Did you know that over half of Americans that are over the age of 50 are affected by varicose veins? While most people with varicose veins, and even spider veins, may never have any serious health issues as a result of varicose veins, if they are left untreated and the affected person continues to live an unhealthy lifestyle, then varicose veins can pose a serious threat to your health. See our previous blog, Are Varicose Veins Harmful to Your Health? to learn more. In the meantime, this article will focus on the foods that can affect your veins, blood flow, and cardiac health. Once you discover varicose veins or you are noticing an increase of damaged veins, it’s time to consider how you can take charge by adjusting your diet and your lifestyle. Continue reading to learn how food can affect your veins and cause more damage.

Varicose vein formation occurs when the valves inside your veins are weakened, allowing blood to flow backward. Eventually, the blood pools and pushes the vein walls, causing them to stretch and come to the surface of the skin. The cause of varicose veins varies from genetics to lifestyle choices, and sometimes just cannot be prevented entirely. However, for the individuals that suffer from them due to genetics and cannot prevent them, they can certainly alleviate the problem from getting worse by adjusting their diets.

Sodium Intake

As an adult, it is important to your health to understand what a healthy intake level of calories, sugar, fats, and sodium should be on a daily basis. The reason being to help manage your weight and your overall health. While most people focus on how many calories they consume and how much sugar is in everything, they often forget what their sodium intake has been. Sodium and potassium are an important mineral that your body needs to function properly. But when a person ingests an excessive amount of sodium, the body’s natural response is to retain water in order to maintain the proper amount of concentration.

Why is this important to your vein health? When the body retains water due to excess sodium, the volume of blood that is circulating throughout the body temporarily increases. The increased blood circulation causes pressure on the veins and valves, which contributes to their weakness. In short, a high sodium diet, over the course of a lifetime, drastically increases the chances for the individual to develop varicose veins, as well as other significant health concerns.

High Sodium Foods

The average American consumes approximately 3,400 mgs of sodium per day. According to the American Heart Association, a grown adult should not ingest any more than 2,300 mgs of sodium per day. The recommended amount is generous and considered to be a “safe limit”. The ideal limit should be 1,500 mgs per day for most adults, that is almost half of what the average American actually consumes.

What foods are Americans eating that result in high sodium intake? Anything with salt is the answer. If you’ve taken some time to read food labels lately, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything you buy at the grocery store (let alone restaurants) that don’t contain any salt. Which is why there is a daily recommendation of 1,500 mgs that is ideal for your body to function, without the harsh side effects of high sodium ingestion. A few food items with high levels of sodium that you can avoid are:

  • Canned soups, chili, beans, and vegetables
  • Frozen dinners
  • Pizza
  • Hot dogs
  • Deli meat
  • Cheese
  • Ice Cream
  • Soy sauce and most Chinese dishes
  • Fast food
  • And so much more

Truthfully, it’s best to be a smart consumer and read the food labels and nutrition facts, and make the decision on your own.    

Sodium isn’t the only cause of water retention. Sugar and simple carbohydrates also contribute to the body’s response to retain water. Foods that contain a high volume of sugar cause the body to release a massive amount of insulin, which impairs your body’s ability to excrete sodium. If you are already noticing varicose veins developing, it’s best to avoid these types of food to stop them from growing. Plus, avoiding these foods, in general, will also benefit your body and your health overall. See our other article that discusses common nutrients that prevent varicose veins.

Once you notice the unsightly veins begin to surface, and you’ve done your best to avoid them, then contact the vein doctors that are the experts in varicose vein treatment at Venocure. Dr. Nahhas and Dr. Chattahi are available at our vein clinics in Dearborn, as well as Brownstown to see you for a consultation. Upon your free consultation, the vein doctors at Venocure will evaluate the damaged veins and make a professional recommendation to which vein treatment is best for you. Call Venocure today!