Think diet doesn’t affect your venous health? Think again! If you have tired, achy legs, you could be suffering from varicose veins. Varicose veins can be hereditary or they can be caused by gender, pregnancy or spending a lot of time on your feet—but there are changes you can make to your diet to improve the health of your veins. Here are 4 tips to help keep your veins healthy:
1. Amp Up the Antioxidants
Load up on antioxidant-rich food to improve the function of your vascular system. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables provides vitamins C, E and K, giving your body nourishment for healthy veins. Vitamin C helps to build and protect strong blood vessels which can help some of the problems associated with varicose veins.
Berries are a great source of antioxidants—and, luckily, they’re tasty! Add some blueberries to your oatmeal to start the day or toss some strawberries in your salad at lunch. Raspberries and blackberries also make for a yummy afternoon snack.
2. Fill Up on Fiber
A high-fiber diet consisting of fruits, vegetables and grains promotes healthy digestion and keeps the bowels regular. A low-fiber diet, on the other hand, could result in pressure in the abdomen which obstructs the healthy flow of blood in the legs. Over time, this can weaken the vein walls and contribute to varicose veins or other health issues.
Fill up on fiber-rich grains to reach a suggested intake of 21-25 grams per day for women and 30-38 grams per day for men. Make sure you choose whole wheat varieties of bread or pasta instead of the enriched flour counterparts for maximum health benefits. Other super sources of grain-based fibers include oatmeal, barley, brown rice and air-popped popcorn.
3. Refills, Please!
We all know that drinking water is important for our health, but keeping hydrated can help with symptoms of varicose veins. Water is an important part of your diet, especially if you’re eating enough fiber. Water helps fiber do its job by flushing out the system and reducing any cramping or bloating.