Diet And Vein Health – How The Food You Eat Impacts On Vein Health

Just as the food you eat can impact your overall health, it can also affect your vein health. But while eating a good diet won’t eradicate existing conditions such as varicose veins, good nutrition can and will stop them from getting worse.

So how do the foods you eat impact your vein health? Let’s take a closer look…

Being a healthy weight can reduce undue strain on your veins arteries and capillaries. Moreover, healthy eating can also give you more energy which in turn gives you the fuel you need to stay active. It’s a well-known fact that regular physical activity can improve  symptoms like venous leg swelling and cramping. Finally, the right diet can also help with blood circulation which can also help to keep venous insufficiency at bay.

Now you have a handle on why healthy eating is important to control vein disease, let’s address what particular foods are good for varicose veins.

Foods That Help or Prevent Vein Problems

A good diet for vein health should consist of…

Fresh fruit and veg

As a general rule of thumb, the more colorful and vibrant the food, the better it is. A mixture of raw and cooked fruit and veg is best. Foods like…

Leafy greens such as broccoli, spinach, and kale all pack a punch and are high in fiber while citrus fruits provide vitamin C. Regular doses of Vit C help to improve the blood flow while maintaining collagen levels enabling veins to maintain elasticity

Fiber-Rich Foods

Fiber-rich foods can help to manage cholesterol levels which in turn can help to manage optimal blood pressure. Good sources of fiber include:

  • Leafy greens such as broccoli, spinach, and kale
  • Whole grains including barley, oatmeal, brown rice, and popped corn
  • Seeds, nuts, and legumes including lentils, walnuts, chia seeds, and chickpeas

Vitamin E rich foods

While it’s known that vitamin E can improve blood flow, it’s also thought to help in the prevention of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Vitamin E rich foods include:

  • Nuts – particularly hazelnuts, brazil nuts, and peanuts
  • Avocados – Delicious smashed up on brown toast for a healthy snack
  • Pumpkin – Great in stews, casseroles, and even roasted as a side dish
  • Fish including salmon and trout

Foods containing omega 3

Omega 3 are fatty acids known for stimulating blood flow. It can also be used to help in the breakdown of potentially dangerous blood clots. You can find Omega 3 in the following foods

  • Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
  • Plant-based oils including flaxseed, canola, and soybean
  • Vitamin enriched or fortified foods such as eggs, yogurt, milk, and soy beverages
  • Nuts and seeds such as chia seeds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds

A good diet for vein health should consist of…

Fresh fruit and veg

As a general rule of thumb, the more colorful and vibrant the food, the better it is. A mixture of raw and cooked fruit and veg is best. Foods like…

Leafy greens such as broccoli, spinach, and kale all pack a punch and are high in fiber while citrus fruits provide vitamin C. Regular doses of Vit C help to improve the blood flow while maintaining collagen levels enabling veins to maintain elasticity

Fiber-Rich Foods

Fiber-rich foods can help to manage cholesterol levels which in turn can help to manage optimal blood pressure. Good sources of fiber include:

  • Leafy greens such as broccoli, spinach, and kale
  • Whole grains including barley, oatmeal, brown rice, and popped corn
  • Seeds, nuts, and legumes including lentils, walnuts, chia seeds, and chickpeas

Vitamin E rich foods

While it’s known that vitamin E can improve blood flow, it’s also thought to help in the prevention of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Vitamin E rich foods include:

  • Nuts – particularly hazelnuts, brazil nuts, and peanuts
  • Avocados – Delicious smashed up on brown toast for a healthy snack
  • Pumpkin – Great in stews, casseroles, and even roasted as a side dish
  • Fish including salmon and trout

Foods containing omega 3

Omega 3 are fatty acids known for stimulating blood flow. It can also be used to help in the breakdown of potentially dangerous blood clots. You can find Omega 3 in the following foods

  • Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
  • Plant-based oils including flaxseed, canola, and soybean
  • Vitamin enriched or fortified foods such as eggs, yogurt, milk, and soy beverages
  • Nuts and seeds such as chia seeds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds

Other foods and drinks

Green or herbal tea is known to contain epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG for short. This is a natural antioxidant that helps to prevent cell damage so it’s proven to have excellent healing properties.

Chocolate – Okay, so perhaps this needs to be taken in moderation but chocolate is known to contain polyphenols which aid the body in forming nitric acid. This is a compound that causes blood vessels to dilate and blood to flow more freely, so again, it’s good for maintaining vein health.

So now we know what foods and food types you should be eating for vein health…

What about the ones you need to avoid or take in moderation?

Here are some examples…

Sodium

A high sodium diet (that is a diet that contains more than 2300 mg of sodium per day) is one of the main causes of fluid retention. Retained fluids can place added pressure on working veins thus increasing the likelihood of vein damage.

Sugar

As with sodium (salt), the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a limit. That limit is 36 grams of sugar for men and 25 grams for women. Sugary foods contribute to weight gain which in turn can lead to diabetes – another known contributing factor for vein disease.

Just like sodium, sugar is hidden in all sorts of foods. Things like pasta sauces, salad dressings, and even flour tortillas tend to contain hidden sugar so it’s well worth checking the labels first to ensure you remain within your allowed daily intake.

Unhealthy Fats

Not all fat is bad for vein health. Natural or plant-based fats found in foods like olive oil, canola oil, salmon, nuts, and avocado can help to improve or maintain healthy veins. However, if you over-consume animal-based saturated fats and trans fats they could have the opposite effect. Overindulgence in these fats can increase harmful cholesterol levels (LDL’s) in the bloodstream while decreasing good cholesterol (HDL’s). This can be a contributing factor to poor vein health.

If you’re not sure which are good fats and which are bad fats then as a general rule of thumb, most saturated and trans fats like butter, lard and shortening are solid at room temperature, while good fats like olive and canola oil remain in liquid form.

Fast foods including pizza

Most fast foods (e.g. the types you get from a takeaway restaurant) contain large quantities of sodium, sugar, and trans fats. Inevitably, the vast majority are also calorie-laden. This is a double whammy for vein health.

As a top tip, if you do have a penchant for the odd takeaway try to choose a salad topped with lean protein and avoid the fries and shakes. Alternatively, you can always make your own. This way you get to control the sodium, sugar, and fat levels that go into making it.

Foods that cause constipation

Constipation can also cause weakened veins so if you do struggle with digestive issues you may want to avoid certain dairy products and red meats. These food types are known to worsen or cause constipation.

What about hydration for healthy veins?

Along with consuming the right foods, hydration is very important to maintain vein health, Drinking enough water helps to thin the blood allowing it to move efficiently through the body.

So, how much water do you need?

This depends on a set of criteria determined by your current age and weight and whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding. However as a general rule of thumb, experts recommend drinking eight x 8-ounce glasses of water per day – that’s around 1.8 liters per person, per day. 

So there you have it…everything you need to know about diet and vein health.

If you do find yourself with the onset of vein problems, then it’s never too late to seek help. Here at Midwest Institute of Non-Surgical Technology (MINT), we’re a comprehensive vein treatment center treating everything from common spider and varicose veins through to deep and pelvic vein problems using the very latest techniques and treatments. Contact Dr. Akinwande and the team today and let’s talk about your options.

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