Diet & Varicose Veins

You are what you eat

That’s certainly true in the case of varicose veins. Diet can play a factor in increasing your risk of developing this condition, while eating the right foods can help you avoid getting varicose veins. If you already have them, watching what you eat can reduce the pain and discomfort.

Being overweight can cause many health issues, including causing varicose veins. If you’re carrying extra kilos, that puts more pressure on your veins, and they can start to bulge as the valves fail and blood begins to pool. The extra stress caused by excess weight can exacerbate this.

Obesity can also make varicose veins hard to detect, as body fat can shield the veins and make them difficult to spot. It’s clear that a healthy weight means healthy veins.

What are the best foods to eat to avoid varicose veins?

Once you’ve worked hard to lose any extra weight, it’s worth sticking with your new healthy diet to minimise the risks of experiencing the pain and discomfort of varicose veins. A low-sodium diet will help to prevent swelling and avoids high blood pressure.

The good news is that there a lot of delicious options when it comes to eating well for your veins. Scientists have discovered a naturally occurring substance called rutin that strengthens and protects capillary veins, and helps prevent blood clots. Increasing the amount of rutin in your diet is one of the best things you can do to prevent varicose veins developing.

Fortunately, rutin is not something obscure and exotic – it’s found in many everyday foods, so you can easily make sure you’re getting plenty of it. Apples, grapes, apricots all contain rutin. Cherries and buckwheat are good sources, too.

More delicious options

Look for foods that are rich in vitamins C and E, both of which are essential for vein health. Two excellent sources are avos and asparagus – and they also have many other health-giving properties

As well as adding colour to salads and stews, beets contain a compound called betacyanin. This can lower the amount of homocysteine in your body, and that’s important, because homocysteine is an amino acid that can damage your blood vessels.

Both ginger and rosemary are known to stimulate circulation, which is also good news when it comes to avoiding varicose veins.

What foods should I avoid if I don’t want to get varicose veins?

Speaking of avoiding things, there are also foods that you should avoid if you want to have healthy veins. These include low-fibre foods like white bread (without enough fibre in your diet, you may suffer from constipation, which can lead to straining and damaged veins).

Foods that are high in salt can also be problematic. As well as raising your blood pressure, processed meat and other very salty items can lead to fluid retention and dehydration. Without sufficient water, your blood becomes thicker and hard to pump around your body.

Eating fatty foods will slow down your digestion, which can again lead to constipation. If you’re eating a high-fat diet, the chances are that you’re not getting enough healthy fibre, which will only add to the problem.

Need more advice?

Changing your diet can make a real difference to your chances of developing varicose veins, and the impact they have on your life. Learn more by arranging a consultation with Dr Francois Steyn on 012 993 4161 or 012 993 0911, or at