Regularly getting exercise is one of the best things you can do to improve blood flow and lower inflammation, which you can add to the extensive list of exercise benefits. The National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute states that sitting (especially with poor posture — like forward head posture — or your legs crossed) or standing for long period of time without moving around much is associated with an increased risk for varicose veins and other forms of blood pooling. (5)
When you stay stagnant for too long, it’s harder for your veins to pump blood efficiently back to your heart and fight the effects of gravity. Exercise is also a great way to help balance hormones naturally, lose weight or maintain a healthy body weight, and lower blood pressure, which can all contribute to varicose veins.
The Carolina Vascular Institute recommends preventing varicose veins by performing leg lifts, calf raises, bicycle legs and side lunges to strengthen and stretch the veins around the legs. (6) Low-impact exercises, such as walking, swimming and bicycling, are also ideal for varicose vein sufferers since they alleviate pressure.
If you experience pain when starting to exercise, take it slowly and try icing or heating sore muscles after a workout. You can also elevate your legs to help decrease swelling and pain, or try compression stockings to create gentle pressure up the leg that keeps blood from accumulating.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
People who are overweight are more likely to develop varicose veins, especially overweight women and elderly people. Carrying excess body weight puts higher amounts of pressure on your veins and can contribute to inflammation or reflux, especially in the largest superficial veins, such as the saphenous vein in the legs.
According to a report published by the Huffington Post about the connection between obesity and varicose veins, for overweight people varicose veins are often more difficult to assess and treat because they commonly go unnoticed until they progress to be more inflamed and larger in size (up to four or five centimeters long , deep inside the leg).
Essential Oils for Balancing Hormones
Many different essential oils are beneficial for improving blood flow while also lowering inflammation and hormonal imbalances. One of the best for specifically treating vein problems is cypress oil, which has the ability to increase circulation and support the circulatory system. Try rubbing five drops of cypress essential oil on the problematic area twice daily for several weeks. If you experience muscle aches, swelling or skin blisters, try using other diluted essential oils like peppermint, tea tree and lavender oil in small amounts to soothe problem areas.
An Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Certain foods help reverse inflammation and improve blood flow, making it possible to heal varicose veins faster and prevent future ones from forming. A poor diet — high in things like trans fats, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods — can contribute to arterial damage, low circulation, blood pressure problems, hormonal imbalances and weight gain. Many of these foods are also high-sodium foods, which is dehydrating, and contain toxins that can worsen swelling in varicose veins.
Some of the best anti-inflammatory foods for reducing the appearance of varicose veins include:
High-fiber foods — Fiber helps improve heart health and is also necessary for healthy digestive functions. Eating 30–40 grams of fiber every day is a great way to prevent constipation, which can cause bloating and increased pressure on the veins around the abdomen and legs. High-fiber foods to eat include chia seeds and flaxseeds, (which are also omega-3 foods, which are anti-inflammatory), vegetables, fresh fruit, and soaked/sprouted legumes and ancient grains.
High-antioxidant foods — Antioxidants, such as flavonoids (present in berries), vitamin C and vitamin E (both present in green veggies and citrus fruits), help strengthen veins, fight inflammation and improve arterial health. Vitamin E is known to help prevent blood clots, acts like a natural blood thinner and is tied to heart health. Vitamin C is a powerful anti-inflammatory and beneficial for skin health.
Natural diuretics — Doctors sometimes use diuretic pills to help increase urination and reduce water retention or swelling. You can get the same effect safely by consuming things like fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, basil), fennel, dandelion greens, cucumber, asparagus and celery.
Magnesium-rich foods — Blood pooling , blood pressure problems and leg cramps (like restless leg syndrome) are warning signs of deficiencies in electrolytes like potassium and magnesium. To overcome these symptoms, increase intake of things like leafy greens, avocado, bananas, cruciferous veggies and sweet potatoes.
Spicy foods — Foods with spices such as cayenne pepper or curry help heat up the body and get blood flowing, adding to healthy circulation and even appetite/weight control.
Wild-caught fish — Fish and seafood like wild salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and tuna provide omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for proper blood flow.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) — ACV improves circulation in the vein walls and is an effective anti-inflammatory. Many people find that using ACV along with witch hazel on varicose veins helps lower swelling and and improves their appearance within just a few weeks.