Can My Diet Cause Varicose Veins?
Written By: Emma Squillace
If you’re worried about developing varicose veins, you may wonder if there are any foods that are particularly good for you – or particularly likely to cause varicose veins. With many health conditions, your diet is an important factor in your risk level. In general, people who have varicose veins are unlikely to be able to say that any particular food caused these visible, bulging veins. Instead, varicose veins are correlated with:
- Carrying excess weight
- Being pregnant
- Undergoing hormonal changes such as menopause
- Taking birth control pills
- Being female
- Standing still or sit down for most of the day (jobs like a teacher, nurse, or truck driver)
- Being older
While there is no specific food that can cause – or prevent – varicose veins, let’s look at some dietary choices that may help you, if you are worried about developing visible veins. Good choices are:
One of the most important dietary tips we can give you is not about food at all. It’s about staying hydrated. Proper hydration can help circulation, which can in turn help with varicose veins. Drinking water is important not only for keeping your blood flowing easily, but also for maintaining focus, regulating body temperature, and keeping your muscles functioning well.
Salty foods can cause bloating, which may make varicose veins more uncomfortable. Salt can also increase swelling especially around the ankles. For people who have varicose veins in their legs, this can cause added pressure and discomfort. If you’ve had a salty meal and feel as though you’re retaining water in your legs, lie down and prop your ankles up so they are above your heart. This can help your circulation, and help ease the ache of varicose veins temporarily.
Eating enough fiber is important for several aspects of health, including keeping your digestive tract moving. Constipation may occur if you do not eat enough fiber, and this can make varicose veins worse. It can also lead to hemorrhoids, which are a type of varicose vein. High fiber foods include many vegetables like squash, peas, broccoli, and carrots; grains like farro or barley; fruits like berries, apples, or pears; and other foods like chia seeds, lentils, and split peas.
The advice to ‘eat healthy’ may sound too general to be useful, but it is a good reminder that varicose veins are linked with excess weight. If you are able to maintain a healthy weight, you are less likely to develop varicose veins. Carrying excess weight puts additional pressure on your heart, which can struggle more to pump blood through your circulatory system. This can lead to weakened parts of veins, which then become varicose. When we say to ‘eat healthy’ this can mean different things for different people, but generally will mean a mix of lean proteins, plenty of fresh vegetables, whole grains, and fresh fruit.
There are some dietary changes that can make you less likely to develop varicose veins, or can help alleviate some of the discomfort associated with these bulging veins. However, there is nothing you can do to guarantee that you will not develop varicose or spider veins. Additionally, there is no way to cure these veins. The only way to get rid of a varicose vein is with a treatment like those we offer at West Medical. Minimally invasive options like laser vein removal or sclerotherapy can get rid of a varicose vein quickly, safely, and with almost no downtime. If you would like to ask any questions about varicose veins, please reach out to our expert vein team at (855) 690-0565.