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Foods to avoid if you suffer from varicose veins


JULY 13, 2020

What we eat plays a vital role in how well blood circulates throughout the body. Maintaining a healthy diet is especially important for anyone who lives with varicose veins, because a nutritious diet promotes a strong venous system.

Salty foods, sugar-laced treats and refined carbohydrates top the list of what not to eat when you suffer from varicose veins.

Salt and sodium

The sodium in salt can cause the body to retain water. As a result, blood volume increases, and blood pressure rises, both of which put pressure on the venous system. Often ankles and legs swell as retained water pools in the lower extremities, contributing to varicose veins.

A diet low sodium is best for the venous system. High sodium content often is found in canned foods, deli meats, bacon, packaged seasoned meat such as tri-tip or carne asada, pizza, soy sauce, olives, pickles, condiments, and many salad dressings.

Fried foods

Crispy fried chicken. Bacon topped maple glazed donuts. French fries and a burger. These “treats” might sound delicious, but they do not benefit your body.

These foods do not contain fiber and have little – if any – nutritional value, and these foods often are high in sodium.

Another reason to stay away from these foods is that the high fat content along with the lack of fiber slows the intestines, causing constipation and straining when passing a stool. Straining can cause pressure to build up in the veins of the lower rectum, damaging them and sometimes resulting in hemorrhoids or the worsening of varicose veins.

Refined Carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates, known as refined carbohydrates, contribute to poor vein health as well as chronic diseases such as diabetes. Consuming white bread, one of the most widely consumed refined carbohydrates, is a hard habit to break. However, it is important to replace simple carbs with complex ones that contain fiber. High fiber breads, brown rice, steel cut oats and whole grains are better choices. Fiber also helps to reduce constipation, reducing the pressure on the veins in your lower body.

Added Sugars

Desserts, cookies and candies can be hard to resist. But, high amounts of sugar in the blood causes an excess of insulin to be released into your circulatory system. Like salt, sugar can be hidden in foods that do not fall into the sweet treat category such as salad dressings and savory crackers.

To curb your sweet tooth, choose foods that contain natural sugar. Whole fresh fruits are a good choice, because even though fruit contains sugar, natural sugar releases slowly in your blood stream. A bonus is that fruit contains fiber.

Alcoholic beverages

Alcohol acts as a diuretic, which can cause dehydration. Dehydration affects the circulatory system and can leave you feeling sluggish. The body works harder to move your blood throughout your body, and this can put extra pressure on the venous system and can exacerbate the symptoms and severity of varicose veins.


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