Varicose veins are enlarged veins usually found in the legs and ankles. Besides cosmetically, varicose veins can affect your health.
Whereas gender, age, and genetics play a significant role in the risk factors involved in getting varicose veins, there are meaningful steps you can take to decrease the veins or reduce your risk of developing them.
Move as Much as Possible
Sitting for prolonged periods can restrict blood flow, and standing for too long can increase pressure in your veins. The fact is that both sitting and standing for too long affects your blood circulation. Take a break from sitting or have a peddling machine beneath your desk. When standing, try to march in place as often as possible to make the blood flow.
Intensify your Exercise Routine
Although moving around helps, exercising is much better as it pumps your heart and gets the blood flowing. Exercising also elevates the amount of oxygen drawn into the lungs. Before starting your exercise, ensure that you stretch for a few minutes to avoid cramping and to help strengthen and tone the legs, feet, and ankles. You can try swimming, yoga, or other low-impact exercises to avoid exerting extra pressure on your ankles and legs.
Keep your Legs Elevated
If you are constantly in motion, you should rest once in a while. When taking a break, find a way to elevate your legs for at least 10 minutes to avoid pooling blood and swelling your ankles.
Wear Compression Stockings
Do not underrate the advantages of compression stockings; they help prevent blood pooling in your lower limbs. Before buying a pair, consult your vascular specialist for guidance on the most suitable for you, as being too tight or loose is also a problem. Your doctor will recommend wearing the stockings subject to your condition or when you are most at risk, such as travelling for long periods.
When you have additional weight to move around, your veins work extra hard to pump blood. A healthy weight helps maintain healthy blood pressure, beneficial to your musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health. Also, getting rid of extra weight and keeping trim minimises the strain on your lower limbs.
Eat the Right Foods
It is good to have a healthy weight if you are at risk of developing varicose veins, but you are still susceptible to varicose veins if you are not eating the right foods. Avoid eating sodium, sugar, and processed foods. Instead, eat berries, cherries, onions, turmeric, ginger, beets, tomatoes, whole grains, nuts, leafy vegetables, and oily fish. These foods possess anti-inflammatory properties that help minimise pain and swelling. The foods are also low-calorie and high in fibre, essential to prevent and manage varicose veins.
Avoid the Following Foods:
It may be challenging to resist sweets, cookies, and desserts. However, excessive sugar amounts in the blood lead to overproduction of insulin that gets into your circulatory system. Sugar is often concealed in foods not categorised as sweet treats, such as savoury crackers and salad dressings.
If you must have sugary foods, go for those with natural sugar. These may include whole fresh fruits because even if they have sugar, the natural sugar is released gradually.
Sodium and Salt
The sodium found in salt may make your body retain water. This leads to increased blood volumes and elevated blood pressure, which exert pressure on your venous system. The legs and ankles will often swell as water pools in your lower limbs, which contributes to varicose veins.
You should eat a diet low in sodium to protect your venous system. Avoid the following foods:
- Soy sauce
- Processed meats
- Canned food
**Check labels for sodium content, some items above may be fine from different producers.
The most consumed refined carbohydrates is white bread, which many find hard to resist. Substitute refined carbohydrates with complex ones containing fibre. You can opt for whole grains, steel cut oats, brown rice and high fibre bread.
Fried foods have little or zero fibre, no nutritional value, and often contain high sodium.
High-fat content and lack of fibre make the intestines work slowly, which causes constipation and straining during bowel movements. Straining causes pressure build-up in the veins around the lower rectum, which damages them and sometimes worsens varicose veins or haemorrhoids.
Alcohol causes dehydration as it acts as a diuretic. Dehydration impacts the circulatory system and leaves the person feeling lethargic. This makes the bodywork extra hard to circulate blood throughout the body. This may result in additional pressure on your venous system, which can exacerbate the symptoms and intensity of varicose veins.
Vein Solutions is a multi-speciality vascular treatment facility providing a comprehensive range of varicose vein treatment solutions.
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