Varicose veins are veins that become enlarged, dilated, and overfilled with blood. Generally blue or dark purple, varicose veins mostly occur in the legs and feet. The reason for this is because standing or walking increases pressure to the veins in the lower part of the body. Varicose veins are a very common condition, especially in women, and about 50% of Americans have them.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
While arteries carry blood from the heart to tissues in the body, veins return blood back to the heart so that blood can keep circulating. Because veins only carry blood to the heart, they only have one-way valves, which disallow blood to flow backwards. If the valves fail, blood builds up in the vein(s) and doesn’t flow back to the heart like it should. The reason varicose veins are commonly in the legs is because they are farthest from the heart and have to fight gravity to travel back to the heart. Common causes for varicose veins are below.
- Age (aging causes veins to stretch and weaken, causing them to function improperly)
- Chronic heart valve conditions (these are commonly congenital)
- Standing for long periods of time
- Pressure on the mid-section of the body
Get Your Blood Flowing:
A lot of people who stand for long periods of time or remain stagnant can develop varicose veins, so exercise is a great way to keep the blood flowing. Exercise also helps reduce inflammation, and veins can become inflamed if they aren’t functioning properly. The exercise doesn’t have to be intense; a simple 30-minute walk around the neighborhood is enough to get blood flowing. If you experience pain when exercising, take it slow and ice or heat sore muscles. Try low impact exercises like swimming or bicycling.
Because obesity can cause varicose veins, it’s a good idea to maintain a healthy weight to reduce pain (if you have it) from varicose veins. In addition to exercising at least 45 minutes a day, a great first step is to switch to a more plant-based diet. Eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, & legumes can provide you with the essential nutrients the body needs. Eliminating meat, dairy products, processed foods, fried foods, refined sugars, and salty foods from you diet can help you on your weight loss journey.
Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods:
In addition to eating healthier, look for foods that have anti-inflammatory properties. Fruit and vegetables that are high in fiber, antioxidants, magnesium, and vitamin E can also help reduce symptoms of varicose veins.
Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a great natural remedy that can help reduce varicose veins. It is a natural cleanser and can help improve circulation and blood flow. You can either apply and massage a little apple cider vinegar topically, or you can mix 1 teaspoon of it in 1 cup of water and drink that solution twice daily.
Cayenne Pepper Is The Truth
Cayenne pepper is almost a miracle solution for varicose veins. Cayenne pepper has a high vitamin C content and can help improve circulation, aiding in providing relief to swollen veins. Mix 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder in 1 cup of water. Drink that solution three times a day for one to two months.
Gotu Kola has been used as an herbal remedy for many years. It has incredible healing properties that can help decrease the swelling, pain, or sensation of heaviness that is common in people with varicose veins. The best way to consume this herb is to make a tea from its leaves. Make tea with 1 teaspoon of Gotu Kola leaves, 1 cup of hot water, and 1 teaspoon of raw, organic honey. Drink this about 2 times every day.
Elevate Your Legs:
To improve circulation in your legs, make sure that you elevate them when you relax. This should help increase circulation in your legs. The best way to do this is to lay down and rest your legs on 3-4 pillows, so that the legs are above your heart.
Don’t Wear Tight Clothes:
Avoid wearing tight clothes around your groin, waist, and thighs because this can inhibit proper circulation. For women, it’s best to not wear high-heeled shoes and wear low-heeled shoes instead. Low-heeled shoes work your calf muscles more, which is better for your veins.