What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged blue-ish, lumpy-looking veins close to the surface of the skin. They are caused by malfunctioning valves in the veins. Veins unlike arteries have valves in them that prevent blood flow from traveling backwards toward the arteries. When these malfunction, blood pools in the particular vein and varicose veins develop. There are several possible causes including pregnancy (pressure from an increased uterus size blocks the upward flow of blood from the legs), prolonged sitting or standing, lack of exercise, and habitually sitting with legs crossed. Constipation, heart failure, liver disease, and abdominal tumors can also play a role in the development of varicose veins.
- Sit with feet elevated above heart as often as possible
- Change positions frequently. Do not stand for long periods of time or sit in cross-legged positions
- Walk at least a mile every day to improve overall circulation. This doesn't have to be done all at once either. Park farther away and walk into work or make a few laps around the house. Just increasing the distance you walk every day increases the circulation.
- Avoid elastic-topped knee socks, garters, belts, or high-heeled shoes.
- Get plenty of essential fatty acids which reduce pain and help keep blood vessels soft and pliable.
- Dose up on vitamin C and vitamin C rich foods. Vitamin C aids circulation by reducing blood clotting tendencies.
- Try herbs like bilberry, butcher's broom, ginkgo biloba, gotu kola, and hawthorn berries which are known to improve circulation in the legs.
- Foods that are great to include in your diet to prevent and treat varicose veins include blackberries, cherries, garlic, ginger, onions, and pineapple.
- Look into a few homeopathics that have been used to treat varicose veins. These include Ferrum metallicum, Hamamelis virginiana, and Pulsatilla.