The holiday season has arrived. Cue all the (COVID-safe) parties! In addition to deciding what to wear, you’ll want to know which foods won’t stress out your veins.
Holiday parties mean dressing up, catching up with friends and family, and exchanging gifts. They also usually mean lots of feasting and drinking.
At any given party, you’ll have plenty of tasty options from which to choose. However, not all foods are created equal for healthy blood circulation. Knowing which food choices can keep your veins healthy will allow you to enjoy holiday parties without worrying about vein repercussions.
The Basics About Blood Circulation
Before we go over which foods will make your veins happy, let’s review blood circulation for context and discuss why it’s important.
When your circulatory system is functioning correctly, blood will flow throughout your body, bringing oxygen and nutrients to your cells and organs via your arteries. Waste products will be transported to your liver, heart, and lungs through your veins. If your blood isn’t circulating correctly, you may experience muscle cramping, fatigue, or leg ulcers. Other potential symptoms of improper circulation include varicose veins, numbness or coldness in your extremities, and swelling, aching, restlessness, or heaviness in your legs, ankles, or feet.
Foods That Can Improve Blood Flow And Vein Health
In addition to drinking at least half a gallon of water each day, consider eating these foods to boost your circulation:
Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish are great for increasing blood flow. These acids naturally occur in fish oil and help release nitric oxide, dilating your blood vessels. This improves blood circulation, reduces pressure on veins and arteries, and prevents plaque buildup in arteries. Omega-3 fatty acids can also prevent blood clots from forming, lower your blood pressure, and increase your level of healthy HDL cholesterol.
Fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids include mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines, tuna, and herring.
In addition to boosting your immune system, garlic is a natural blood thinner. Its sulfur compounds cause blood vessels to dilate, decreasing blood pressure and hypertension risks. Diets high in garlic are linked to increased and more efficient blood circulation, better digestion, reduced arterial plaque buildup, lower risk of heart disease, and nausea relief.
If you’re already on blood-thinning medication, make sure to consult your doctor before you start taking a garlic supplement.
Celery is an excellent source of vitamin K, which promotes healthy blood circulation throughout your body and eliminates toxins. It’s also low in calories and high in dietary fiber, vitamins, electrolytes, and minerals.
Flavonoid-rich citrus fruits can reduce inflammation, decrease arterial stiffness, improve nitric oxide production, and increase blood circulation. They'll also lower your risk of developing varicose veins. Regularly eating flavonoid-rich citrus fruits may even decrease your risk of stroke and improve your cognitive function!
Plus, raw citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C, which strengthens vein walls and boosts collagen and elastin. So, if you see an orange, grapefruit, lemon, or lime at a holiday party, don't be afraid to take one!
Pomegranates can also improve your circulatory health because they contain plenty of nitrates and polyphenol antioxidants, two powerful vasodilators. After eating a raw pomegranate, taking a pomegranate supplement, or drinking pomegranate juice, your blood vessels will dilate, allowing your blood to circulate more easily.
These fruits improve oxygenated blood flow to muscle tissue, making them perfect for athletes and active individuals. For example, they have been linked to reduced muscle damage, soreness, and inflammation in weightlifters.
Keeping Your Veins Healthy
Paying attention to your diet is a great starting point to keeping your veins happy. However, you may also need to make some lifestyle changes to promote healthy circulation, such as regularly working out, quitting smoking, avoiding standing or sitting for extended periods of time, losing weight, or picking up yoga.
Wearing compression stockings applies gentle pressure to your lower legs, encouraging healthy blood flow. Only through professional treatments like sclerotherapy, laser ablation, or radiofrequency ablation can eliminate varicose veins.
If you live in New Hampshire, visit one of Center for Vein Restoration’s two locations to receive state-of-the-art vein care. Request a consultation with Dr. Normand Miller, MD, FACS, RPVT, RVT, at Center for Vein Restoration’s Nashua or Salem location today.
410 Amherst Street, Suite 200
Nashua, NH 03063
224 Main St., Suite 1-D
Salem, NH 03079