leg health

Foods That Fight Varicose Veins

A healthy diet of carefully selected foods can help you fight the unsightly and uncomfortable effects of spider and varicose veins.

What’s on your personal menu? If you aim to prevent or combat the telltale signs of spider and varicose veins, Jacksonville vein specialist Dr. James St. George has a few diet and nutrition recommendations. Foods containing vitamins C, E, B6 and B12, or copper, fiber and bioflavonoids help keep the vein walls strong and keep blood pumping efficiently through the body.

Foods That Fight Varicose Veins

Vitamin C helps the body make the connective tissues collagen and elastin, which the body uses to repair and maintain veins, keeping them flexible and strong. Top sources of vitamin C are oranges, guava, kiwi, sweet red and green peppers, grapefruit and vegetable juice, strawberries, cantaloupe and Brussels sprouts.

Vitamin E keeps platelets from sticking together and adhering to the sides of blood vessel walls. This prevents blood from clotting. Load up on vitamin E by adding wheat germ, corn, nuts, seeds, olives, asparagus, and spinach or other green leafy vegetables to your diet.

Vitamins B6 and B12 help clear the blood of homocysteine, which has been linked to recurring blood clots. B6 sources primarily are meats, poultry and fish including tuna, calf liver, beef, chicken, turkey, venison, cod and halibut. You’ll also find it in potatoes and sunflower seeds. B12-rich foods mostly are meat, fish and dairy products. Top choices are clams, oysters, crabs, salmon, rainbow trout, herring, beef, chicken, turkey and fortified cereals.

Copper is essential in building, repairing and maintaining endothelial cells, the smooth protective cells that line the insides of blood vessels. It helps the body knit together collagen and elastin and is believed to help protect blood vessels against microscopic tears and rough spots that can lead to blood clots and plaque-filled veins. You’ll get plenty of copper by enjoying shellfish, lean red meat, calf liver, sesame seeds, cashews, sunflower seeds, barley, tempeh, soybeans, garbanzo beans, lentils and lima beans.

Bioflavonoids are the chemical compounds found in deep-colored berries like blueberries, blackberries and cherries. They can help keep capillaries from breaking down and forming spider veins.

Fiber will help you avoid the painful and embarrassing constipation that creates pressure in your abdomen which reduces the flow of blood back from your legs, weakening vein walls over time. Fiber-rich foods include beans, whole grains, brown rice, popcorn, nuts, baked potatoes (leave the skin on), bran cereal, oatmeal, berries and crisp vegetables.

Of course, a great diet isn’t an end-all when it comes to spider and varicose veins. For treatment options, visit the St. Johns Vein Center in Jacksonville.

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