"So why me?" I hear you asking.
To understand why some people suffer from varicose veins and others don't, it helps to understand how veins function.
Your heart pumps blood to the lungs where it picks up oxygen.
The blood then travels back to the heart to be pumped out through arteries, thus delivering oxygen throughout the body.
The heart pushes blood out through the arteries with a great deal of force.
When blood is making its return trip to the heart from various parts of the body, it moves through veins.
Veins rely on muscle contractions to squeeze blood through them and to stop blood flowing backwards, they have valves that only open in the direction of the heart.
When this blood cannot return to the heart efficiently, blood pools in the veins causing them to dilate and that is how those ugly blue varicose veins develop.
Some people suffer from varicose veins because they've inherited structural problems with the valves in the upper parts of their legs.
Other people may have leaky valves because their veins are just too weak to withstand the pressure of backward flowing blood.
Can you treat Varicose Veins? Apart from surgery, there are a few dietary measures you can take to help reduce varicose veins.
- Losing weight (if you are overweight)
- Include more fibre in your diet (which may help to reduce pressure in the veins)
- Consider taking nutritional supplements which focus on helping to reduce blood clots and improve or maintain the structure of your veins.
Keeping your veins strong is a step you can take in either preventing varicose veins or keeping them from getting worse.
Vitamin C aids the production of collagen and both collagen and elastin are used to repair and maintain veins and to keep them strong and flexible.
Vitamin E There are no studies showing vitamin E heals varicose veins, so why does it even get a mention? Varicose Veins carry another potential complication for sufferers, blood clots.
Vitamin E can help reduce sticky platelets which adhere to the sides of blood vessels walls which lead to this blood clotting.
Copper Minerals help to keep bones strong and studies have shown that some can do the same for blood vessels, helping to build and maintain the layers of tissues that form blood vessel walls.
The body uses copper to knit together collagen and elastin in the same way vitamin C does (collagen is used to repair and keep your veins strong).
Copper is found in whole grains, nuts and seeds, lean red meat and shellfish.
- Avoid too much salt.
It can cause your legs to swell and aggravate already damaged veins.
Potassium, magnesium and calcium can all help reduce fluid retention.
- Avoid constipation by eating plenty of fibre rich foods.
Straining to move your bowels can create pressure in y our abdomen that can block the flow of blood back up your legs and over time, this increased pressure may weaken vein walls.
- Eat fresh berries! Bioflavonoids (which are found in berries) are thought to reduce capillary fragility which can reduce the appearance of spider veins on your skin.