Maintaining a balanced diet is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. A good balanced diet can not only help you manage your weight, it can also keep your cholesterol and blood pressure in check and reduce your chances of developing vascular disease.
Vascular disease encompasses any condition that affects the vascular system, including stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysm, renal artery stenosis, peripheral vascular disease (PVD), pulmonary embolism (PE), non-healing wounds, and varicose veins. If untreated, vascular disease can significantly reduce quality of life and even prove deadly.
The vascular system is comprised of veins and arteries that transport blood throughout your body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to cells. When the vascular system is neglected due to diet and other lifestyle factors, oxygen and nutrient-rich blood may not get to where it is supposed to, causing a host of health issues.
To keep your vascular system in optimum health, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. One way to do this is to maintain a balanced diet of foods that encourage vascular health. You can do this by integrating vein-friendly foods into your diet.
To maintain a vein-friendly diet, you should eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You should also reduce the amount of saturated fat, salt, and sugar in your diet.
Fat is a good source of energy and provides essential fatty acids which our bodies need. However, saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood and increase your risk of vascular disease. Avoid foods high in saturated fats and look for foods containing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Also avoid salty foods. Excessive salt consumption can raise your blood pressure, which if prolonged, can be very detrimental to your vascular health. Finally, avoid foods containing excess sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Sugar in moderation is okay, but when you ingest more sugar than your body can readily metabolize, it ends up being transformed into fat and stored for later use. The American Heart Association provides some good information on managing sugar in your diet.
Visit the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion for more information on nutritional requirements and how you can adopt and maintain a healthy, balanced diet. However, the following can serve as a quick guide to vein-friendly foods:
Protein Rich Foods
You can still be a meat eater and maintain a protein-rich diet. Cut out red meat from your diet and try eating more poultry and fish. Eggs are also a good source of protein.
Whole grains are rich in wheat germ, which is an excellent source of vitamin E; a circulatory stimulator. Oats/oatmeal, brown rice, whole rye, wild rice, and buckwheat are excellent sources of whole grains.
Fruits and vegetables
There is good evidence that eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day can lower the risk of vascular disease. With such a variety to choose from, you’re sure to find a few favorites to work into your diet.
There are a variety of beans, but consider common staples such as pinto beans, black beans, and kidney beans. These possess B-complex vitamins and fiber that enhance vascular health.
These are a great way to avoid an unhealthy salty snack when that urge hits. Sunflower seeds are known to improve blood vessel efficiency.
Nuts that contain omega-3 fatty acids help maximize vascular health. These include peanuts, almonds, flax seeds, and walnuts. These nuts are also an excellent source of protein.
You are reading this correctly. Chocolate! Unfortunately, not all kinds. Dark chocolate, specifically, contains flavanols, which improve blood vessel health.
Rather than drinking coffee, consider a cup of tea. Green and black tea also contain flavanols to help strengthen the building blocks of your vascular system.
While diet is a great place to start, it is only one piece of the overall health puzzle. You should also exercise regularly (at minimum, walk 30 minutes, three times a week), avoid a sedentary lifestyle, and if you are over age 50, talk to your care provider about vascular screening.
By taking a few small measures to adopt a vein-friendly diet, you will better manage your weight, keep your cholesterol and blood pressure in check, and reduce your chances of developing vascular disease. You will feel healthier, have more energy, and get more enjoyment out of life. Your body will thank you for it and so will your loved ones.