Most people who suffer from varicose veins or spider veins have genetics and heredity to thank. While you have no control over your genetic makeup, you can control things in your environment that can lead to more severe vein problems. Luckily, most of these things are easy to change simply by paying a bit more attention. Here are six simple ways to keep your veins healthy:
1. Start Cutting Those Calories
We will start with the hardest one – changing your eating habits. If you’re overweight, you have probably wanted to do this anyway. Think of your vein condition as just another little voice urging you on. Excess weight stresses veins, making it harder for them to send blood back to your heart.
That makes pressure increase in the valves, making them more prone to leakage, pooling blood, and the bulge associated with varicose veins. You don’t have to go on an extreme diet. Just start making healthier choices one day at a time.
2. Load Up on Vitamin C
Vitamin C is essential to the production of collagen and elastin, which are vital to toning and strengthening your veins. You can take a vitamin, but the best way to get more vitamin C is by eating the right foods. The following foods contain lots of vitamin C, so be sure to eat as many as possible on a daily basis:
- Fruits – oranges, papaya, strawberries, kiwi, mangos, guava and pineapple
- Veggies – kale, bell peppers, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts
3. Increase Fiber Intake
Most of us don’t eat enough fiber, and without it, we get constipated. Constipation leads to straining which, believe it or not, damages the valves in your veins, which makes it hard for them to send blood to your heart. So load up on fiber-rich foods like oats, flaxseed, apples, carrots, peas, barley and beans. Challenge yourself to find new ways to incorporate them into your meals and recipes.
4. Drink More Water!
To make all that fiber work to keep your bowels operating smoothly, it’s essential to drink a lot of water. Shoot for 64 ounces a day. That’s eight, eight-ounce glasses or roughly four 16.9 ounce bottles of water.
If you increase your fiber without increasing your water, it will have the opposite effect and make you even more constipated! Also, make sure the water you drink isn’t minimized by dehydrating drinks like alcohol, soda, coffee and caffeinated tea.
5. Eat More Colorful Foods
Brightly colored fruits and veggies contain compounds known as bioflavonoids.They’re what give these foods their bright color and protect them from insects and microbes. They also have the ability to improve the appearance of varicose veins.
Various studies have found the bioflavonoids can strengthen the walls of blood vessels, as well as obstructing free radical stress inside vessels. Some can even reduce swelling and ease pain. It makes perfect sense, then, to eat lots and lots of them! Try them all and you’re sure to find a few new favorites.
6. Get a “Leg Up” on Travel
Travel can mean you’re likely to be sitting in a car or on a plane for extended periods of time. If you are going to be traveling, follow these tips to make sure the blood flow to your legs isn’t compromised:
- Wear your compression stockings
- Dress in loose, comfortable clothing
- Take regular stretch breaks, preferably in an upright position
- Drink lots of water to stay hydrated – and avoid having a cocktail if you’re flying to your destination. Alcohol is dehydrating.
You can accomplish all of these goals if you just take it one day at a time. The secret is incorporating them into your everyday behavior so they become the new “normal” and your new habits!