Is Your Diet Making Your Varicose Veins Worse?

Varicose veins are bulging, twisting rope-like veins that appear on the surface of the skin. In addition to their unappealing appearance, these veins can lead to uncomfortable symptoms like achy legs, swelling in the legs and feet and painful cramping, particularly at night. If you have varicose veins, there are easy steps you can take right at home to manage those uncomfortable veins and keep them from getting worse. The place to start? Your kitchen, of course.

Water Retention and Varicose Veins

Varicose veins develop when tiny valves inside the veins of the lower legs stop working properly. These valves have the difficult job of moving blood through the veins up to the heart. Since the veins have to work against gravity, as well as your own body weight, it is not unusual for these valves to wear out over time.

When the valves stop working, blood can begin to pool inside the veins, causing them to swell. Pressure in the veins increases, adding to their pressure. Water retention, the body’s natural response to too much sodium or not enough potassium in the bloodstream, can increase pressure inside the vessels even more, exacerbating varicose veins that have already developed.

Water Retention and Diet

If water retention can make varicose veins worse, it also makes sense that foods that increase water retention in the body can also exacerbate varicose veins. The biggest water retention culprits in our diet are foods high in sodium, since the body responds to high sodium levels by retaining water. While you might be eyeing your salt shaker with suspicion right now, keep in mind that throwing extra salt on your meals isn’t the only way to go overboard on your sodium intake.

Many prepared foods have a high sodium content, such as canned soups, salad dressings, processed meat and frozen dinners. Foods rich in sugar or simple carbohydrates can also impair your body’s ability to eliminate sodium, raising your sodium content. To avoid too much sodium in your diet, and the accompanying water retention, try to adhere to a fresh and raw food diet as much as possible.

Foods rich in potassium, such as beans, leafy greens and bananas, can also counter the body’s natural instinct to retain water. By combining low-sodium foods with those rich in potassium, you have the best odds of keeping water retention at bay.

If you are currently suffering with varicose veins, help is available. At Advanced Varicose Vein Treatments of Manhattan, we offer a wide range of minimally-invasive procedures to eliminate varicose veins with little discomfort and no downtime. To learn more, contact the staff at Advanced Varicose Vein Treatments of Manhattan at 212-204-6501 to schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Lev.

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