Healthy diet is a very important factor in the treatment and prevention of varicose veins. Over 33% of American adult population are currently considered obese, so it’s not surprising that up to 25 million experience venous disorders, such as varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency, as excessive weight negatively affects your veins and arteries.
Part of the healthy diet that your veins will benefit from is certainly eating a lot of dietary fiber. Fibers are non-digestible complex carbohydrates contained in plant foods, and they are the prime requirement for healthy bowel function. When healthy bowel function is compromised, constipation usually occurs and physical effort is necessary to pass the stool. And that is the problem – this physical effort creates strong internal abdominal pressures and these muscle forces can result in permanent damage to the veins. Healthy blood circulation is provided, among other things, by properly functioning vein valves that help the heart pump blood against gravity. If vein valves are damaged, blood can’t flow properly, it starts pooling in the calves and around the ankles, resulting in chronic venous insufficiency and eventually varicose veins. Frequent constipations can permanently damage the vein valves through the constant muscle straining and that’s why a diet rich in fibers is so important to prevent varicose veins from developing.
So which foods contain lots of fiber and thus are a good choice to avoid constipation and potential vein valve damage?
- Fruit: figs, plums, prunes, berries, bananas, avocados, skin of apples and pears, grapes, tomatoes
- Legumes: peas, beans, soybeans
- Vegetables: broccoli, carrots, artichokes, green beans, cauliflower, zucchini, celery
- Root vegetables: onions, sweet potatoes
- Whole grain foods, wheat, oats, rye, chia, barley, flaxseed
If you repeatedly suffer from constipation, it might not be a bad idea to avoid proteins from milk and milk products and other fiber-free products, such as animal products, alcohol and highly refined grains. Your veins will thank you for it!