What you drink matters
We know that what we eat affects the venous system, but what about the effects of what you drink? Is drinking coffee an unhealthy choice for those living with varicose veins? How about wine? Cocktail drinks? Juice?
Coffee and tea
Many people start the day with a cup or two of coffee. Drinking beverages that contain high levels of caffeine, such as coffee, can contribute to the development of varicose veins.
This is because caffeine increases blood pressure and constricts blood vessels. Constricted blood vessels can lead to higher blood pressure and decrease the blood flow to the legs. A number of teas, energy drinks and sodas contain caffeine too.
Fortunately, there is a wide selection of herbal decaffeinated teas that are available. Green and black teas are thought to have positive effects on circulation due to their antioxidant properties. Ginger also benefits the circulatory system because it is known to stimulate blood flow.
Consuming alcoholic beverages does not cause varicose veins. In fact, a limited amount of alcohol allows the veins to relax and expand.
Red wine often is cited as a healthier choice among alcoholic beverages. The tannins found in red wine can help tighten the vein walls. Tighter veins are more resistant to stretching and are less likely to leak.
However, drinking too much alcohol can increase the symptoms of varicose veins. The heart works harder when alcoholic beverages are consumed because blood vessels become narrower, causing blood pressure to rise. Sometimes people who are heavy drinkers tend to have red blotches across the bridges of the nose and on their faces. This redness actually is a group of spider veins, which can be a result of consuming more than moderate amounts of alcohol.
Remember that moderate drinking is defined as having up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. One twelve-ounce beer has about the same amount of alcohol as one five-ounce glass of wine or one-and-a-half-ounces of hard liquor.
Natural fruit juices, especially those with high levels of Vitamin C, are a healthy addition to your diet. Be careful to stay away from juices with high amounts of added sugar.
Orange juice contains antioxidants and vitamin C, both of which promote circulation. Some research shows that one serving of orange juice can lower blood pressure. Vitamin C also aids blood flow by strengthening the blood vessel walls.
Pomegranate juice has significant levels of vitamin C. Pomegranates have anti-inflammatory properties which could help if you are experiencing circulatory problems including varicose veins.
Beetroot juice promotes dilation of the blood vessels, which increases blood flow to the muscles. Regularly drinking beetroot juice can reduce high blood pressure.
Water helps maintain the muscles, which support the veins. If drinking water is not appealing, try adding a slice of lemon, orange or cucumber to enhance the flavor.
Ready to address the discomfort of varicose veins? San Diego Vein Institute specializes in treating venous concerns and partners with its patients to determine the best treatment options for optimal vein health. 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 www.sdveininstitute.com.
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