Have you hear about Veganuary? And do you need to work on your vein health diet? We know that stress eating is a real problem, especially during and after the holidays, but it’s not too late to start a diet that will protect your veins–and the rest of you! And that’s the idea that drives a new movement to go vegan in the month of January!
What is Veganuary?
Veganuary is the dietary-world’s answer to dry January. The idea? To start the year off right by following a fully vegan diet for the full first month. Proponents say that rising to this challenge can help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. It can also help you lose weight and decrease your risk for future forms of cardiac disease, including Peripheral Arterial Diease (PAD.)
Now, while that all sounds simple enough, Veganuary will be too challenging for some of us. But that doesn’t mean you have to go for an all-or-nothing attitude. In fact, even small changes can make a major difference in your overall health.
Want to hear the best part: it’s not so hard to make these changes. In fact, with just a few careful food decisions, you can keep your veins performing optimally as we ride out the rest of the year and welcome 2023 with open arms! First step: let’s limit our intake of all those salty snack.
Sodium Intake in your Vein Health Diet
Salty foods make your body hold onto fluid. Excess fluid puts pressure on your veins. By limiting your sodium intake, you can help your body flush out excess fluids and give your veins a bit of a break.
Some of the worst offenders to avoid? Steer clear of canned foods, deli meats, bacon, packaged meats like carne asada, pizza, soy sauce, olives, pickles, condiments, and other highly processed foods.
Fried treats like our favorite bucket of KFC are delicious, but also a problem. Not only are they high in sodium (see above) they also have high fat contents. Combine that with little to no fiber content, and those french fries can trigger fatty build-ups in your arteries. This may pave the way for Peripheral Arterial Disease. But, more immediately, they can also trigger constipation. Now, this may not seem like a vein heath problem, but here’s the deal: when you’re constipated, you have to strain in the bathroom. And that puts a strain on the veins in your rectum, as well as others in your lower body. So limit fried treats to keep your blood (and everything else) flowing smoothly through your body. And stay away from dairy, red meat and starchy foods or white breads. These, too can all be constipating, contributing to strain-related varicose veins.
Skip the Booze
We’ve already talked about the danger of retaining water. Which is why you should avoid sodium. But now let’s talk about flushing water out of your body too quickly. When you eat or drink something with diuretic properties (like alcohol) it makes you pee more often. And this can contribute to dehydration, which can impact blood flow, forcing your body to work harder at circulation. This, in turn, ups the pressure on your veins, potentially causing or worsening existing varicose veins. So, now that you now some foods to avoid, let’s get done with the bad news and focus on the good: food that help support your vein health!
Eat the Rainbow and Drink Up that Water
Whatever else you put in your body this holiday season, work to sneak in those colorful fruits and veggies–the brighter, the better! Not only do they contain plenty of antioxidants that will help stimulate blood flow, they also have lots of fiber, which will help you feel fuller, eat less and avoid weight gain (another factor that can contribute to vein health issues.)
Just as sodium makes your body hold on to fluid, drinking lots of water will help flush liquids out of your system. And, once again, it will make you feel more full, which means you’ll eat less of what’s going to harm your health.
Supporting Vein Health in Houston, TX
Whether or not you take on the Veganuary challenge, it’s a great idea to start the New Year with a renewed focus on your vein health. And we’re here to help you with those efforts. For that reason, we invite you to schedule a year-end visit with our Houston area vein specialists. Or make us part of your New Year’s resolutions, and come see our team in 2023!
Sources: San Diego Vein Institute