Far too many underestimate the power of diet changes when it comes to vascular health, so our team at Advanced Vascular Solutions is here to highlight the connection between what you eat and how your heart beats — and to give you a few pointers on how to make better choices.
Why does it matter?
Just below your skin is a vast network of veins that carry deoxygenated blood to your heart. You also have arteries, which do the opposite: carry oxygen-rich blood away from your heart and to the rest of your body.
Just like any highway, even a small pothole or roadblock can cause a big problem.
Age and poor lifestyle choices can weaken your vascular system, making it vulnerable to blockage and disease. As a result, your veins and arteries struggle to pump blood efficiently, causing cosmetic issues like spider veins to more serious problems like deep vein thrombosis.
We have years of experience diagnosing and treating virtually every vein problem that can arise. We can also equip you with the tools you need to support your veins on your own, starting with your diet.
Foods to avoid
When making vein-friendly changes to your diet, consider how every snack and meal can impact your blood vessels. Here’s what we mean.
Salt and sodium
Too much salt and sodium in your bloodstream pulls water into your blood vessels and increases the volume. In turn, your blood pressure skyrockets, and if your blood pressure is too high for too long, your blood vessels stretch, weaken, and become bogged down with sticky plaque.
But there’s an important distinction to make between salt and sodium. Despite what you might think, they’re not the same thing. Salt is the crystal-like chemical compound (sodium chloride) you shake out of a ceramic figurine on your table; sodium is a dietary mineral that is a component of salt.
Knowing the difference can help you make informed decisions about the nutritional quality of your diet. You can find salt and sodium in canned goods and processed meats.
Fried and fast foods
Fried chicken, french fries, and pizzas add up to one tasty (and convenient) meal, but they’re prepared and practically dripping in some of the most unhealthy oils. They also have an incredibly high fat content, which can lead to weight gain and add to the stress on your blood vessels.
Carbohydrates are essential to a healthy, balanced diet, but not all carbs are created equal. Simple, refined carbohydrates (think baked goods, white bread, and breakfast cereals) lead to poor vascular health and other chronic diseases, including diabetes.
We get it — that cup of joe in the morning is more than just a ritual, it’s necessary for getting through the day. However, if you overdo it with caffeine, you can unwittingly constrict your blood vessels and elevate your blood pressure, causing intense, immediate stains on your vascular system.
What to do instead
It’s not just about eliminating the bad choices but replacing them with better ones. A diet with your blood vessels in mind helps you lose weight, sustain energy throughout the day, and promotes healthy circulation. Here are the details.
Eat the rainbow
The more colors you have on your plate, the better. Fill up on tomatoes, pomegranates, broccoli, spinach, citrus fruits, onions, kale, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables. Those foods are high in anti-inflammatory properties and fiber, which your veins love.
Find the fiber
Fiber is your best friend when it comes to controlling blood pressure, cholesterol, and even digestion. Look for fiber in foods like apples, carrots, nuts, seeds, legumes, oatmeal, and berries.
Mind your vitamin intake
Vitamins C and E are crucial to your circulation and vein health — they may even ward off blood clots. You can find vitamin C in all things citrus, as well as onion, spinach, tropical fruits, potatoes, pepper, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. Foods rich in vitamin E include mangos, avocados, olive oil, pumpkin, nuts, seeds, fish, and dark leafy greens.
Fish for better vascular health
Fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines, are high in Omega-3, which promotes blood flow, prevents blood clots, and overall improves your vein health.
Nibble on dark chocolate
Yes, chocolate can be a healthy snack if you choose the right kind. Dark chocolate (not milk chocolate) helps reduce inflammation and support vein health. That’s because polyphenols in dark chocolate reduce oxidative stress and help your body produce more nitric oxide, which allows your blood vessels to dilate.
Diet and nutrition are essential to supporting your vascular system for the long haul. We’d love to team up with you and help you get started on a journey toward better health. Call or click to schedule an appointment with one of our experts in Melbourne or Sebastian, Florida today.