Have you noticed purple or blue veins emerging on the surface of your legs? Those bulging veins are varicose veins, which most experts believe to be caused by weak valves in the veins. When healthy, these valves keep blood moving toward the heart. However, when they become weak, blood pools in the legs, causing veins to stretch, sag and protrude to the surface.
Varicose veins can also appear from pregnancy and hormones. While they may initially be a cause for concern, most varicose veins caused by pregnancy will recede after three months. Unfortunately, another pregnancy could bring them back for good.
While you can’t entirely prevent varicose veins, you can minimize your risk and help ease any discomfort from existing ones. In fact, some simple lifestyle changes can make all the difference. Here are our top tips for addressing varicose veins naturally.
Do exercise regularly
Regular exercise will keep the blood properly circulating in your legs. If trips to the gym are unrealistic for you, walking is an easy way to add movement. Read about simple ways to increase your daily steps here.
Do wear compression gear
Compression socks, pants or hose can reduce the diameter of the veins and ensure proper blood flow. This is especially important if you stand or sit for long periods.
Do manage your weight
Studies show overweight people are more likely to develop varicose veins. It is vitally important to maintain a healthy weight because carrying around extra pounds increases the pressure and strain on your legs and veins. Keep track of your weight with our best-selling EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale.
Do use food as medicine
Add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet to reduce swelling. Foods such as berries, dark leafy greens, beets, ginger, turmeric, onions, garlic and oily fish can reduce inflammation in your body.
Do strengthen veins with witch hazel
Witch hazel can help strengthen vein walls. To reap the benefits, soak a wash cloth with witch hazel and place on the affected area.
Do massage your legs
Massage or dry brush your legs to keep the blood pumping. Use gentle upward strokes to smooth out the twisted veins. Make sure to never apply pressure directly on the bulging veins.
Do elevate your legs
After a long day, elevate your legs for 15 – 20 minutes every night.
Do eat your fiber
Eat plenty of fiber, including fresh vegetables and fruits, since constipation can contribute to varicose veins. Did you know that a serving of fruit or vegetables is 4 ounces? Our Precision Elite Digital Kitchen Scale can help you correctly measure out your fruits and vegetables for the day.
Do give apple cider vinegar remedies a try
Soak a washcloth in equal amounts apple cider vinegar and water and apply as a compress. To help increase circulation, apple cider vinegar can also be used on salads or mixed into a glass of warm water.
Do use essential oils
Consider using essential oils on a cool compress or added into your bath. Rosemary, lavender, cypress, pine and juniper berry all have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
Do not stay in one position too long
Shifting your position frequently when standing or sitting for long periods of time can improve circulation.
Do not skip stretching
Flex your feet and roll your ankles when sitting, especially if you’re taking a long car, train or plane ride. Always stretch before and after exercise.
Do not sit with crossed legs
Sitting with your legs crossed at the knee interferes with circulation, and over time, can lead to varicose veins.
Do not forget your Vitamin C & B
Eat foods rich in Vitamin C to help repair damaged cells and strengthen capillaries. Vitamin B deficiencies can lead to damage in the lining of the blood vessels. Lean meat, tuna, shrimp, poultry, potatoes, sweet potatoes, legumes, sunflower seeds, avocados and bananas are all good sources of Vitamin B.
A combination of diet, exercise, and herbal remedies can help you manage varicose veins without surgery. Of course, you should consult with your doctor or a physical therapist if you are not getting the relief you seek.
Do you have varicose veins? How do you treat them? Tweet us at @eatsmartscales.