What causes varicose veins? The main job of veins is to pump blood back to the heart after it has circulated through your body. Varicose veins develop when valves within the veins are damaged or weakened. Weakened valves make it hard for the vein to pump blood back to the heart.
There are many reasons people get vein diseases including inactivity, hormones (especially during pregnancy), genetics, obesity, and simply aging. The good news is the development of varicose veins can sometimes be prevented or at least reduced by eating a vein-healthy diet. But what does that look like? Here are some fruits and vegetables to add to your diet that will help to reduce the risk of developing varicose veins:
Rutin Tootin’ Fruits
The most beneficial foods for varicose veins are those that contain rutin. Rutin is a flavonoid. Flavonoids help regulate cellular activity and fight off free radicals that cause oxidative stress on your body. In plain English, they help your body function more efficiently while protecting it against everyday toxins. They are also good at lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as strengthening capillaries that are weak and most likely to develop varicose veins. Flavonoids are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antithrombotic (help to prevent blood clots). Fruits that contain rutin include:
Veg It Up!
Almost all vegetables are healthy, but there are a number of vegetables that are known to be vein friendly. Find a way to add these veggies to your menu:
Asparagus is a great source of fiber and is full of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A,C,E & K, folate, chromium, calcium, niacin, amino acids and phosphorus. Toss it in a salad or grill it for a delicious side.
Avocados (which are technically a fruit) are full of vitamins C & E as well as glutathione which protects arteries and veins.
Beets are filled with a phytochemical compound called betacyanin that helps lower the levels of a naturally-occurring amino acids in your body. Amino acids can sometimes damage blood vessels. Beetroot juice is rich in nitrates, which opens up blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.
Black olives and capers are a good source of rutin (see above under fruit).
Kale and collard greens are leafy greens that provide magnesium that can manage blood circulation and blood flow.
Watercress is another leafy green that is rich in vitamin K and high in B1, B2, B6, C, E manganese, and carotenes. It also provides iron, calcium, copper, and fiber nutrition. It has a slightly peppery taste that makes it a delicious addition to salads, sandwiches, or other dishes.
Spice Up Your Life!
Besides fruits and veggies, there are a couple of spices that you can easily add to your diet that will greatly benefit your veins:
Ginger is an anti-inflammatory that helps improve blood flow and dissolves fibrin in blood vessels. Fibrin causes veins to become hard and lumpy. Fibrin is difficult for the body to break down, so ginger is a great addition to your diet. Fresh ginger is the best option as it has more concentrated volumes of its beneficial parts.
Rosemary is a great herb to add to your diet because it contains a compound called rosmarinic acid that helps protect your tissues from free radicals. Rosemary can stimulate blood circulation, so it’s highly recommended for varicose veins.
Whether you’re seeking relief from discomfort, fatigue or unsightliness of spider or varicose veins, the Vein Clinic of Greater Kansas City works to deliver maximum results with minimum recovery time. We’ll get you back on your legs…and back to living. Contact us today for an office visit! Our vein doctor, Craig Barbieri, M.D., is board-certified in phlebology and has practiced in the Kansas City area since 1997. As director of the AestheticKC, Dr. Barbieri also brings years of experience in aesthetic procedures & experience that is especially valuable when dealing with the medical and cosmetic concerns associated with spider and varicose veins in Overland Park, Kansas City, Liberty, MO, and the KC metro.