Veins are part of your circulatory system, which includes arteries and other blood vessels. They help deliver blood from your body and lungs back to the heart, and from there oxygen and nutrients go to every cell in your body. A balanced diet that includes certain vitamins is important to help keep your veins healthy.
Varicose Veins and Spider Veins
Varicose veins are unsightly, bulging vessels that are red, blue, purple or pink. They can also cause pain, itching and discomfort. According to WomensHealth.gov, this common problem occurs when the walls of the veins stiffen and weaken. The valves or flaps that keep blood in the veins flowing toward the heart also weaken, leading to blood backflowing and pooling in the legs. Spider veins are much smaller varicosities closer to the surface of the skin.
Vitamin C Builds Collagen
Vitamin C helps build collagen and elastin, elastic fibers that keep your skin and blood vessels strong and flexible. These fibers allow the veins to resist pressure and prevent valves from leaking. The Linus Pauling Institute recommends a dosage of 500 milligrams per day for healthy vein dilation. You can also get vitamin C from foods such as oranges, kiwis, tomatoes, broccoli and potatoes.
Vitamin E Prevents Clots
Vitamin E can help prevent blood-clotting proteins from clumping together and forming clots. This helps ease blood flow through the veins, keeping them healthy. According to a review published in the journal "Free Radical Biology and Medicine," clinical trials show that vitamin E can help protect blood vessels, and a dosage of 100 to 800 international units of vitamin E per day is safe. Good sources of this vitamin include eggs, nuts, dark green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, yams and liver.
Niacin Reduces Cholesterol
Niacin, or vitamin B-3, is another vitamin important for vein health, because it can help balance blood cholesterol levels. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends 14 to 16 milligrams for most adults and 18 milligrams for pregnant women. If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may prescribe high doses of niacin to help treat it. Food sources of niacin include beef liver, beets, fish, sunflower seeds and peanuts.
- WomensHealth.gov: Varicose Veins and Spider Veins Fact Sheet
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Varicose Veins
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin C
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin E
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B3
- Free Radical Biology and Medicine: Vitamin E and Heart Disease: Basic Science to Clinical Intervention Trials