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The veins are thin-walled blood vessels that carry blood from your body to the heart. Varicose veins are a common disorder that occurs when the valves and walls of the veins weaken and collapse, causing blood to pool and flow backwards 1. This also causes the veins to enlarge and bulge, appearing blue or purple in color beneath your skin. There are several treatments for varicose veins, and your diet can also affect this condition. The Hamilton Vein Center advises that eating certain foods can help to manage and even prevent veins from collapsing in some cases. Your doctor can determine a complete treatment plan for your condition.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Prevalence of Varicose Veins
The University of Maryland Medical Clinic advises that varicose veins affect almost 60 percent of Americans, and women are more susceptible to this condition than men 1. This condition usually affects the legs, but can also occur in other areas of the body. In most cases, varicose veins are only a cosmetic issue due to their unattractive appearance. However, they can also lead to pain, discomfort, phlebitis or inflammation of the veins, blood clots and skin ulcers. Your doctor will prescribe the best treatment for your varicose veins; a healthy diet that also helps to strengthen veins can help manage this condition.
Foods that are high in bioflavonoids can help to improve your general vein health and manage varicose veins if you have them. This substance is primarily found in colored pigments of fruits and vegetables and contains high amounts of antioxidant power. This helps to reduce inflammation and swelling that can lead to weakened vein wall and valves. Bioflavonoids also help to rebuild the collagen proteins that make blood vessel walls stronger and more elastic . Foods that are high in this nutrient include:
- red cabbage
The Hamilton Vein Center states that vitamin C is a potent cell protecting and antioxidant nutrient that helps to maintain vein health. When paired with bioflavonoid foods, vitamin C helps to manage varicose veins and weakened vein walls. Citrus fruits such as oranges, limes, lemons and grapefruit are high in vitamin C. Other foods rich in this vitamin include:
- Brussels sprouts
- red bell peppers
- which contain three times more vitamin C than orange juice
Antioxidant and Fiber-Rich Foods
Inflammation in the body can lead to swelling of your veins, causing a loss of elasticity in the blood vessel walls. The Hamilton Vein Center recommends eating foods that promote anti-inflammatory effects to help keep your veins healthy. These include garlic and chili peppers, which contain cayenne. Teas, such as black and green tea, also help to reduce inflammation in the body. Adding more water and fiber to your diet helps to reduce constipation, which can increase pressure on your veins, particularly in the abdominal and anal areas, leading to enlarged veins. Foods high in fiber include whole grains, legumes, beans and fruits and vegetables.
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