Feeling self-conscious about wearing leg-baring shorts and bathing suits because of varicose veins? You’re not alone. Nearly half of all adults have the lumpy, bluish, often achy veins — and women are twice as likely as men to get them. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent — and even help erase — varicose veins.
Take citrus fruit extract.
Taking a citrus fruit extract called diosmin reduces the appearance and achiness of varicose veins in as little as 30 days, studies suggest. This plant compound tightens and tones blood vessels, so fluids are less likely to pool in leg veins and other tissues. Plus, it shrinks ankle and calf swelling, too.
One option: Natural Factors VeinSense: $18.87, Amazon.
Apply witch hazel.
Dabbing witch hazel directly to swollen veins shrinks them, soothing any pain and temporarily reducing the darkness that appears when blood pools, according to British researchers. Witch hazel’s secret? It’s loaded with
natural anti-inflammatories called tannins.
The leafy green is one of the richest natural sources of vitamin K, a nutrient essential for keeping the walls and valves of your leg veins strong, so varicose veins are less likely to form, reports the Journal of Vascular Research. Eat 1/2 cup of spinach daily for the best results, or choose other vitamin K-rich foods, such as kale, broccoli, cabbage, collards, turnip greens and Brussels sprouts, suggests study coauthor Leon Schurgers, Ph.D.
Go for regular walks.
If you’re at risk for developing large varicose veins due to a family history, pregnancies or excess weight, daily 30-minute walks can stop them from forming — or from getting any worse if you already have them, reports the World Journal of Sport Sciences. Walking keeps your calf muscles strong,
helping them quickly pump blood back up to your heart before it can pool in your legs.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Reverse Aging.