What Foods are Good for Veins?
Did you know that your vascular system has over 60,000 miles of blood vessels that transport blood throughout the body?
As we age, these blood vessels are susceptible to some complications that can affect circulation and prevent nutrient-rich blood from reaching vital organs, like the brain. A poor diet can accelerate this aging process, leading to some to vein disease, which can be life-threatening.
Eating a healthy diet is not only crucial for your overall health, but it’s also important for your veins, too. A well-balanced diet along with some key nutrients can help improve vein health.
Eating a Balanced Diet
There’s a bit of controversy around what exactly a balanced diet is. But most doctors will agree that there are a few ingredients that are necessary to keep your veins as healthy as possible and may allow you to live a longer life. Some of the most important nutrients include:
- Vitamin C
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- Dietary Fiber
Vitamin C is an incredibly powerful antioxidant that helps the immune system clean up toxins known as free radicals that accelerate the aging process. Free radicals are the result of the metabolic processes your cells go through on a daily basis. Vitamin C is also a nutrient required to make collagen, a protein that is one of the building blocks of your veins and arteries, among other things. Vitamin C can be found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables like:
- Red peppers
- Lemons and limes
- Berries like cherries and raspberries
All of our cells have a lining or membrane made of fat, including the cells that make up the walls of your veins, as well as the organs and other tissues in your body. In fact, your brain is about 60 percent fat. Omega 3 fatty acids give the veins and arteries their resilience and flexibility. This makes omega three fatty acids a vital nutrient to help your veins (and you) maintain their vitality. Omega 3s can be found in foods such as:
- Wild-caught fatty fish such as sardines or salmon
- Fish oil supplements, including cod liver oil
- A variety of nuts and seeds like cashews, macadamia nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds
Although it doesn’t affect the veins directly, dietary fiber does help prevent the formation of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and heart disease. It also helps slow down the metabolism of processed sugars which increase the risk of heart attack and death. Dietary fiber can be found in all fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains.
Water is vital to all life, and our bodies are made up of about 80 percent water. It’s no wonder then that drinking plenty of water can help keep your veins and arteries in excellent condition and prevent vein disease. A good rule of thumb is to drink eight glasses of water a day, or 64 ounces.
You should also start your day with water. Before eating breakfast, drink at least eight ounces to rehydrate after a good night’s rest and give your metabolism a boost. Also, keep a bottle of water with you at all times. You’re more likely to drink water if that’s all you have on you.
Bioflavonoids, also known as vitamin P, may help reduce some of the pain and decrease the swelling from varicose veins while strengthening the connective tissue in the cell walls. Vegetables and fruits are some of the best options for getting a healthy dose of bioflavonoids. Some of the best choices include:
- Sweet and bell peppers (especially red)
- All citrus fruits
- Brussels sprouts
- Teas (such as green and black teas)
- Mangoes, papaya, and other tropical fruits
When eating most fruits and veggies, it’s best to eat them raw to get the full benefit. There is also a difference in nutritional content among canned, fresh, cooked and frozen vegetables and fruits.
Frozen fruits and vegetables tend to have a much higher nutritional content since they are usually frozen right after harvest. Fresh veggies are not always as nutritious as frozen ones because they are typically several days old by the time you purchase them. Many cooked vegetables have even less nutritional content because of the high heat.
Other Varicose Vein Treatments
Eating a balanced diet can help improve your health and longevity. But while there are a variety of foods that may help improve varicose veins, sometimes a few extra servings of vegetables won’t always cut it. Luckily, there are a variety of treatments for varicose veins and vein disease, no matter what your diet looks like.
If you have varicose veins or suffer from vein disease, contact a vein doctor in Saint Louis, MO. The Sheen Vein Institute can help you get rid of ugly (and painful) varicose veins at either of our two locations in South County and West County. Call today to learn more.