It is common knowledge that your dietary choices affect many aspects of your health and general wellbeing. New studies suggest that what you eat also affects the severity of varicose veins symptoms by aggravating the risk factors, interfering with proper blood circulation, or directly impeding blood flow in the veins.
The items you eat can either make existing vein problems worse or improve your vascular function and ultimately reduce the severity of varicose veins.
Foods that make varicose veins worse
Considering that being overweight is a risk factor for varicose veins, any foods that cause you to add weight also increase your risk of venous problems. These include:
- Refined starches
- Soda and alcohol
- Dairy products including whole milk
- High-sugar foods
- Oily foods
You can avoid weight gain by consuming nutritious foods and counting your daily calorie intake. You should also be careful about consuming foods that increase water retention, because it increases pressure on the veins. This can cause the veins to swell and the valves to get damaged, allowing blood to pool and form varicose veins.
Some of the foods that increase water retention and should be avoided include:
- Processed meats
- Canned foods
- Many types of cheeses
- Other salty foods
In addition, you should avoid foods that increase the risk of constipation, as it makes you more likely to getting hemorrhoids, or swollen veins in the anal canal. This can also cause damage to veins in your lower legs, resulting in the formation of varicose veins. Consider reducing your intake of red meat, chocolate, dairy products, bananas, and refined starches, while increasing your intake of foods rich in fiber, such as legumes, fruits and veggies, whole grains, and drinking lots of water.
Foods that provide relief for varicose veins
Besides avoiding the foods mentioned above, consider increasing your dietary intake of leafy green vegetables; fruits and vegetables rich in anti-inflammatory vitamins C and E; and natural diuretics that help to flush away water, like cucumbers, asparagus, celery, and herbs.
Although maintaining the right diet can reduce the risk for venous problems, varicose veins are largely hereditary, so you cannot prevent them completely. If your varicose veins are painful or a cosmetic concern, please visit a nearby vein specialist for diagnosis and discussion of minimally invasive treatments that can help your case.