Condition - Healthy veins
Perfect pins are something we all yearn for but pregnancy, poor circulation, lack of exercise and advancing years can often put paid to a set of legs we would be proud of.
Your veins, unlike arteries whose muscular walls are much stronger, rely on your skeletal muscles to help them transport blood back to the heart, against the pull of gravity. When they loose their tone they become less effective at this job and pooling of the blood can occur, leading to thread veins or even varicose veins.
SO HOW CAN YOU HELP KEEP YOUR VEINS IN TIPTOP CONDITION?
A HEALTHY DIET
Include plenty of vegetables, whole grains and fruit and try to drink around 1.5-2 litres of water daily. This is vital to help avoid constipation, which has been linked to the development of varicose veins. Fruit and vegetables are also a fantastic source of antioxidants, which are needed in the body to help prevent free-radical damage to all our cells and tissues, including those of the veins and arteries. If you suffer from thread veins, particularly on the face, you may also benefit from avoiding alcohol and spicy foods, both of which can cause the small capillaries to dilate and become more noticeable.
Certain nutrients may also play a vital role in supporting vein health. Diosmin, for example, a flavonoid found naturally in citrus fruits, seems to help support venous tone and encourage normal capillary permeability, thereby boosting venous integrity. Similarly, Rutin; also a flavonoid but this time found in buckwheat, fruits and vegetables; has been reported to help support capillary strength. Bilberry, a close relation of the blueberry, is thought to positively influence blood vessel permeability and promote even blood flow through the smaller blood vessels.
This may not seem related, but exercise such as walking and running helps to improve your circulation, vein strength and also muscle strength – this is vital when you remember that veins rely on our skeletal muscles to do their job. Exercise also encourages healthy weight maintenance – any extra weight just adds pressure to the legs. If you have a very sedentary lifestyle it can be helpful to flex the ankles every half an hour while you are sat down – this simulates the walking action, encouraging blood flow back to the heart. When you are resting elevate the legs, again this helps to take the pressure off the legs and veins.
Alongside exercise there are traditional herbs which, used topically, have a particular affinity for the veins. Butcher’s Broom, for example, is believed to have a protective effect on the capillaries, helping to reduce their fragility. Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) is reputed to support healthy blood pressure in the veins and Horse Chestnut may help to maintain normal capillary permeability. Aloe Vera, Witch Hazel and Arnica are other natural extracts that may also help to cool and soothe inflamed skin when applied topically to any area of the body.
Poor vein health can be, in part, due to hereditary factors but, as you can see, there are things that you can do to help support them. If nothing else just remember your Granny’s wise words “don’t sit with your legs crossed, it’s bad for your circulation!”