the stress on your veins.
It leads to inflammation of the blood vessels. Delicate blood vessels become inflamed when hit with too much sugar, which can produce oxygen-derived free radicals in the body. In turn, those damaged veins cannot pump blood efficiently, which leads to swollen varicose veins. Also, sugar retains water in your blood system and dilates the vein walls. As blood flow expands beyond the capacity for the vein, your veins will enlarge and become varicose veins.
It contributes to high blood pressure. Hypertension is a serious chronic cardiovascular disease that’s been linked to high sugar consumption. A 2019 study found that higher sugar intake led to elevated blood pressure in a sampling of older females. Hypertension affects the entire cardiovascular system, and that includes your arteries and veins. Venous hypertension — persistent elevated pressure in the veins — damages and weakens the veins, setting the stage for the development of varicose veins.
Candy and sugary drinks aren’t the only foods where you’ll find sugar. Products such as salad dressing, chips, and crackers also have a high sugar content. Read the label to know how much sugar is in the product. The American Heart Association recommends limiting daily sugar intake to 9 teaspoons (36 grams or 150 calories) for men and 6 teaspoons (25 grams or 100 calories) for women.
And if you think you can substitute artificial sweeteners for sugar, think again. According to one study, artificial sweeteners were just as bad for vascular health as sugar. Researchers found that sugar and artificial sweeteners both damaged blood vessels.
An essential component of taking care of your veins is consuming a healthy diet filled with vegetables, fruits, and lean meats. If you have varicose veins, or want to prevent their onset, indulge only occasionally or avoid sweets altogether. Your veins will be better for it.
Time to Take Care of Your Veins
Center for Vein Restoration has helped thousands of people overcome the pain of varicose veins. We work with each patient to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that includes minimally invasive surgery, lifestyle changes, and diet. Contact us today for a consultation.