Food and varicose veins are more closely linked than some might think. To be more specific, some of the minerals found in foods can have a direct impact on our vascular health and the formation of those big, bulging vessels. Whether you have varicose veins you are trying to manage, or you are trying to prevent them before they develop, these food tips from Advanced Vein & Vascular Center will put you on the right track.
Why Varicose Veins Develop
Varicose veins are vessels that have weakened and become swollen over time. Tiny valves inside the veins wear out, allowing blood to pool inside the veins causing the weakness and varicosity. Because the veins in the legs have a difficult job pushing blood against gravity and the weight of the body to the heart, these veins tend to be more vulnerable to damage.
Blood Volume, Vein Pressure and Water Retention
The blood volume in our bodies fluctuates somewhat, depending on the foods we eat. Certain types of food can lead to water retention. Extra water in the blood adds pressure to the veins, increasing their risk of damage. On the other hand, some types of food actually reduce fluid retention in the body, encouraging healthier blood flow through the vessels.
Potassium and Sodium
Potassium and sodium are the two critical minerals that impact water retention. When sodium levels get too high, the body retains additional water to maintain a healthy sodium balance. At the same time, high levels of potassium cause the body to release more water. To ensure a healthy vascular system, it is important to keep potassium levels high and sodium levels low.
Foods to Avoid
Maintaining a proper balance between sodium and potassium is as easy as choosing the right foods. To avoid high sodium levels, limit these food selections or eliminate them from your diet entirely:
• Pretzels and potato chips
• Canned soups, chili and vegetables
• Frozen dinners
• Processed meat
• Salad dressing
• Soy sauce
Foods to Enjoy
Foods that are high in potassium should be enjoyed as often as possible, to maintain healthy potassium levels and minimize water retention. Some potassium-rich foods include:
• Potatoes and sweet potatoes
• Beans and nuts
• Bananas, dates and avocados
• Fish and meat
While a healthy diet may help to ward off varicose veins or even minimize uncomfortable symptoms, they will not reverse a vein condition that has already developed. At Advanced Vein & Vascular Center, we offer minimally-invasive treatments to completely eradicate swollen varicose veins and their uncomfortable symptoms. To learn more, contact our office today at 610-200-6924.