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Holiday Season Vein Health Guide

Source: La Jolla Light, December 1, 2019, Dr. Van Cheng

Festive parties, indulgent holiday meals and an overload of good cheer mark the holiday season. The holiday also is a time of standing for long periods, eating foods that are high in salt, fat and carbs, and wearing uncomfortable high heels or tight clothing. During the holiday season it is important for someone living with varicose veins to be more mindful of their lifestyle choices, in order to reduce the discomfort and potential complications.

Follow these tips below to enjoy the holidays without the guilt.

Watch your portions

The holidays are filled with seemingly endless goodies at every turn. All of this delicious food is tempting. But it is important to remember to watch your portions. Being overweight contributes to developing varicose veins and making them worse, partly because the extra weight puts more pressure on the veins. At a party, grab the cocktail size plate instead of the dinner plate when filling up at the buffet. Fill half of your plate with healthy veggies before making other selections, choose hummus over sour cream dips, and drink sparkling water instead of soda or cocktails.

Stay hydrated and drink responsibly

Alcohol consumption generally increases during the holidays. Drinking alcoholic beverages dehydrates your body as does all the running around – shopping, cleaning, cooking, and socializing. Excess drinking can increase the chance of developing varicose veins and it can impact the circulatory system. Avoid drinking too many dehydrating liquids such as coffee, alcohol, caffeinated tea and carbonated soda, and remember to drink eight glasses of water a day.

Put down the salt shaker

Many holiday foods are high in salt, which results in weight gain. When you are carrying extra weight, your veins work harder to circulate blood. As a result, pressure increases in the valves that are inside your veins, which can make them more susceptible to leakage. A leaking valve can cause blood to pool in the veins, leading to the unsightly bulging varicose veins.

You might not be able to reduce the salt that others put in their food, but you can take a few steps to minimize the extra sodium in your diet. Do not salt anything until you have tasted it first. If you want to add salt, use it sparingly.

Eat your oatmeal

Fiber-rich foods are key to a healthy diet. Holiday foods such as ham, standing rib roast and stuffing can make your digestive system sluggish and constipated. Straining in the bathroom can damage the veins in your legs that are in your groin and abdomen. When these veins are damaged, your blood circulation can be effected. Fiber-rich foods can soften your stool and keep you regular. Good choices are oats, beans, apples, carrots, berries, peppers and sweet potatoes.

Fill up your plate with Vitamin C rich foods

Collagen and elastin are two connective tissues essential to vein health, and they keep veins strong and toned. Vitamin C promotes building strong veins thus improving circulation.

Vitamin C rich foods include oranges, bell peppers, kale, broccoli, papaya, strawberries, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, pineapple, kiwi, and mango.

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