The healthy diet against chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins

Being overweight promotes the development of chronic venous disease. The best eating style? It is the Mediterranean one. What to eat and what to avoid

In Italy, 1/5 of the population has varicose veins and over 1/3 has some signs and symptoms of venous insufficiency. A problem that affects 60-70% of the general population, especially women.

“Venous disease, in addition to being extremely widespread, is a pathology not to be underestimated for its evolutionary character, which goes from skin imperfections in the initial stages to varicose veins, edema, up to more serious manifestations such as ulcers and phlebitis”, he explains Angelo Santoliquido, Director of the Angiology Unit, Agostino Gemelli University Hospital Foundation IRCCS of Rome.

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“Prevention, correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment are essential to prevent the disease from worsening over time, especially in the presence of risk factors such as familiarity, sedentary lifestyle, overweight, pregnancy and a lifestyle that involves long periods standing or sitting “.

To invite women to take care of themselves, starting with the well-being of their legs, the Do not take you under the leg campaign was launched, with a website that offers 360-degree information to learn how to recognize the alarm bells of the disease. venous and manage the various aspects related to the clinical evolution of the disease, making use of the contribution of authoritative experts.

What is Chronic Venous Disease

Chronic Venous Disease – the experts write on the campaign information site – is an extremely common condition characterized by an altered return of blood from the lower limbs to the heart. Blood circulates throughout the body through a system of vessels: arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the periphery, and veins carry oxygen-poor blood from the periphery to the heart. In an upright position, therefore, the venous blood must counteract the force of gravity to be able to reach the heart.
Both the calf muscles, which contract and push the blood upwards, and a system of valves, present in the veins, which open and close, intervene to facilitate the return of blood from the feet and legs to the heart. they close to let blood flow in the right direction and prevent reflux. It is the coordinated movement between muscle contraction, opening and closing of the valve that allows venous circulation. If the valves are damaged or if the calf muscle contracts a little due to little walking, the blood cannot proceed correctly upwards, and flows backwards, flows downwards, causing an increase in pressure on the valves that with the over time they damage themselves further.
This determines the appearance of the first symptoms: the veins and capillaries become visible and pain, swelling, itching and redness in the legs are felt.

I sintomi

Varicose veins represent a visible manifestation of the disease, which initially may have subtle symptoms, such as tingling, itching, heaviness in the legs, night cramps. The sooner a diagnosis is made, the sooner one can intervene, both from a pharmacological and behavioral point of view. It is good to consult your doctor immediately without neglecting mild symptoms, especially if you are a woman, spend many hours standing, are pregnant, live in hot areas, are elderly or have a family history, since the component genetics plays an important role.

How can you intervene

The treatment – explain the doctors participating in the initiative – must aim at improving both venous function and the signs and symptoms of the disease.

To this end, the first step is to follow a healthy lifestyle and in particular:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Take a few breaks throughout the day while keeping your legs elevated
  • Limit the use of high heels
  • Sleeping in the unloaded position with the legs higher than the heart by placing a rise of about 5 cm under the feet of the bed base thus creating an inclined plane
  • As far as possible, avoid standing for many hours, alternating moments in which you sit and stretch your feet.

The diet

Even chronic venous insufficiency – the experts explain on the information site of the Do Not Take Under Leg campaign – the pathology responsible for varicose or varicose veins, can be influenced by diet. It is a very serious disease and unfortunately a correct diet is not enough to cure it once it arises; introducing certain foods and avoiding others, however, can be a valuable aid in preventing it and attenuating its progress, especially if a dietary regime is accompanied by an active life and physical exercise.

The importance of a correct body weight

One of the reasons why those who fall into the categories listed must adopt a healthy diet is to keep their weight under control. One of the factors that favors the onset of venous insufficiency is in fact obesity. Excessive weight causes the subjects concerned to move poorly and not mobilize the lower limbs enough. The thrusting action of the calf muscles on the veins is essential for the return of blood to the heart, as is the rhythmic support of the sole of the foot on the ground which activates the plantar pump, an area rich in blood vessels. Furthermore, in obese people, due to the accumulation of fat on the abdomen, intra-abdominal pressure increases and the flow of blood from the lower limbs slows down.

What to eat

Another important component of avoiding varicose veins is the health of the blood vessel walls. If they are not tonic, the blood accumulates, deforming them. Collagen is a protein present in most of the tissues of the human body and is also very important for the tone of the veins. It is synthesized starting from vitamin C, so you have to eat foods in which it is present, such as fruit and vegetables, for example citrus fruits (lemons, tangerines, oranges), kiwis, currants, pineapples, blackberries. The same elements are also rich in polyphenols, which counteract the oxidation of cells.

Other precious substances, which act as vasoprotectors on capillary fragility, are the anthocyanosides present in the bilberry and in all the blue colored fruit.

Unsaturated fatty acids, on the other hand, contribute to the formation of Omega-3 and Omega-9 which have anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant properties. They are not synthesized by the body, so it is good to take them through food. They are found in fish, particularly in salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines, in vegetable oils such as walnut oil, extra virgin olive oil, soy and sunflower oil and in dried fruit such as almonds , nuts, pumpkin seeds, peanuts.

Foods such as pineapple, grapes, pears, melon, watermelon, apples, celery, asparagus, garlic and onion have a strong diuretic action because they help drain edema or swelling.

What to avoid

The very fatty and caloric foods that lead to weight gain are therefore to be taken in moderate quantities. These include: salt, simple sugars such as soft drinks and baked goods, saturated and hydrogenated fats, such as butter and margarine “.

Without forgetting proper hydration. About 60% of our body is in fact made up of water: every cell, tissue and organ in our body needs water to function properly. The cardiovascular system is no exception and needs adequate hydration in order to function properly. For this reason, experts recommend drinking 1.5-2 liters of water a day, equal to about 8 glasses of water a day, unless otherwise indicated by the treating physician specific to your pathological condition.

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