Varicose veins can be caused by permeable valves in the veins, which allow a backflow of blood from the deeper veins to pool in the less efficient superficial, surface veins. This action creates pressure in the veins that causes them to become distended and allows blood to leak into the surrounding tissue. The affected vein becomes inflamed, tender and often very painful.
Surface veins on the legs are susceptible to varicosities, as they don’t have the skeletal muscles to support them and prevent their walls from stretching like the deeper veins have.
Veins are frail structures and any defects in the venous walls allows dilation of the vein and damage to the valves. The veins also compete with gravitational pressure.
People with varicose veins have a decreased ability to break down fibrin (a protein involved in the clotting of blood). This leads to fibrin being deposited in the tissues that are close to the varicose veins, which causes them to become hard and lumpy.
Foods that increase fibrinolytic activity are cayenne, garlic, ginger and bromelain from pineapple, which is a proteolytic enzyme (helps with digestion of protein). Bone broth is also very beneficial due to its high levels of minerals, collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine which are vital for connective tissue.
Kakadu Plum is high in Vitamin C which supports and promotes tissue healing. Berries like blueberries are high in anthocyanidins (potent anti-oxidants), which improve the integrity of the vascular system.
It is important to have a regular daily intake of fibre in the diet to support regular bowel movements and avoid any incidence of straining, which increases venous pressure. A good source of fibre comes from fresh fruit and vegetables or supplement with psyllium if needed and drink at least 2L of filtered water daily. Water not only promotes hydration and wellbeing, it supports the eliminatory pathways and assists with regular, well-formed bowel movements.
Buckwheat is an ideal breakfast choice, as it is high in rutin which increases the integrity of the venous walls and the muscular tone of the veins.
Lifestyle suggestions include the yoga pose “legs up the wall”, do this daily and as often as required. This pose is easy to do and is very potent in the benefits it provides. For varicose veins it helps in allowing the blood to flow back to the heart and relieve oedema and heavy, tired legs.
Epsom salt footbaths provide microcirculation and relieve stress. Avoid crossing the legs as this restricts blood flow. Incorporate a calf muscle strengthening exercise into your daily routine to facilitate the pump like action and promote blood flow in the lower peripheries.
Be very kind to yourself when working at improving varicose veins, as the treatment is based on improving the structure, integrity and function of the veins and venous walls. Veins are very fragile, that is why it is so important to support the structure and integrity of them to prevent varicosities happening and reduce the severity if they do or if you have a genetic disposition to varicose veins.
If you suffer with varicose veins and would like more guidance through diet, lifestyle, herbs and nutrients, I would love to connect.