Josée Fortin, Naturopath and Biochemist – Special collaboration
Summer is on the way, and many of us want to show our smooth, varicose vein-free legs. Varicose veins are formed by enlarged blood vessels in the legs, right under the skin’s surface. They are the result of damage to the venous valves, whose function is to prevent excessive accumulation of blood in a specific region. When they malfunction, venous pressure increases, which leads to a transfer of liquid into the surrounding tissues, swelling, heaviness, fatigue and leg pain.
If this situation persists, the veins become painful and inflamed. Poor circulation affects the surrounding tissues, thinning and irritating the skin and making it vulnerable to ulcers. Removing existing varicose veins only places more stress on venous circulation. It should be noted that women are more likely to get varicose veins than men. However, with early intervention, it is possible to prevent vein degeneration and re-establish proper circulation; however, the condition becomes more difficult to treat as it progresses.
- Whenever possible, avoid standing still for long periods of time, as this could make the situation worse by increasing the pressure caused by gravity.
- Heat can also cause problems, because it dilates the veins and slows circulation.
- Constipation, pregnancy and excess weight all increase pressure on the venous system, which can lead to decreased tissue elasticity and make you more vulnerable to varicose veins.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
- Physical exercise, such as walking and biking, helps kick-start circulation thanks to the pumping action of the muscles on the veins.
- Eating well can also stop varicose veins from forming by improving blood circulation and preventing constipation. It’s important to eat a lot fibre-rich foods like fruits and vegetables.
- Don’t eat refined grains; eat small amounts of whole grains instead.
- Drink at least two litres of water a day.
- Limit your intake of saturated fats from meats and dairy products; avoid trans fats altogether.
- Vitamin E improves circulation and makes vessels more elastic. It can be found in first press cold-pressed oils, nuts and seeds.
- Vitamin C, which can be found in the peels of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables as well as buckwheat, makes blood vessels more resistant.
Certain supplements can also help. A.Vogel’s Venaforce is excellent for venous circulation. Made of horse chestnut, a plant that reduces capillary permeability, it firms and tones dilated and weakened veins.
This product can be taken in drops or tablets for internal use, but it is also available as a topical gel, which is ideal for those taking blood thinners. Furthermore, the gel helps relieve heavy, swollen and painful legs.