What are varicose veins?
The formation of varicose veins can sometimes be prevented, treated and kept at bay by natural or nutritional changes. Veins transport blood to the heart. If the blood is to flow efficiently through the circulatory system it must contain all the nutrients and vitamins that the body needs to maintain good health.
Veins are one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing back to the rest of your body. If these valves become weak or disturbed, the blood flows back into the vein, causing it to swell. As varicose veins become enlarged, they often appear raised or twisted, protruding from under the skin.
Some supplements and foods can help alleviate symptoms such as tired, heavy or painful aching legs. So what role can vitamins play in controlling the condition?
Four Effective Vitamins
Vitamin C: Helps by promoting good blood circulation. It helps reduce inflammation and is important for assisting in the production of collagen, the most abundant protein in the body. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in that it strengthens the walls of our veins, promotes healing and protects membranes against damaging free-radicals. Adding some berries, broccoli, potatoes, tomatoes, oranges and lemons into your diet can help reduce unsightly varicose veins.
Vitamin E: Improves the health of our veins and poor circulation. Vitamin E helps keep platelets from sticking together and adhering to the side of blood vessel walls. If you suffer from painful cramps in the calf of your leg due to narrowed or hardened arteries and veins this may be relieved by the addition of vitamin E to the diet. Broccoli, spinach and kiwis contain a significant amount of the vitamin. You also can get vitamin E from eating fortified cereals.
Vitamin B: There are a variety of B vitamins from the B complex group of vitamins that can help treat and prevent varicose veins by strengthening blood vessels. The B vitamins include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate (folic acid), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, biotin and pantothenic acid. If you eat a healthy balanced diet, this group of vitamins will be well distributed to aid vein health.
- B vitamins are found in all whole, unprocessed foods such as brown rice, wheat and barley
- Meat products such as liver, turkey, and tuna include concentrated levels of vitamin B
- Other excellent B vitamin sources include: potatoes, bananas, lentils, chilli peppers, beans, nutritional yeast, brewer’s yeast, and molasses.
Vitamin K: Vitamin K cream applied to varicose veins can help strengthen capillaries. Vitamin K is named after the German word for blood clotting (koagulation). Blood clotting has negative connotations but blood clots are necessary to stop bleeding when our skin gets punctured. Leafy greens such as spinach, broccoli and brussels sprouts and parsley are healthy foods, all rich in vitamin K.
Alfred Vogel believed that we benefit most from eating fruit or berries whole as well as drinking them in a juice. With the increase of smoothie and juice bars, green juice or fruit juices have become very fashionable. Check out the recipe below, which contains high amounts of vitamin C and can help in the battle to reduce varicose veins.
Super vitamin C Smoothie
- 1 cup of raspberries
- 1/2 cup of orange juice
- 1/2 cup of cranberries
- 1/2 cup of strawberries
Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth, pour into a large glass and enjoy. Serves 1.
Loved this recipe? Look out for A.Vogel Talks Food for more healthy smoothies and delicious recipes.
Some herbal help
Horse chestnut is a really useful herb when it comes to relieving swelling and discomfort caused by varicose veins, by improving blood flow. Horse chestnut is available in different forms: A.Vogel’s Venaforce tablets are made from freshly harvested horse chestnut seeds and have been used traditionally to relieve symptoms of varicose veins.
Venaforce is not suitable for pregnant women. For those who cannot take Venaforce tablets, horse chestnut can also be used in gel form. Venagel is great for soothing varicose veins and cooling legs which are heavy and uncomfortable. Try rubbing some Venagel onto your legs after a long day of walking or travelling, especially during hot weather.
Aside from diet and nutrition, what else can you do to help prevent or relieve unsightly varicose veins? There are certain measures you can take to help the problem, with 5 key tips highlighted below.
5 do’s for your varicose veins
1. Drink plenty of water
2. Elevate your legs
3. Wear support stockings
4. Exercise gently or go for short walks
5. Consider a weight loss programme
How do you help your varicose veins? Is there a smoothie recipe you like that includes these vein-reducing vitamins?
Originally written on 28/04/2015, updated on 02/11/2018.