Is your goal to eat healthier this year? You’re not alone. One way you can live healthier is by adopting a vegan lifestyle. Veganism emphasizes plant-based eating and eschews animal byproducts, including meat and dairy.
There are a lot of benefits to a vegan lifestyle, but the most significant benefit is the switch to eating more plant-based foods. Even if you only try out a vegan lifestyle a couple of days a week or simply add more vegan recipes to your menu rotation, you’ll be able to explore more plant-based foods. Being curious about your food choices is a great way to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, even if you can’t fully adopt a vegan lifestyle.
As a vein treatment clinic, we work with many people who struggle with weight issues and develop vein health issues like varicose or spider veins. Being overweight puts extra strain on your blood vessels, especially in your legs which is why it’s a risk factor for developing vein health issues. Adopting a healthy diet, rich in fruit and vegetables like a plant-based diet, is a great way to help lose some weight if you need to or maintain a healthy weight and prevent vein health problems.
Eat the right vitamins and minerals
Adding more plant-based foods to your diet isn’t just a great way to lose weight or eat healthier. It’s also one of the best ways to ensure that your body gets the right vitamins and minerals to maintain your vein health. So, let’s take a look at a few that may be beneficial to add to your diet. Remember to talk to your doctor about what’s best for your health if you have any specific medical conditions or are on prescription medications.
- Vitamin E: If you love to eat sunflower seeds, almonds, pine nuts, avocado, spinach, or broccoli, you’ve got some great sources of vitamin E already in your diet. This vitamin is crucial to the platelets in your blood by helping them flow better throughout your body, which reduces blood clots or platelets sticking to the walls of your veins. Vitamin E is also great for reducing leg cramps if you commonly suffer from them as well!
- Vitamin C: We all know that vitamin C is a powerhouse vitamin that aids in building our immunity. But it also helps our bodies produce collagen and elastin, which are some of the building blocks of healthy blood vessels, and it also helps fight inflammation. You can find plenty of sources of vitamin C in most citrus fruits, but it’s also found vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, and even potatoes!
- Vitamin K: Have you never heard of Vitamin K? You’re not alone. It’s not a well-known vitamin, but it’s crucial for the blood clotting process and helps strengthen the walls of capillaries in the vascular system. To avoid varicose or spider vein issues, try eating more foods rich in Vitamin K, like dark green or leafy vegetables such as spinach, Brussel sprouts, or kale.
- Copper: One of the essential minerals for vein health is copper. It helps to maintain cells that line the walls of your blood vessels and prevent vein wall damage like bulging or clotting. Some great sources of copper include lentils, pure dark chocolate, almonds, and dried apricots.
These are just a few vitamins and minerals that help maintain your vein health. There are plenty more you can add to your diet, and you can get most of them by eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables like you would get to experience with a vegan diet.
Avoid these foods to maintain your vein health
Another benefit of adopting a vegan or more plant-based diet is that it may help reduce your intake of foods that hurt your vein health. The biggest contenders for food groups harmful to your vein health are sodium-rich foods, refined carbohydrates, and sugar-rich foods. Here’s how they each affect your vein health.
- Sodium-rich foods like canned foods, deli meats, condiments, and more cause your body to retain water, increasing pressure on your vascular system. Over time, increased pressure can damage your venous system and lead to varicose or spider vein issues.
- Refined carbohydrate foods like white bread, rice, white pasta, chips, and cereals are often woefully short in fiber. Eating lots of these foods can lead to constipation, weight gain, and increased pressure on your vascular system.
- Sugar-rich foods affect the body by causing increased production of insulin, which can affect the elasticity of your blood vessels. It’s one of the reasons why many people with diabetes often struggle with lower vein issues.
As a vein clinic, we try to help our patients recognize the effect diet has on their vascular systems. Your vein health is closely tied to what you eat and your overall nutrition. Adding more fruits and vegetables, especially those with vitamins and minerals that help boost your vascular health, is an excellent tool for improving your overall vein health. This year, try out a few vegan recipes or select a few days a week when you eat vegan food. You may be surprised at the results.