Have you ever thought about how the food you eat affects your vein health?
When it comes to vein health, most people don’t immediately think of their circulatory system. However, if you were to stretch out your circulatory system into a straight line, you would travel 60,000 miles to get from one end to the other.
Take a moment to think about that — 60,000 miles of arteries, veins, and blood vessels all contained within your body. These thousands of miles of “stuff” play a vital role in the function of your body, specifically circulating oxygen and blood from all over your body back up to your heart.
Yet people focus on how their diet affects their weight, energy, etc., and veins are rarely included. And the older you get, the more at risk you become for issues developing within that mile-after-mile of your circulatory system. While you may be thinking: “How bad can that be? So maybe my legs go numb after sitting quicker than they used to,” the truth is that the issues start small, but can grow into major hazards if not handled.
We are here to tell you to start thinking about how what you’re putting into your belly impacts your vein health. So, today we are sharing the foods you should be consuming to keep your veins in tip-top shape.
Before we do, let’s talk about why your veins are so important in the first place.
Why You Should Care About Your Vein Health
Veins are one of those things that you don’t think about until something goes wrong.
So, if you don’t suffer from vein disease, chances are good you’ve never really put much thought into your veins. However, if you aren’t on top of keeping your veins healthy, they may at some point become a problem. Then you may be forced to think about them all the time.
How do you know if you’re at risk of developing vein issues such as varicose veins?
Here are the top 5 varicose vein risk factors:
- Obesity. Weight puts a great deal of pressure on your veins.
- Age. While older people aren’t the only ones to develop vein problems, they are more likely.
- Genes. If mom and grandma had vein problems, chances are good you will too.
- Hormones. Pregnancy and other major hormone shifts in your body can lead to vein issues.
- Sedentary Lifestyle. Sitting or standing for long periods causes your veins to work overtime.
Rather than waiting for your veins to become a problem, let’s learn a bit about them now to hopefully prevent any issues from arising.
The Role of Your Veins
So, now that we’ve convinced you that your veins are important, we will prove it.
Your veins are what transfers oxygen and nutrients throughout your body via your blood. The blood that your arteries pump to all parts of your body has to make its way back up to your heart somehow. And that “somehow” is via your veins.
With damaged veins, getting blood back up to your heart becomes a struggle. You can imagine the havoc that wreaks on the rest of your body (think deep vein thrombosis, and worse).
Thus, the importance of keeping your veins healthy.
There are several ways that you can work to keep your veins healthy, such as:
- Keeping a healthy weight
- Exercising regularly
- Staying away from wearing clothes that are especially tight on your waist and thighs
- Avoiding spending excess time wearing high heels
In addition to the above (and one of the most important ways), you can keep your veins healthy by eating proper food.
What to Eat to Keep Your Veins Healthy
1. Foods rich in fiber
Fiber is integral to your digestion, and thus what helps you maintain a healthy weight. A healthy weight reduces your risk of developing varicose veins or lessens the issue veins you may already have.
Obesity is one of the top things putting people at risk of varicose veins.
How is that?
Extra weight puts extra pressure on your veins. This can cause your veins to become damaged and develop clots and varicose veins. Work to keep that from happening by introducing more fiber into your diet. Not only will fiber help keep your weight at a healthy place, but it will also help keep your cholesterol lower.
Rather than opt for supplements or other pills to get more fiber, it is best to simply add more fiber-rich foods to your diet.
Some of our favorite fiber-rich foods include:
- Brown rice
- Leafy greens
Women want to aim to get 20-25 grams of fiber per day, and men 30-38 grams. Here are a couple of other tricks to include more fiber in your day:
Swap out white flour for whole wheat flour that has naturally occurring fiber (as well as other vitamins, minerals, and proteins your body needs).
Swap out sugary snacks (hello mid-afternoon candy bar!) for fruit. You’ll gain benefits not only from the fiber but also from the antioxidants that the fruit contains.
2. Foods low in sodium
Some salt is good for you, but not too much. If you’re consuming too much sodium, your body will retain water. This makes it harder for fluids to run through your veins.
So, aim to stay away from consuming too many high-sodium foods.
3. Foods rich in vitamin C
Vitamin C is great for you for several reasons, but one of them is keeping your veins healthy.
This essential vitamin keeps your veins full of collagen and elasticity.
As a result, your veins are more flexible and able to contract and dilate, which allows the blood to flow through properly. And, as you learned above, that is crucial to your overall health. When your body is running low on vitamin C, your veins are weakened and are not as flexible. And, luckily, vitamin C is fairly easy to work into your daily life.
Some of our favorite vitamin C rich foods include:
- Dark leafy greens
- Brussels sprouts
- Bell peppers
4. Foods rich in vitamin E
Blood clotting a.ka. Deep Vein Thrombosis is a vein disease that pops up when your deep muscles develop a blood clot. And, as we mentioned above, DVT can cause some serious problems for your body.
However, there’s a way that you can help combat the onset of blood clots — by increasing your vitamin E intake. Vitamin E works to prevent your blood platelets from sticking together, which is what causes clotting. So, it’s a good idea to put more vitamin E into your body.
Some of our favorite vitamin E rich foods include:
- Olive oil
- Dark leafy greens
5. Foods rich in rutin
While the word “rutin” may be new to you, you are not a stranger to the foods in which rutin is found. Rutin is first and foremost a flavinoid that provides color to things such as berries. It is also an antioxidant that serves as a key player in reducing inflammation caused by damaged veins, and can even work to help prevent blood clots. Pretty amazing, right? So where do you find this rutin stuff?
Some of our favorite rutin-rich foods include:
- Apple peels
- Rooibos or green tea
- Citrus zest
Tie It All Together With Water
There is no denying that drinking water is great for you.
According to the CDC, water helps your body:
- Keep your temperature normal
- Lubricate and cushion joints
- Protect your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues
- Get rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements
- Ensuring you are drinking enough water is the key to helping your body keep a healthy balance of fluids.
This balance allows you to properly digest food and keeps your body working as it should be. This includes your veins.
Make sure you keep sipping on that water throughout the day to keep your veins healthy and happy, and your entire body will thank you.
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Medically Reviewed By:
Dr. Yan Katsnelson is a philanthropist, business owner, and highly skilled cardiac surgeon. He is the Founder and CEO of USA Vein Clinics, which is part of USA Clinics Group, the parent company of USA Fibroid Centers, USA Vascular Centers, and USA Oncology Centers, with more than 100 facilities nationwide. Dr. Yan has established himself as a strong advocate for accessibility and affordability of the most advanced medical care close to home. His mission is to create a positive experience for each patient with compassionate, personalized, and expert care.