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Food Items To Include In Your Diet If You Have Varicose Veins

By Dr. Deepak Kumar Maharana +2 more

Varicose veins, also known as spider veins, varicose or varicosities, are twisted or enlarged veins, occurring mainly in the legs. Varicose veins occur when the veins become dilated, enlarged and overfilled with blood. Varicose veins will typically appear swollen and enlarged, often associated with pain and inflammation. They tend to be blueish purple or red. The condition of varicose veins is rather common, especially among women. Around 25 to 30 per cent of adults suffer from varicose veins, especially in the lower legs.

Regular veins have one-way valves that are designed to block blood from flowing backwards. When regular valves fail to perform as they are supposed to, blood begins to collect in the veins rather than continuing toward your heart. This causes the veins to enlarge. Varicose veins mostly occur in the lower leg area because these veins are the farthest from the heart with gravity making it more difficult for the blood to flow upwards. This disorder will require diagnosis and good treatment. However, in addition to that, your doctor may recommend certain changes in diet and food to help you temporarily deal with the discomfort.


10 Best food Items for people with Varicose Veins

With blood accumulating in your veins, varicose may cause discomfort, inflammation and pain in the affected area. Some of the food habit changes and additions you can inculcate in your diet are as follows:

  1. Beetroot: Research and studies have shown that consuming beets regularly can effectively lower the chances of varicose veins. Beetroots contain a naturally occurring compound called betacyanin. This compound is what majorly contributes to the beautiful red colour of beets. Betacyanin is a phytochemical compound that lowers the levels of homocysteine in the body. Having high levels of homocysteine can damage blood vessels and lead to blood clots. Beets can easily be added to your everyday salads and can be juiced or steamed to be included in your daily diet. 
  2. Ginger: For many centuries, ginger has been used in Indian households as a spice as well as its medicinal properties. It is widely used to lessen the symptoms of varicose because it helps increase blood circulation and dissolves fibrin in the blood vessels. Fresh ginger has a more robust flavour and is said to be more effective in vein health. Ginger can be used as a spice in most Indian dishes. 
  3. Turmeric: Since ancient times, turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine to unclog blood vessels and promote effective blood circulation. Curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, increases the production of nitric oxide, which in turn facilitates better blood flow and circulation.
  4. Apples: Fruits like apples, bananas and pears are high in fibre content. High fibre fruits lower the chances of inflammation and help with your overall health. Apples are high in rutin, a powerful antioxidant compound that helps to keep veins healthy. A quick fruit salad including apples or pears is a healthy option when it comes to lowering symptoms of varicose veins. 
  5. Grapes: Red and purple grapes are loaded with flavonoids and vitamins along with oligomeric proanthocyanidins, also known as OPCs, which some researchers believe could lessen vein and leg swelling.
  6. Cherries: Like apples, cherries are loaded with rutin. Rutin is a flavonoid that helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as keeps your veins healthy. In addition, this flavonoid is also anti-inflammatory, an excellent source of antioxidants and lowers the chance of blood clots.
  7. Raw nuts and seeds: Nuts are rich in niacin and vitamin B3, essential nutrients for blood flow and lowers blood circulation issues. Hemp, sunflower, flax and chia seeds are some foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids and fibre. They are also a good source of anti-inflammatory proteins that help in removing cholesterol and promoting blood flow quality.
  8. Green leafy vegetables: Leafy green vegetables such as kale and lettuce are excellent sources of magnesium, a mineral that plays a key role when it comes to managing blood circulation and blood flow. 
  9. Avocado: Some fats are good for your health and your veins, such as the fats found in avocado. Avocados are also a great source of vitamins C and E, potassium and magnesium. Avocados can be sliced and consumed with toast, can be added to salads or made into guacamole (avocado paste with hot sauce and lime juice).
  10. CinnamonCinnamon is a powerful spice known for regulating blood sugar levels and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes. Other benefits of cinnamon include the ability to increase blood flow and promote circulation. Cinnamon may particularly help blood vessels dilate and widen, which makes it easier for blood to flow throughout your body. 

Flavonoid-rich diets such as green leafy vegetables and grapes may aid in the reduction of varicose veins in some people. Flavonoids may increase blood flow, stopping the blood from pooling in the veins and aiding in its movement. They may also relax blood vessels and lower the blood pressure in the arteries, which may lessen the occurrence of varicose veins.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Foods to avoid while suffering from Varicose Veins:

Apart from seeking medical help to diagnose varicose veins, it is important to maintain a healthy diet to lessen the symptoms of varicose veins from getting worse. Consider the following list to be a guideline of the food that varicose veins should avoid:

  1. Refined carbs: People with varicose vein symptoms should avoid refined carbohydrates or simple carbohydrates as much as possible. They are responsible for chronic diseases and largely contribute to poor vein health. The absence of fibre in refined carbs causes strain during excretion. As a result of this, it causes pressure to build up in the veins of the lower rectum and may damage them.
  2. Canned foods: Canned foods are lined with a chemical called Bisphenol. Bisphenol creates a mimic of estrogen and affects the hormones in our body which can cause or worsen varicose veins. Opt for fresh foods instead of buying canned goods.
  3. Foods with added sugar: Chocolates, cakes and cookies are processed foods that often contain high amounts of added sugar which contributes to obesity and weight gain.
  4. Fried foods: Fried foods have very little nutrition content, almost negligible fibre and is very hard to digest and is not exactly healthy. They should be avoided until the condition of varicose veins has lessened.
  5. Alcohol: This one goes without saying, but alcohol is probably the worst on this list. Steer clear from consuming alcohol if you have varicose veins.
  6. Red meat: Red meat is quite hard to digest. It has little fibre and it takes a lot of effort to digest a couple of red meat pieces. Avoid consuming dishes that include red meat.
  7. Salty foods: Foods with high sodium content like ham, pizza and hot dogs should be limited. A high concentration of sodium in the blood causes the body to retain more water than usual. This causes an increase in blood in the body, which leads to an increase in pressure in the vein. This increase in pressure can cause swelling and water retention in the legs.
  8. Caffeinated beverages: Strong coffee or other kinds of beverages should be avoided as long as your symptoms are not gone.

Researchers have found that grape seed extract from the plant Vitis vinifera may help relieve swelling in the lower legs and other symptoms of varicose veins. However, I suggest grape seed extract should be taken only after the recommendation from the doctor as it may interact with some drugs like blood thinners.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Varicose Vein-friendly recipes to try: 

When it comes to varicose veins, it is best to consume homemade food items with the above ingredients. You must follow a healthy diet that is per your doctor’s suggestions and body needs. Here are some interesting recipes you may try on:

1. Carrot and ginger soup

  • Heat the oil in a heavy pan.
  • Add chopped onion and cook until translucent.
  • Add chopped carrots, lentils, chilli flakes and stock.
  • Simmer for 15 minutes, until the lentils are cooked.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Grate in the root ginger and add the orange juice and zest.
  • Use your blender until smooth and reheat if necessary.
  • Serve hot with bread or alone as an appetizer.

2. Beetroot raita

  • Take 2-3 beetroots and boil them. Grate it and set it aside.
  • Take a medium-sized pan and put it on the stove.
  • Add olive oil to the pan and let it heat.
  • Add chopped ginger and garlic and gently saute it till light brown in colour.
  • Add the grated beetroot and mix well.
  • After 1-2 minutes, add salt and pepper as required.
  • Turn off the flame. Take the mixture and transfer it to a heat-resistant bowl to let it cool.
  • In a separate bowl, add hung curd and mix well. 
  • After the beetroot mixture has cooled down to room temperature, mix it with the hung curd.
  • Enjoy this as a great evening snack.

3. Quinoa stuffed bell pepper

  • Cook the quinoa in vegetable broth. Check the package to see how to cook quinoa.
  • Saute chopped onions in a skillet until transparent then add garlic.
  • Add black beans, diced tomatoes and sweet corn.
  • Season, cook and stir for 4-5 minutes then add the cooked quinoa.
  • Slice bell peppers halfway and remove the seeds.
  • In a baking tray, line it with a baking sheet to avoid the bell peppers from sticking.
  • Spoon the filling into each pepper then sprinkle some grated cheese. 
  • Bake the peppers until they are soft and the cheese has melted.
  • Enjoy as an amazing snack with friends and family.

Blood vessels carry blood throughout the body and their health directly affects your blood flow and circulation. When you eat healthy foods and indulge in exercises that provide better circulation, you are allowing your cardiovascular health to remain healthy and lessen your risk of problems like varicose veins. Try to include food items using ingredients that are beneficial and have been known to promote regular blood flow.

Also Read: Benefits of Watermelon Sexually: Exploring Research-Based Effects

FAQs

What is the main cause of varicose veins?

Varicose veins are caused by increased blood flow towards the veins of the legs. The blood moves towards the heart by one-way valves in the veins. When the valves become weakened or damaged, blood can collect in the veins, causing them to swell.

What happens if varicose veins are left untreated?

If varicose veins are left untreated, the veins continue to get more damaged and there is increased pain and swelling. It may further lead to soreness and ulceration of the skin.

Can I have varicose veins on one leg?

Some healthcare professionals believe it could be because you experienced an injury to that side of the body which caused damage to the veins or the valves of the veins.

Can varicose veins affect your heart?

According to certain vascular surgeons, in very extreme cases, varicose veins might affect the arterial system of the heart, but this generally does not happen. 

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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