Pass on the sweets for vein health


‘Tis the season for frosted cookies and homemade fudge. Tempting sweet treats and sugar-laden holiday food seem to be everywhere this time of year.

Nevertheless, it is important to be careful about how much sugar you consume because processed sugar is hard on the body, especially your blood vessels.

Studies have shown that large amounts of sugar, or glucose, causes the blood vessels to contract more than normal. This happens because sugar causes inflammation in the nerves and blood vessels. When the veins cannot pump blood back to the heart, the blood can pool, and the veins can stretch and not close properly.

Sugar – just like salt and carbohydrates – absorbs and retains water, and the elasticity of the blood vessel wall becomes dilated. This can lead to varicose veins, which can result in aching legs, swollen ankles and unattractive purple-blueish veins.

Additionally, when it comes to preventing varicose veins or healing current ones, you want to avoid constipation and water retention. Both conditions can cause added pressure to vein walls, and if you already suffer from varicose veins or venous insufficiency, then your veins are fragile.

While venous therapies resolve varicose veins, it is important to monitor your diet before and after treatment to optimize treatment. Be aware of foods that are good choices and which ones you should not consume or eat only occasionally.

  • Processed grains tend to behave just like sugar in the bloodstream, and refined sugars should be avoided. A diet high in refined sugar can lead to obesity and a variety of other health complications, and these foods are low in fiber and can contribute to constipation.
  • Eliminate excess salt and sugars from your diet. Although varicose veins can be caused by factors outside of a patient’s control, they can be more easily prevented or managed through a healthy diet, weight and lifestyle.
  • Pay attention to hidden sugars and look closely at food labels. The labels will show there is sugar in many unlikely culprits including salad dressing, crackers and even chips.

San Diego Vein Institute can help with varicose vein prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, or provide a vein screening. San Diego Vein Institute is located at 336 Encinitas Boulevard, Suite 130, Encinitas, CA 92024. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (760) 944-9263 or visit