Vein disease doesn’t happen in isolation. There are a number of lifestyle factors that can contribute to having poor blood circulation and the risk of developing varicose veins. If you’ve been diagnosed with venous insufficiency or another circulatory issue, below are five ways you can promote healthy veins and blood circulation to prevent the development of varicose veins.
Get adequate nutrition
The best way to bolster your circulation is by eating foods that support your veins. Certain fruits and veggies contain micronutrients that are vital to ensuring good vascular health, including:
- Folic acid – helps the body repair cells and vascular tissue. Furthermore, folic acid is instrumental in promoting the creation of red blood cells, preventing anemia while promoting blood clotting. Make sure to include plenty of dark leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and beans in your diet.
- Flavonoids – improve circulation by keeping the blood flowing, making it less likely to pool in your veins. Flavonoids also help to reduce blood pressure and relax blood vessels, all of which can reduce varicose veins. Foods that contain flavonoids include: onions, garlic, cayenne pepper, bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, grapes, cherries and blueberries.
Avoid highly processed foods that contain high levels of sodium. These can cause your body to retain water and impair normal blood circulation. On the other hand, food rich in potassium (almonds, potatoes, salmon and white beans) tend to minimise water retention and bloating.
Choose supplements that dilate blood vessels
Supplement your diet with grape seed extract (Vitis vinifera). Studies confirm that taking 100mg of grape seed extract per day can improve chronic venous insufficient (CVI) symptoms such as pain, swelling, itchiness and heaviness in just ten days.
Grape seed extract contains a powerful antioxidant compound that has been shown to ease the symptoms of varicose veins and CVI. It has also demonstrated the ability to maintain healthy blood pressure and reduce swelling in the legs.
Caution: If you’re taking doctor prescribed blood thinners you should avoid grape seed extract as it can interfere with your medication and increase your risk of developing complications.
Learn to relax
Although stress doesn’t cause CVI or varicose veins, chronic stress can exacerbate your symptoms. Managing stress levels, therefore, is very important when it comes to maintaining the health of your veins in the long-term. Below are some relaxation techniques you can use to minimise daily stress and help you unwind:
- Daily moderate exercise – yoga, swimming, hiking, walking your dog or riding a bike can all have a positive effect on your circulatory system. Particularly, if your profession requires you to sit or stand all day, make time throughout your day to stretch or walk around to help with circulation.
- Get a massage – Regular massage is not only incredibly relaxing but it helps to alleviate pain and symptoms by improving local circulation, muscle tone and overall tissue health. Keep in mind that your therapists should avoid massaging varicose veins directly and to always massage towards the heart.
Avoid clothes that restrict circulation
High heels may look great but they can be terrible for your circulation. The same can be said about tight socks or pants – all of which can impair healthy blood flow and promote the formation of varicose veins. Comfortable or loose fitting garments are the most suitable if you suffer from CVI or varicose veins. If you must wear heels for work then look into orthopaedic styles that are gentler on your feet and leg veins.
Fight the effects of gravity
If your feet and legs are sore at the end of the day then you know first-hand how gravity can cause blood to pool in your lower extremities. A simple solution is to elevate your feet when you get home to take the pressure off your legs. This counteracts gravity by helping the blood flow more easily back towards the heart.
Another solution is compression garments, these work by stimulating circulation and relieving stress on the veins. We have medical-grade compression socks and stockings available at The Vein Institute Shop.
Seek expert advice
The doctors at The Vein Institute specialise in varicose vein treatment. We offer patients a comprehensive treatment program to treat varicose veins, with non-surgical laser treatment techniques. The benefits of laser treatment to patients are;
- Walk-in walk-out treatment
- 98% success rate
- Extremely effective
- Can be performed at a clinic (no hospitalisation)
- No general anaesthetic
- Medicare rebates apply
- No downtime or time away from work