You are what you put in your mouth
Did you know that approximately 150,000 new patients are diagnosed each year with chronic venous insufficiency? Or that 20% of Americans are thought to have some type of varicose vein disorder?
Chronic Venous Insufficiency is a common clinical problem in the United States that occurs when the veins cease to function properly. Veins are the vehicles that help transport the blood from the legs back to the heart. When they’re not working correctly, the blood pools, often resulting in spider veins and varicose veins. Without treatment, the disease will get worse.
What are the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency?
The symptoms of CVI include:
- Leg ulcers
- Varicose veins
- Skin changes
- Restless leg syndrome
While it’s not life-threatening, the disease will get progressively worse without treatment. The earlier it is diagnosed and treated the greater the chance of preventing serious complications such as ulcers or open sores on the legs. These can be hard to heal and may become infected. Without control, the infection can spread to neighbouring tissue in a condition known as cellulitis.
Disabilities related to chronic venous insufficiency can be attributed to a lower quality of life and a loss of work productivity.
It’s thought that the unhealthy western diet being high in salt and fat is related to chronic venous insufficiency. The good news, however, is that evidence points to the fact that adopting a Mediterranean diet can lower a person’s risk of developing venous disorders.
We’ve all heard the saying ‘we are what we eat' which is why adjusting your diet to one that is widely eating in the Mediterranean could help protect you from vein disorders. After all, prevention is always better than cure.
Here are some adjustments you might want to consider making to your overall diet.
Drink more water
Up to 60% of the human body is composed of water. It’s essential if the body’s internal systems are to function and survive and it also aids the health of our veins. Water flushes out waste products and relieves symptoms of venous insufficiency.
Eat more fibre
On a daily basis, a man needs 38 grams of fiber and a woman needs 25 grams, but unfortunately, many Americans are struggling to consume even 15 grams a day. A diet that is high in starch, dairy products, red meat and low in fiber results in constipation and this places extra exertion on the veins. Consuming more fiber prevents constipation and in doing so, helps prevent venous insufficiency. Maintaining a good level of fiber in the diet is essential both for losing weight and maintaining weight. Foods that are high in fiber include:
- Leafy greens
- Brown rice
- Air-popped popcorn
- Chia seeds
Include more potassium
Potassium-rich foods help prevent hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Foods high in potassium include:
- Sweet potatoes and potatoes
- Fruit such as bananas and melons
- Fish such as tuna, cod and trout
- Legumes and beans
Food that is rich in flavonoid serves to strengthen the body’s blood vessels with many of them easy to recognize by their bright color. These include:
- Red and green peppers
- Brussel sprouts
- Green and black tea
- Citrus fruits
- Soya beans and tofu
Eating flavonoid-rich food not only helps prevent chronic venous insufficiency from developing but also eases swelling and discomfort in the legs.
Avoid eating food that is salty and fatty
Obesity is one of the leading causes of vein disease. Eating low-fat foods and exercising regularly helps to maintain a healthy weight. Salty foods cause water retention which, in turn, places extra pressure on varicose veins and can limit blood flow. Try and avoid salty foods such as cold cuts, pizza and bread and check the nutritional values on the back of packaged products.
Look out for BPA
BPA or Bisphenol is a chemical that’s known to mimic the effects of estrogen and is found in hard plastics. Estrogen can increase spider veins. Try to avoid plastic containers when storing food in the refrigerator and instead opt for glass containers.
Seek treatment for existing vein conditions
If you’re suffering from symptoms of venous insufficiency then why not book a FREE screening with Dr Goke Akinwande and the friendly team at the Midwest Institution for Non-Surgical Therapy. We specialise in treating vein problems using non-invasive procedures such as Sclerotherapy, VenaSeal, Varithena and Vein Ablation. We have 5 clinics to choose from, including the latest addition in Chicago, IL.