How To Prevent Varicose Veins
You don't want those
wormy blue bulges sticking out of your legs, right?
How to prevent varicose veins is probably something
you've been wondering about.
You've come to the right place, and if you're
willing to take responsibility for your health, you
can have a life free of the unsightly misshapen
veins that cause so much pain and shame for the
people who have to suffer with them.
Contrary to popular belief, your genes don't decide
if you develop them - you do.
How To Prevent Varicose Veins:
What Are They?
Veins transform from your run of the mill blood
conduit to the bulging, spidery lumps you so
often see in peoples' calves when their valves
begin to fail and leak blood backwards.
Everyone knows the heart pumps fresh blood out
to the body, but there isn't an obvious return
pump. Ingeniously, the body relies on the
contraction of our muscles to fight gravity and
propel the blood upwards for cleaning and the
replenishment of nutrients.
When the valves that keep that blood from
leaking downward between contractions start to
wear down and their leaflets no longer form a
perfect seal, the blood leaks into the veins
below and pools in various parts of the leg
(varicose veins can also form in other parts of
The veins this blood leaks into enlarge,
engorged by large amounts of old plasma, and
eventually they become noticeable by casual
observation. Besides being unpleasant
aesthetically, many people find them itchy or
painful and resort to surgery or other invasive
methods to get rid of them.
Are Heredity And Genetics The Causes Of
Most people in the western world like to believe
their health is outside of their control so they can
blame everything but their actions for their
diseases. For instance, it's commonly believed
cancer risk, obesity, type two diabetes, and other
diseases are caused by our genes, even though
science has shown all
of these diseases are primarily caused by diet and
Unsurprisingly, many people
blame their parents and more distant family for
passing on varicose veins. While they do have a
hereditary element, research has shown that genes
play be a relatively small part in determining if a
person will develop the issue (1).
I actually spent my early life assuming I'd develop
varicose veins because it was in my family history.
My mother and aunt got them at a relatively young
ages, and my aunt opted to have painful surgery to
get some of her's removed. Soon after he graduated
from college, those spidery veins were climbing up
my older brother's calves too.
Yet I took a different path than my family did, and
it made all the difference. Having spent the early
part of my
life overweight and miserable, I decided to make
some drastic changes around age 17. I
gradually started replacing the processed foods and
animal products I'd been raised on with whole plant
foods while I simultaneously ratcheting up my
exercise regime. By age 19 I was eating a low fat
vegan diet, and soon after I was eating a healthy
raw food diet made up of whole fruits,
vegetables, and a few nuts and seeds.
Unlike my brother, who'd never left unhealthy foods
behind, I graduated from college with no bulging
blue veins in my legs, and in the years since I've
continued to be free of them. Now I'm not saying
it's impossible for me to develop them, but I'm be
willing to bet they'll never trouble me.
Want to know how to prevent varicose veins? First,
start looking to yourself.
How To Prevent Varicose Veins:
The Food Connection
Most westerners are
killing themselves with their poor diets and
lifestyles, which cause all
manner of life-threatening and disabling
, but also bring on plenty of
other odd disorders like varicose veins, which
25 percent of the United States population
suffers from to some degree.
Just like heart disease and stroke -two other
vascular conditions which can be prevented with a
healthy diet and lifestyle
- varicose veins can be avoided if you're willing to
make wise choices.
Wormy blue disfigurments are almost entirely absent
from populations that eat a high fiber, low fat,
plant-based diet (5), (6).
When Dr. Denis Burkitt was apointed by the British
government to the post of Government Surgeon of
Uganda in 1946, he noticed that most of the diseases
he'd treated in England, Scotland, and Ireland were
entirely absent from Africa. There was virtually no
cancer, type two diabetes, obesity, hemorrhoids,
heart disease, or the other diseases western people
suffered from. Between 1946 and 1964 he found no
cases of varicose veins (7), despite so many
suffering from it in the western world.
The Ugandan diet of his patients was based around
vegetables and fruits, and had virtually no refined
foods and very little meat,
eggs, or dairy.
It was low in cholesterol, packed with carbohydrates
and fiber, and high in vitamins, minerals, and
Burkitt believed the diet of his African patients,
particularly its high fiber content, was responsible
for their vascular health, and subsequently became
known for his promotion of high fiber foods. Decades
of research has shown that increasing fiber
consumption alone won't undue the problems brought
on by eating an unhealthy western diet, but eating
plant-based meals and avoiding animals foods and
processed junk certainly will.
In Africa, increasingly worsening diets have lead to
more varicose veins since the end of Burkitt's
tenure, along with many other western diseases (9).
Unsurprisingly, those that suffer from other
diseases known to be brought on by diet and
lifestyle problems also suffer from a higher
incidence of varicose veins compared to those who
don't. Those with heart disease, a malady which can
be prevented and reversed with a low fat plant based
vegan diet (2), for instance, have a considerably
larger risk of developing varicose veins than those
who don't (3).
How To Prevent Varicose Veins:
Straining Your Way To Wormy Blue Veins
Although the theory hasn't been proven (10), Burkitt
believed that hemorrhoids and varicose veins were at
least partially brought on due to strain during
It's well known
who eat lots of meat, dairy, eggs, and processed
foods have a much harder time passing stools and
suffer from more constipation than those who eat
People on healthy
raw food diets probably have it easiest of
all, and adherents usually describe needing to sit
on the toilet for only a few seconds and put no
effort into moving their bowels.
People eating your average western SAD diet, though,
often have to strain just to pass their hard stools.
When a person strains, the high retrograde pressure
involved dilates the leg veins and stretches out the
valves. After years of this abnormal pressure, the
valve leaflets no longer create a perfect seal and
blood starts leaking downward, eventually leading to
varicose veins and related problems like hemorrhoids
In men, those needing to put any strain into bowel
movements had three times the incidence of
varicose veins (12).
You want to know how to prevent varicose veins? Step
1: eat a diet that allows for effortless bowel
How To Prevent Varicose Veins:
Living A Healthy Lifestyle
Lifestyle is critical if you want to stay free of
varicose veins. Your best bet is to adopt a lifestyle
that supports the many pillars we rely on for
Varicose veins are significantly more common in
those that consume alcohol (which, contrary to
popular belief, causes
disease even among light drinkers) and smoke,
for instance (4).
Having a healthy
low body weight and doing vigorous exercise
appears to reduce risk considerably (13), (14).
How To Prevent Varicose Veins: Following Up
to prevent varicose veins? Eat a healthy raw food
Learn to make delicious
and healthy raw salad dressings.
Figure out what foods
to eat and which to avoid.
How To Prevent Varicose Veins: Sources
Ahti, Tiina M. Et al. "Effect of Family History on
the Incidence of Varicose Veins: A Population-Based
Follow-Up Study in Finland" ANGIOLOGY,
August/September 2009; vol. 60, 4: pp. 487-491.,
first published on July 21, 2009
D, Brown SE, Scherwitz LW, Billings JH, Armstrong
WT, Ports TA, McLanahan SM, Kirkeeide RL, Brand RJ,
Gould KL Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary
heart disease? The Lifestyle Heart Trial. Lancet.
1990 Jul 21;336(8708):129-33.
3) Makivaara, LA. Et al. Arterial disease
but not hypertension predisposes to varicose veins
Phlebology June 2008 23:142-146;
4) Ahti, TM.
Et al. Lifestyle factors and varicose veins: does
cross-sectional design result in underestimate of
the risk? Phlebology. August 2010 vol. 25 no. 4
DP, Walker AR, Painter NS. Dietary fiber and
disease. JAMA. 1974;229:1068-1074.
DP. Varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis, and
hemorrhoids: epidemiology and suggested etiology. Br
Med J. 1972;2:556-561.
A. The fiber Controversy. Dig Dis 1976
I. Persistent low prevalence of Western
digestive diseases in Africa: confounding
aetiological factors. Gut. 2001
Richardson JB, Dixon M. Varicose veins in tropical
Africa. Lancet. 1977;1:791–792.
FG, Lee AJ, Evans CJ, Allan PL, Bradbury AW, Ruckley
CV. Lifestyle risk factors for lower limb venous
reflux in the general population: Edinburgh Vein
Study. Int J Epidemiol. 2001;30:846–852.
SW. A study of haemorrhoids as seen at the
Kenyatta National Hospital with special reference to
asymptomatic haemorrhoids. East Afr Med J. 1991
12) Lee AJ,
Evans CJ, Hau CM, Fowkes FG. Fiber intake,
constipation, and risk of varicose veins in the
general population: Edinburgh Vein Study. J Clin
Beebe–Dimmer JL, Pfeifer JR, Engle JS, Schottenfeld
D. The epidemiology of chronic venous insufficiency
and varicose veins. Ann Epidemiol. 2005;15:175–184.
AL. Botanical influences on cardiovascular disease.
Altern Med Rev. 1998;3:422–431.
Receive the free Raw Food Health Journal
Keep up to date with new articles from this site.