Many people set New Year’s resolutions related to weight loss, exercise, and eating well, but if you’re looking for a health-related goal that can still deliver major wellness perks, consider your vein health.

Your veins play one of the most important roles in keeping you alive by carrying blood to the heart. In fact, 75% of the blood in your body is located within this intricate vascular network. Keeping your veins healthy is therefore an excellent way to boost your overall wellness. Moreover, many of the steps you can take to strengthen your veins also overlap with other common health resolutions. Here are a few ways you can improve your vein health through the new year and beyond.

1. Don’t Smoke

We’ve long known about the harmful effects of smoking, but research has confirmed that there’s a significant association between tobacco and venous insufficiency. In this condition, valves in the veins don’t work properly, and as a result blood collects in your legs. Left unaddressed, it can lead to varicose veins, ulcers, and swelling.

Smoking cessation is a powerful way to improve both your vein health and your overall wellness. Quitting certainly isn’t easy, but your doctor may be able to help with resources, and if needed, prescription medication. 

2. Keep Moving

Regular exercise keeps your veins healthy by increasing blood flow. Most adults need 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. Beyond this, small amounts of movement throughout the day, such as taking a break to do a few jumping jacks or hold a few yoga poses, are just as important as routine sweat sessions. Whatever you do, avoid long periods of sitting or standing, which can allow blood to pool in the legs.

3. Watch Your Diet

When it comes to vein health, there are foods that help and some that harm. Foods that are high in sodium can increase blood pressure, putting excess strain on vascular walls. “Most people have too much sodium in their diet,” says Dr. Jacobson, “the majority of which comes in the form of processed foods.” When possible, limit ready-made meals and snacks, and prepare your own foods with wholesome ingredients, like fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.

Nutrients like capsaicin and omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to increase circulation by acting as vasodilators, meaning they open up blood vessels to enhance blood flow. Other nutrients have anti-inflammatory effects that could also help keep veins healthy, such as curcumin, garlic, L-arginine, and vitamin B3. If you don’t get these nutrients regularly from your diet, consider asking your doctor about starting supplements.

4. Stay Hydrated

When you’re dehydrated, your blood becomes more sluggish, making it more likely to collect in your veins. Drinking plenty of water is a simple fix. Men should aim to get 3.7 liters of fluid a day, while women should have 2.7 liters. Keep in mind that you can also get fluid from fruits and vegetables. Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption will also ensure your body is amply hydrated. 

5. Use Compression 

Compression socks or stockings are made of specialized material that adds pressure at the legs and ankles, helping to drive blood upwards to improve circulation. If you have an existing venous condition or are at an elevated risk for developing one, your doctor may recommend wearing compression socks throughout the day. Just be sure to get guidance on when to wear them and which style is best for you. 

If you have veins that cause you discomfort or health concerns, lifestyle changes may not be enough to address the entire matter. Make it your New Year’s resolution to have your veins treated with our specialists at one of our nine convenient locations. Call us for an appointment at (770) 423-0595