Everybody knows eating a healthy diet is good for maintaining overall good health, but did you know what you eat can have a big impact on your vein health too? Your veins help transport important nutrients to every part of your body, but they need good nutrition too to stay flexible, supple and healthy. Plus, making sure you include the right foods – and avoid others – is also important for preventing leg vein disease, varicose veins and spider veins and for making sure you get the most from your vein treatment. Eating for good vein health isn’t difficult – but you do need to know which foods to avoid.
Eating for Better Vein Health
Rather than list all the specific foods you should avoid (which would include hundreds of items), here’s a rundown of three basic rules you should follow to help you limit or completely avoid the foods that can take a toll on your vascular health:
1. First on the list: Foods high in sodium. Eating a diet that’s high in sodium can increase your risks for lots of diseases, including high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. When you eat foods high in sodium, your body tends to retain fluids, increasing the pressure on your blood vessels. Many people think cutting back on table salt is enough to reduce their sodium intake, but actually, a lot of supermarket foods are loaded with sodium. The biggest culprits:
- canned soups
- canned pastas and other canned entrees
- semi-prepared boxed foods like scalloped potatoes and macaroni and cheese
- deli meats
- hot dogs, pepperoni, bacon and sausage
- bottled salad dressings, condiments, and flavorings like soy sauce, steak sauce and barbecue sauce.
Many loaves of bread and bakery products also contain high amounts of sodium. Since sodium is in so many foods, the best way to make sure you’re making smart choices is to read food labels to see how much sodium a single serving contains.
2. Next up are foods that slow down your digestive system. When your body becomes constipated, it puts added pressure on the veins in your lower body – and straining to have a bowel movement can result in swollen veins in your rectum and anus (you know these as hemorrhoids). Eating a diet high in fiber and drinking lots of water are two of the best ways to keep your digestive tract moving, but limiting these foods can also help:
- white rice
- foods containing processed white flour and refined starches
- dairy products
- unripe bananas (fully-ripe bananas are OK)
- red meat
3. And finally, limit the amount of fatty and high-calorie foods you eat. Being overweight is a major contributing factor to vascular disease, and it also significantly increases your risk for varicose veins and spider veins. That’s because that extra weight you’re carrying places additional pressure on your veins and on the tiny valves inside them. Once those valves start malfunctioning, varicose veins begin to appear. Try to avoid foods with lots of sugar or fats, as well as foods that are deep fried. Cut out "empty" calories like soda and candy and replace them with water and fresh fruit or popcorn.
Vein Health in Missoula
Maintaining healthy veins isn’t just about avoiding ugly varicose veins. It’s also about helping you stay healthier overall. If you have varicose veins or spider veins or if you have a family history of vein disease, call the Bellamah Vein Center at 406) 203-1866 and schedule a vein evaluation today.