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Diet and Exercise for Vein Health

Our veins have a very important job. They have the critical task of carrying blood that is low in oxygen back to our hearts for a new injection of oxygen. As you can imagine, keeping them in tip-top working shape is critical to our entire body and its systems. So how exactly do we make sure that our veins are healthy and working to optimum capacity? Through diet and exercise, you can ensure that the oxygen-depleted blood gets back to your heart, restocked with oxygen from our lungs for another tour around the body.

Human Veins Diagram

You Are What You Eat

What we eat and ingest can affect our bodies in a multitude of ways. The old saying for computers is “garbage in, garbage out” and the same can be said for our diet. Eating foods that are unhealthy can not only make us gain weight but can affect the way our veins perform. The best way to help our veins optimize performance is through diet and foods such as:

  • Bioflavonoids: These can help prevent varicose veins due to the abundance of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Try to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into every meal to maximize these beneficial ingredients.
  • Fiber: A diet rich in fiber is essential for balanced nutrition and gut health. A high-fiber diet can lower the risk of high cholesterol which is damaging to our veins. Recommended daily intake for men ranges from 30-38 g per day, while women should target 21-25 g per day.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking water is an important part of any diet and staying hydrated can ease symptoms of varicose veins. Also, drinking water can help fiber in your diet work better and more efficiently.
  • Minimize sodium: Foods that are high in sodium (especially processed foods) can cause your body to retain fluid and cause damage to veins. Salt is everywhere, so be sure to check the nutrition labels on anything you eat.
  • BPA’s bad!!: We have all heard the warning sirens on plastics that contain BPA’s, but did you know that BPAs are an estrogen-like chemical that can increase your risk of spider veins?
  • Vitamins K & C: These particular vitamins are essential for blood clotting and maintaining healthy blood flow throughout the body and boost the body’s production of collagen/elastin. Food such as celery can be high in vitamin K, not to mention low in calories for a healthy diet and citrus fruits are a great source of vitamin C.
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Exercise for Vein Health

Exercising is always a great idea for staying healthy and the same can be said for the health of your veins. By paring an exercise program with a proper diet, you can keep yourself and your veins healthier and avoid health issues down the road. Which exercises are best? Try these:

  • Walking: By walking you work all the muscles in your legs and improve circulation in your lower limbs.
  • Bicycling: This low impact exercise also works out the muscles in the legs which can help with circulation and vein health.
  • Yoga: A great entire body exercise, yoga incorporates muscle stretches and core strengthening. Several poses in yoga incorporate raising your legs above your heart level which can reduce pressure on your veins.
  • Weightlifting: Using lower weights and higher repetitions can improve varicose veins without impeding the blood flow back to your legs. Exercises such as laying on your back and moving your legs in a pedaling motion or calf raises can be ideal.
  • Leg lifts: Simply lie on your back and alternate raising each leg as high as you can comfortably and hold for a few seconds. Alternate between your left and right legs and you can even incorporate ankle weights to increase resistance as you progress.
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Completely avoiding varicose veins and other vascular diseases may be impossible due to some genetic factors but having a plan for diet and exercise can increase the possibility of success. As with any diet or exercise plan, you should consult your physician first before beginning any program of diet and exercise.

 

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