Weight management, lifestyle change and spider veins

If you are carrying a little more weight than you should, your weight can often be an emotional and a stressful topic to discuss. More often than not, you might avoid the topic completely because of fear and embarrassment. But the only way you can help yourself is by tackling the problem head on. Here we will give you some simple hints and tips that you can easily incorporate into your everyday life, to maintain a healthy body weight and possibly reduce your spider veins.

What does weight have to do with spider veins?

Being overweight can bring on health problems that go way beyond just aesthetics. It’s a well-known fact that excess weight increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes and osteoarthritis. In addition to these risks, those considered obese may also be at a higher risk of experiencing respiratory problems, back pain, urinary incontinence, gallbladder disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, stroke and some cancers1.
One health aspect that may not first come to mind is the effect of weight on your vein health. You may not know, but excess weight can contribute to the development of spider veins, varicose veins and venous ulcers. Carrying a few extra pounds means your veins are under extra pressure and if the vein walls are weakened, then the pressure of blood in them leads to bulges forming. Small capillaries then grow in the direction of the bulge and they become more visible. which can result in dilation of the vessels which carry the blood around the body, making them become visible. Not only will steps towards a healthy weight lessen the likelihood of developing spider veins, it will also benefit your overall health.

Your lifestyle and spider veins

Spider veins, like varicose veins, occur when collagen in the capillary walls become weak or damaged.3 Although spider veins may impact your body confidence, they rarely cause other medical problems and are considered by many to be a cosmetic issue5.
Vein and capillary health may be influenced by the quality of your diet which needs to provide the necessary components to enable healthy strong veins. Protein is vitally important so foods which contain good protein levels will aid the production of amino acids which promote good collagen levels in your body.

How can dietary changes help me?

Collagen is important for maintaining the strength and elasticity of veins and capillaries and therefore skin health. Ensuring you provide your body with enough amino acids and nutrients in your diet is the foundation for strong collagen production. Tailor your diet to include higher levels of protein as well as fresh fruit and veg. Dark skinned fruits are high in phytonutrients called anthocyanins which help the body to repair and protect collagen. With good collagen levels, your skin looks more plumped up, maintaining its elasticity and strength. The result? You’ll also reduce the likelihood of spider veins showing through the upper layer of the skin.

Weight management through dietary changes can improve general health, helping to regulate blood sugar levels, your blood pressure, mood and energy levels. You might notice an improvement in your skin’s appearance and health as there’s less pressure on the veins.

Start with something small, as it is these daily habits which can make all the difference when it comes to weight loss. Ensuring good hydration with water and fruit, or switching from sugar laden juices and fizzy drinks to fruit infused water or herbal teas can be a great first step. Try other snacks to satisfy your cravings, an apple and handful of Brazil nuts, or celery with peanut butter are all great alternatives. Be sure to include protein with snacks as this can work to reduce blood sugar fluctuations.

Another simple swap is to replace salt in your diet by seasoning food with spices such as cayenne pepper, ginger and garlic, which can help to get the blood circulating. Finally, why not try including anti-inflammatory foods such as salmon and avocados, and reducing highly inflammatory foods such a caffeine and dairy.
A key to making steps in managing your weight is teaching yourself to identify the difference between hunger and cravings. Eat if you are hungry, not just because you’re bored. Cravings usually disappear within twenty minutes if your attention is distracted from the enticing food or the idea of eating. If you are hungry, it will usually get more intense if not satisfied. Sometimes a hot drink can stave off hunger.

What lifestyle changes can help me?

Aside from your food intake, it’s also important to consider exercise. We all know the weight loss mantra “eat less, move more”, but aside from losing weight, regular activity is important for your general health. Regular moderate exercise can improve circulation. So, whether it’s walking, running, boxing, swimming, or team sports, find a form of exercise you enjoy and get involved! Even very small movements when you are sitting for longer periods of time help to keep blood circulating. If you are concerned about your vein health or general lifestyle or want to educate yourself even further on spider veins and reducing your risk of developing them, take a look around our website or speak to one of our Nutrition Advisors who will be able to help you on the right path.

1. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, NHI (2017) Overweight and Obesity: Signs, Symptoms and Complications. Available online https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/signs Accessed 28th February 2017.
2. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, NHI (2014) What causes Varicose Veins. Available online https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/vv/causes Accessed 28th February 2017
3. Pietrangelo A (2012) Spider Veins (Telangiectasias). Available online http://www.healthline.com/health/spider-veins#Symptoms2 Accessed 27th February 2017.
4. Eklöf B, Rutherford RB, Bergan JJ, Carpentier PH, Gloviczki P, Kistner RL, Meissner MH, Moneta GL, Myers K, Padberg FT, Perrin M, Ruckley V, Smith PC, Wakefield TW (2004) Revision of the CEAP classification for chronic venous disorders: consensus statement. J Vasc Surg 40:1248-1252.
5. Goldman MP, Bennett RG (1987) Treatment of telangiectasia: a review. J Am Acad Dermatol 17:167–82.

Rose Holmes

Rose Holmes

Rose Holmes, BSc (Hons), Dip.ION, BFRP, PGCE, mBANT, rCNHC is a Registered Nutritional Therapist with a special interest in chronic illness, circadian rhythm disruption and healthy ageing. Rose has worked as Nutritionist in a retail setting and has authored more than 150 online published articles.