Your veins play an essential role in your cardiovascular health, carrying blood from all parts of your body back to your heart and lungs. It makes sense that you’d want to do all you can to keep them healthy. Although there’s plenty of advice on what to eat to keep your heart healthy, a lot of people don’t know that their diet can help them keep their veins healthy, too.
At Desert West Vein & Surgery Center, Atur Kasha, DO, helps patients play a proactive role in their vein health with a combination of screening, medical treatment, and lifestyle changes, including improvements in diet. Here’s how you can “tweak” your eating plan to support optimal vein health — and reduce your risks of varicose veins, too.
Adding more of these important foods is important for supporting healthy veins, and it could help you avoid serious circulation problems, like chronic venous insufficiency, a common cause of leg pain.
Most colorful fruits and vegetables are rich sources of antioxidants, natural substances that help prevent cellular damage and death. In general, the deeper the color, the more antioxidants contained in that particular fruit or vegetable. Good sources include:
Some nuts, like pecans and walnuts, are also rich in antioxidants, and so is dark chocolate — just don’t overdo it.
Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes are chock full of vitamin C, an important vitamin for healthy veins. Citrus juices are fine, too, but avoid any with added sugars. Ideally, you should opt for whole fruits, since these also include a healthy dose of fiber. Not a fan of citrus? Strawberries, kiwi, and broccoli are also good sources of vitamin C.
Speaking of fiber, whole grains are a great source of bulk fiber, important for managing cholesterol levels and helping you keep your blood pressure in a healthy range. Fiber keeps your digestive system happy, too. Better digestion allows important nutrients to be better absorbed by your veins, making it easier for the good nutrients to benefit your veins.
A recent study found that people who had higher levels of calcium in their blood also tended to be less affected by varicose veins. Cheese and fermented dairy products seem to have especially high benefits for vein health.
A recent study found that both of these foods — soy foods and eggs — were associated with a lower risk of chronic venous insufficiency. That might be because both of these foods contain high levels of zinc, which another study found to be associated with a reduced risk of varicose veins. (Just remember: For eggs, opt for boiled or poached, not fried.)
When it comes to healthy veins, what you don’t eat is just as important as what you do eat. Here’s what to cut out of your diet.
The same study that found soy and eggs to be beneficial also found a link between fried foods and an increased risk of vein disease. Avoid fried foods, including deep-fried foods and fried desserts, like fritters and donuts.
Though your body certainly needs some sodium, too much salt can raise your blood pressure, increasing your risks of vein damage, heart attacks, and stroke. Fast foods and processed foods are often quite high in sodium, so read food labels and stick with home cooking, where you control the ingredients.
Unhealthy fats — specifically, saturated fats and trans fatty acids — contribute to atherosclerosis or “hardening” of the arteries, and they interfere with vein health, too. Atherosclerosis is a major cause of high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes.
Fast foods typically are high in unhealthy fats, processed carbohydrates, sugars, and salt. Do some meal planning and prep, and you won’t need to rely on fast food joints when time is limited.
Eating a healthy diet is one way to support vein health and improve your overall health in the bargain. To learn what else you can do to improve vein health or to schedule an evaluation of your veins, book an appointment online or over the phone with Dr. Kasha at one of our two El Paso, Texas, locations today.