It’s a new year, and if you are like most, your New Year’s resolution will revolve around your health. From dieting to drinking less alcohol, people choose resolutions that will improve their body and overall health. You may have a more specific goal. One to get healthy legs that look great too! The doctors at The Vein Centre are here to share some tips to help you get healthy legs in 2021.
1) Take Control of Your Diet and Weight
It is common knowledge that what you eat contributes to your weight. However, many don’t know the full impact of how the food they eat impacts their body. By maintaining a healthy weight by eating nutritious foods, you can reduce fat, cellulite, varicose veins, and spider veins.
Weight and Fat
Less fat gives your legs a more toned contour. Having a lower body fat percentage can also aid in visible cellulite reduction. But, we are not recommending a fad diet to lose weight in an unhealthy way. The types of foods you eat can contribute to worsening or improving cellulite. Beyond actual fat cells, cellulite can appear because of connective tissue issues, abnormal hormones, and poor blood circulation.
What to eat to reduce cellulite:
- Solve hormonal cellulite – Reduce processed carbohydrates and choose whole grains. Processed carbs cause high blood insulin levels, which causes more fat storage. Skip fast foods and instead eat low GI carbs like sweet potato and multi-grain bread.
- Solve connective tissue issues – When collagen breaks down, fat can push upward toward the skin unevenly, causing lumpy skin. Fruits and vegetables have antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and bioflavonoids, which all aid in collagen production. Choose purple fruits and veggies like red cabbage, blueberries, beetroot, and cranberries for maximum cellulite reduction.
- Solve circulation issues – While it may seem counterintuitive, some fats can reduce cellulite. Healthy fats that contain omega-3 like fish oil, flaxseed, and nuts can help improve blood circulation. When the body is experiencing low blood circulation, nutrients aren’t delivered to skin cells properly. Unhealthy skin cells cluster together, and this will make cellulite look worse.
Weight and Varicose Veins
Having a healthy weight will also contribute to better vascular health. When there is stress on the circulatory system, it can cause varicose veins and spider veins. These veins are visible through the skin and are not aesthetically pleasing.
Excess weight can put pressure on vein walls and valves. Over time, this pressure can damage veins. When this occurs, the vein walls become weak, and the valves do not function properly to move the blood toward the heart. Blood will pool in the veins, especially in the legs. This damage is what causes bulging bluish varicose veins.
As a rule of thumb, fresh foods will accomplish weight loss and internal health. Beyond foods good for weight loss, some foods can help improve visible veins on otherwise healthy legs.
What to eat to reduce varicose veins:
- Foods with glutathione: Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant, and it is known to protect veins and arteries. The richest food sources are avocados, spinach, okra, and asparagus.
- Foods with rutin: Rutin supports blood circulation and helps inflammation. It also helps to activate vitamin C and acts as an antioxidant. You can find rutin in asparagus, figs, black tea, buckwheat, and unpeeled apples.
- Foods with phytochemicals: Phytochemicals are plant compounds like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, and seeds. These compounds act as antioxidants and neutralize free radical damage. Phytochemicals can stop damage to vein walls and valves. Foods rich in phytochemicals are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, apricots, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, onions, red peppers, and sweet potatoes.
2) Slide Into Some Compression Stockings
Sometimes veins can use some additional support for healthy legs. When veins and valves are damaged or if circulation is poor, compression stockings can help move blood up your legs and back to your heart. They work by squeezing the legs. This pressure can alleviate swelling and pain and reduce the occurrence of blood clots, varicose veins, and spider veins.
While it is possible to buy compression stockings online or over the counter, your vein doctor can prescribe medical-grade stockings. In a pinch, OTC compression stockings will still relieve some vein pain in the legs.
What to look for in compression stockings:
- Types of compression stocking: There are low rise socks that benefit the feet. Over the knee and thigh-high socks work great to stop blood from pooling through the entire leg. Graduated compression stockings are tightest at the ankle and loosen toward the top. These socks generally require a professional fitting from a doctor.
- Compression level: Stockings come in varying pressures depending on why they are needed. The lowest is 15 – 20 mmHg, and these are available over the counter. These are great for daily wear and travel. The 20 – 30 mmHg compression is also suitable for everyday wear but extends to medical recovery and are ideal for varicose vein support. To manage blood clots, lymphedema, and edema, a stronger 30 – 40 mmHg compression is suitable.
3) Get Your Blood Moving
Varicose veins form when blood pools in your veins, so a simple solution is to help your veins move blood back to the heart. When you exercise and move around, the muscles squeeze and push blood up and out of your legs. Moving around helps release pooled blood and improves your circulation.
Ways to support blood flow:
- Take a walk: By taking a brisk 30-minute walk, you can increase your cardiovascular fitness, reduce varicose veins, and improve high blood pressure. This activity also improves bone structure and can help you lose weight too!
- Don’t sit for too long: During the workday or travel, it may be hard to remember to get up. By getting up and walking around, you can help move pooled blood out of your legs. Set a timer to help you remember to take breaks. If you are in a car, pull over and get out every hour or so. When traveling by plane, you can walk the rows as needed to lessen stress on varicose veins.
The board certified vascular surgeons at The Vein Centre are trained and experienced in dealing with and removing varicose veins. If you have varicose veins, getting regular screenings starting after 30 years of age is vital to vein health. The Vein Centre offers many types of vein treatments for venous disease.
Our offices are located near Downtown Franklin and Nashville. Visit us in Franklin, Belle Meade, or Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. To schedule, please call us at 615.269.9007. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have about our vein services and help you get healthy legs in 2021.