When it comes to keeping your veins healthy and beautiful, making good lifestyle choices goes a long way.
If you’re one of the more than 40 million Americans struggling with varicose veins, you know they can be more than just an aesthetic issue — they can be downright painful. Luckily, there are a number of simple lifestyle changes that can help those afflicted better manage their pain, and even prevent additional varicose veins from developing. Here are five of the most common recommendations we make to our patients to promote all around vein health in both the short and long term.
Unsurprisingly, the food you eat plays a major role in the battle against varicose veins. The good news is that there are a number of simple dietary substitutions you can make to improve blood flow. For example, instead of eating white flour, opt for whole wheat (same goes for pasta). Replace white rice with brown and do your best to keep your intake of processed sugar under control. Naturally occurring sugars from fruits and vegetables are okay, but processed sugar places added stress on your vascular system and can exacerbate issues with varicose veins over time.
Experts also recommend seeking out foods that are rich in “rutin,” which can help keep your circulatory system operating smoothly. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “A number of studies have shown that flavonoids that come from rutin relieve swelling, aching, and pain from varicose veins.” Luckily, most rutin-rich foods, such as buckwheat, blackberries, apples, apricot, and grapes, happen to be delicious as well.
2. Wear Loose Fitting Clothes
While the jury is still out on whether or not there’s a link between “skinny jeans” and varicose veins, one thing is for certain: wearing loose-fitting, comfortable clothing improves your general range of motion and blood flow, both of which are crucial to vein health.
3. Elevate Your Legs
If your job doesn’t entail a great deal of mobility, you should make a concerted effort to change up your position multiple times throughout the day. Sitting or standing in the same position for prolonged periods of time can actually cause blood to pool in the veins in your legs, which over time could cause varicose veins to appear. Make sure that you’re flexing or bending your legs multiple times throughout the day to keep your blood circulating.
Any doctor will tell you that exercise is vital to all aspects of your health; however, when it comes to venous health, don’t think you have to adopt some Schwarzenegger-like routine to make an impact. Keeping your veins healthy can be as painless as taking a 20-minute walk twice weekly, or choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator.
What’s more, regular, moderate physical activity burns excess calories, which helps prevent additional weight gain and can even lead to weight loss. Maintaining a healthy weight will go a long way in preventing vein-related issues — in fact, women who are moderately overweight are 50% more likely to develop varicose veins than women who are not overweight.
5. Compression Stockings
If you suffer from chronic, poor circulation, ask your doctor about compression stockings. These specialized socks, which typically require a prescription, are designed to improve circulation, prevent blood from pooling, and can actually help to reduce the pain and swelling caused by varicose veins.
While all of these steps can help you manage your pain and reduce your chances of developing new varicose veins, unfortunately, they won’t get rid of any that have already formed. Consult a vein specialist for more information about the wide variety of highly effective and minorly invasive treatment options that are available today.