Varicose veins are uncomfortable, but surgical intervention isn’t for everyone. Believe it or not, there are many non-surgical options out there. One of the least invasive options is reducing inflammation.
Why is everyone always talking about Inflammation?
It feels like this word is popping up everywhere when discussing any health topic.
So, what does it mean?
Inflammation is the body’s response to injury or something foreign (like a virus or infection).
What does it do?
This response typically means increased blood flow to the area, which can cause swelling. When this swelling is chronic, it can cause many problems, including arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and even varicose veins. While there are some medications that can be prescribed and used, there are many other options as well. Diet and exercise are two of the most effective ways to reduce inflammation and increase overall health and well-being.
There are many exercise and diet options out there.
However, it seems that diet changes can seem especially overwhelming.
There are so many health trends and diet fads out there that it is difficult to know where to start.
So, we’ll break this down into 5 categories of foods to try to avoid, and 5 categories of foods to try to include in your diet.
Foods to avoid:
- Processed foods – this is a broad category of foods to avoid – so let’s narrow it down to fast foods. Fast foods contain many chemicals, preservatives, trans fats, and refined carbohydrates. What this means, is that these foods have low nutritional value and higher calories than other options.
- Fried foods – this is another broad category – Fried foods are high in calories, fat, and oftenhigh in sodium as well. These foods are directly linked with increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other chronic health problems.
- Added sweeteners – added sugar is hard to avoid. By choosing foods without added sugars you can reduce caloric intake and help reduce inflammation.
- Refined carbohydrates – some of the most common sources of these are: white rice, white bread, sweets, cereals, etc. Refined carbs are similar to whole grain versions calorie-wise, but have far less fiber. These foods often contain added sugars and can cause constipation (which is linked to varicose veins).
- Alcohol – now before I lose you, what I mean here is: excessive alcohol use. Excessive alcohol use has many negative health ramifications, in addition, alcoholic beverages are also often high in calories and have very little nutritional value.
Foods to incorporate:
- Green vegetables – green and leafy when possible. These foods have some of the highest nutritional density of any food. They have antioxidants, lots of fiber, and are low in calories. Some of the best examples of these foods are kale, spinach, arugula, collard greens etc.
- Fruits – berries are especially good to incorporate. Most fruits contain rutin and antioxidants which are important in a healthy diet and in reducing inflammation. Blueberries, cherries, strawberries, avocados, and tomatoes are excellent options.
- Omega-3s – this fatty acid has been linked to heart health and increased brain health. Fatty fish is the easiest way to get this essential fatty acid, some examples are salmon, sardines, and tuna. Some other options for getting omega 3s are walnuts, almonds, hemp, and flaxseed.
- Whole grains – quinoa, brown rice, millet, and oats are common options and easily accessible. Whole-grain foods have lots of fiber; which helps keep you feeling full, and reduces constipation. It is also linked to decreased rates of many chronic diseases.
- Water – I know, technically, water isn’t food. However, drinking enough water is one of the most important and easiest ways to increase your energy levels and overall health. The average person should drink half of their body weight (in ounces) each day.
A healthy diet is an important step in increasing overall health and wellness. But this doesn’t mean a complete change is necessary all at once. Pick and choose what works for you, and stick with it until you feel comfortable taking another step. Making these steady changes is a great way to help prevent and treat many health problems, including varicose veins.