How to enjoy holiday feasts and treats while managing your varicose veins


The holidays are a wonderful time of year filled with family, friends and festivities, but there are unhealthy indulgences at every turn also.

For those suffering from varicose veins, it is important to remain focused on vein health – even during the holiday season. Below are some of my favorite ideas for eating healthy during the holidays.

Berries and citrus

If you are craving something sweet, berries are the perfect treat. Not only are cherries, blueberries and blackberries good for your vein health, they will curb your sweet tooth.

Citrus is another good choice when craving something sweet. Citrus is high in flavonoids, which can reduce inflammation, decrease arterial stiffness and improve blood circulation. The vitamin C found in citrus strengthens vein walls and boosts collagen.

Pomegranates can improve circulatory health because they are loaded with nitrates and polyphenol antioxidants, two powerful vasodilators. Pomegranates improve oxygenated blood flow and muscle tissue. Sprinkle the brightly colored seeds on a holiday salad to pack a punch visually, or you can make a salad dressing laced with pomegranates juice.


Adequate fiber is a must when you have varicose veins because a lack of fiber leads to constipation. Straining when constipated can worsen varicose veins. Be sure to add fiber-rich foods into your diet such as oats, barley, apples, carrots, and psyllium.

Fatty fish

Packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish are great for increasing blood flow. These acids naturally occur in fish oil and help release nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. The result is improved blood circulation, lower blood pressure and reduced plaque build-up in arteries. Fish with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids include mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines, tuna, and herring.


Trade in your candies and chips for a bowl of roasted mixed nuts (no salt or lightly salted varieties). Almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, and peanuts all contain Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, which promote vein health.


The medicinal qualities of garlic boost the immune system, increase blood circulation, improve digestion, reduce arterial plaque buildup, and lower the risk of heart disease. Because garlic is a natural blood thinner, consult your doctor before you start taking a garlic supplement if you are already taking a blood-thinning medication.

Holiday drinks

A good choice of alcoholic drink is a glass of red wine. The tannins found in red wine promote vein health and circulation. A cup of hot tea is filled with antioxidants. Water is the preferred beverage year-round. Remember to drink plenty of water, especially during a time when there are sweets all around.

Treat yourself to a consult with Dr. Van Cheng of the San Diego Vein Institute, a Harvard University educated medical doctor who specializes in treating venous concerns. Dr. Cheng 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