Can You Combat Varicose Veins with Exercise?

Get healthy veins with healthy diet

We all know a nutritious and healthy diet is a cornerstone of good health. If you have venous insufficiency, you might want to know if vein health can be improved with diet? The answer is yes, it can!

The right foods and supplements can support blood vessels and capillaries, improve blood circulation and minimize any pressure on veins. In fact, the right diet can even help prevent the symptoms venous insufficiency from occurring. 

With obesity being a risk factor for the development of chronic venous conditions, the standard Western diet – considered a key driving force behind obesity – poses a problem for vein health. 

Before we explore the power of diet and supplements in bettering vein health, it’s important to note that venous insufficiency can’t be treated by diet alone. But it can help you improve your symptoms. 

With that being said, Artemis is a well known Vein & Aesthetic treatment center in Westminster, Co.

 

What is Chronic Venous Insufficiency? 

Chronic venous insufficiency is a common condition in the US, with around 20% of American adults dealing with a form of varicose veins.

Chronic venous insufficiency happens when your leg veins stop letting the blood flow back up to your heart. Instead, the blood can flow backward and pool into your legs, causing spider or varicose veins to appear. 

Venous insufficiency can lead to serious health problems. For a lot of people, varicose and spider veins remain a cosmetic issue. But in others, venous insufficiency can be painful and problematic. 

Symptoms of vein disease 

  • Spider veins
  • Varicose veins
  • Swelling in your legs or ankles
  • Tightness in calves
  • Itchiness and/or pain in legs
  • Dark spots
  • Ulcers on legs that are hard to treat
  • Achiness in legs
  • Heaviness
  • Cramping 
  • Restless legs syndrome (overwhelming urge to move your legs) 

 

What Causes Chronic Venous Insufficiency? 

Several factors can contribute to venous insufficiency. These include: 

  • Obesity 
  • Genetics
  • History of deep vein thrombosis in your legs
  • Age 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Standing or sitting down for long periods 
  • Smoking

 

The Role of Diet and Supplements in Improving Chronic Venous Insufficiency

So, how can diet help? What should we be eating to improve our vein health

  • Foods rich in fiber 

Western diets are known for being pretty low in fiber. Yet, fiber is essential for digestion and maintaining a healthy weight. Too much weight can put strain on our veins, and so can constipation, which fiber is great at preventing. 

Remember, women need to get about 20-25g of fiber per day, and men about 30-38g of it. Getting more fiber in your diet can be as simple as swapping white wheat flour for wholewheat flour, or swapping sugary sweets for fruit. 

You can get more fiber by eating foods like: 

  • Oatmeal
  • Wholegrains
  • Beans and lentils
  • Brown rice
  • Vegetables and fruit
  • Popcorn 
  • Nuts

 

 

  • Add flavonoids

Foods and supplements packed with flavonoids strengthen your blood vessels. Rutin, in particular, has been found to help fight spider veins and varicose veins in several ways.

Rutin can thin the blood to enhance circulation while strengthening the blood vessels to protect them against damage. You can spot foods high in flavonoids by their bright vivid colors. 

Here are some examples of foods high in flavonoids: 

  • Tea (green, black and oolong)
  • Red and green peppers
  • Citrus fruits 
  • Berries
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli 
  • Apple
  • Buckwheat (considered one of the best sources of rutin) 
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Apricots
  • Blackberries
  • Avocados

You can also take bioflavonoid supplements! 

 

  • Eat potassium-rich foods 

Potassium is essential for vein health. This mineral prevents blood vessel walls from thickening and it protects vessels from any oxidative damage. 

Low potassium can also cause water retention and constipation – both of which can add pressure to your veins and weaken them. 

When people hear potassium, they immediately think of bananas. Bananas are a great source of potassium! However, there are other foods out there too. 

Foods that are high in potassium (aside from bananas):

  • Watermelon and melon
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Oranges
  • Tomatoes
  • Beans and legumes
  • Nuts

 

 

  • Drink more water 

Of course, drinking water is essential for good health. You can’t get around it, so fill up your glass and get sipping. 

Drinking more water supports better vein health by thinning the blood and keeping it moving freely. When you’re dehydrated, your blood tends to be thicker, and that puts stress on veins and increases the chances of clotting. For the people of Colorado, its an important factor since the weather there is so dry.

Don’t forget to stay hydrated throughout the day. 

 

  • Take your vitamins 

Vitamins can be helpful for vein health too and are easy to take each day (no meal planning involved). 

Vitamin C is responsible for producing collagen, and collagen helps maintain strong, flexible veins while repairing any existing damage to them. You can take a supplement or eat foods full of vitamin C, like oranges, berries and tomatoes. 

Vitamin E and B vitamins can prevent blood clotting, which people with varicose veins are at an increased risk of. B vitamins are capable of strengthening and repairing damaged veins too. Both have the potential to relieve leg cramps and discomfort. 

If supplements aren’t appealing, vitamin E can be found in foods like sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, avocados and olive oil. Examples of foods rich in B vitamins include fish and meats, grains, tofu, chickpeas and spinach.

 

Foods To Avoid

Unfortunately, the typical American diet involves lots of fat and a ton of salt. A diet like this leads to obesity which, as we mentioned earlier, can be a cause of venous insufficiency. High-fat and high-salt diets lead to extra weight and water retention. The result? Pressure on your veins. 

So if you have venous insufficiency, or you want to prevent venous insufficiency, avoid high-fat and high-salt diets. These can thicken your blood and make symptoms extra troubling. 

You can check for excessive salt by looking at the nutritional information on packaged foods. You might be surprised to learn how many ‘innocent’ foods actually contain too much salt. 

Along with high fat and salt, you should avoid: 

  • Fried foods
  • Added sugars (these spike your blood sugar which isn’t great for circulation) 
  • Alcohol (dehydration can thicken the blood) 

 

Treating Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Yes, diet is incredibly important for your vein health. But if you’re already struggling with chronic venous insufficiency and feel optimistic that your diet will remove varicose or spider veins, we’re sorry to say, it won’t. 

The best treatments for chronic venous insufficiency are performed by your doctor in-office. These include groundbreaking procedures like laser ablation and phlebectomy. 

 

Get Your Varicose or Spider Veins Treated at Artemis in Westminster, Colorado 

Our vein specialist, Dr. Pinsinski, is an expert at reducing the appearance and symptoms of varicose and spider veins. He offers a range of treatments to help you achieve the best outcomes for your situation. 

Are you fed up with dealing with chronic venous insufficiency and the symptoms that go along with it? There are effective solutions available and we’d be happy to discuss them with you. 

Get in touch with our reputable vein treatment center to discover how we can help you enjoy greater vein health.