Sara Cook, Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach
Varicose veins start to appear as we get older. They are not a risk to our health but could be a sign of chronic circulatory problems or heart problems. Varicose veins are primarily caused because of poor circulation, they develop when a vein wall weakens and stretches. That weakening affects the small valves within each vein that keeps the blood flowing toward the heart. As a result, the blood is trapped in the vein, and the vein bulges. The pooled blood can also flood the tinier "spider veins" located near the skin's surface. This means the vein will become useless, might cause pain, and make our legs look horrible. Let's look at some natural ways to help prevent varicose veins and alleviate any discomfort.
The first thing you should do is get on a good diet. Diet is important to your overall health. Make sure you are getting enough fiber. A high-fiber diet helps prevent straining of your stool, which can build up pressure and aggravate varicose veins. The recommended amount of fiber is 20 grams per day. To accomplish this, build your meals around whole grains (wheat), figs, peas, raisins, currents, prunes, legumes, fruits and vegetables, adding these foods to your diet as often as possible.
Eat more ginger, garlic and onions. These foods help break down the fibrin surrounding the varicose veins. People with varicose veins have a decreased ability to break down this substance. Fibrin is an insoluble protein involved in blood clotting. When an injury occurs fibrin is deposited around the wound in mesh form, which then hardens and clots the blood.
These potent antioxidants quench harmful free radicals that may weaken the walls of blood vessels. Flavonoids also enhance the way the body uses vitamin C. Get your flavonoids by eating broccoli, grapefruit, onion, blueberries, carrots, tomatoes, pomegranates, limes, soybeans, oranges, lemons, and apples.
Vitamin C teams up with flavonoids and vitamin E to help bolster the walls of arteries, veins, and the microscopic blood vessels between arteries and veins, called capillaries. The leading food sources of vitamin C are found in red cabbage, potatoes, strawberries, oranges, tangerines and mandarins, red bell peppers, and kiwi fruit.
Vitamin E may enhance blood circulation and fortify the weakened walls and vessels that characterize varicose veins. For the best sources of vitamin E, eat broccoli, avocados, sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, peanuts, almonds, and mangoes.
Foods to avoid
Sugar, salt, alcohol, fried foods, processed and refined foods, simple carbohydrates, artificial sweeteners, pizza, caffeine, diet sodaâ€™s, desserts, coffee, and non-organic meats and poultry. These foods only cause health problems and damage our veins. These foods are high in cholesterol (LDL) levels, which could cause our body to have high cholesterol and block our veins. Sugar and bad oils increase LDL levels.
Other ways to prevent varicose veins
â€¢ Donâ€™t wear tight undergarments or stockings. When you wear extremely tight stockings on your legs or tight clothes around your groin you are causing blood to not circulate as freely.
â€¢ Get some exercise. If you exercise at least 30 minutes, 3 times a day, you are doing your body a big favor. Exercise gets your blood flowing and increases oxygen to your blood. Walking, jump rope, swimming, and bicycling are the best exercises to consider if you have varicose veins.
â€¢ Sitting down. If you sit down most of the day you should get up every hour and get your legs moving. Maybe walk down the hall or up the stairs. Keeping your legs still will not allow the blood to circulate.
â€¢ Standing up. If you stand up for long periods of time it can cause the blood to not flow properly.
â€¢ Wearing graduated compression stockings during pregnancy are shown to be helpful in preventing varicose veins.
â€¢ Cross your ankles, not your knees.
â€¢ Elevate your feet whenever possible.
â€¢ Lose weight. People who have excess weight are more likely to get varicose veins because they often have less muscle and tissue tone, this makes the vein walls weak, which can cause the varicose veins. Here at Caring Medical we have a weight loss program. Get a Diet Typing test and we can get you on the right diet for your body chemistry. Call us for an appointment!
â€¢ Rub your legs with some sort of soothing lotion such as St John's Wort oil, lanolin, or massage oil will relax the leg muscles and improve circulation. Gently massaging with an upward motion with your palms or fingertips and occasionally squeezing your legs will help force blood out of the veins in your legs and back to the heart.
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