Spider veins, which are essentially mini varicose veins, usually appear on the legs as small red or blue lines close to the surface of the skin. Often resembling spider webs or tree branches, they weave in and out and may also develop on the face. Spider veins often develop due to a genetic propensity, but age, lack of movement, obesity, sun exposure and hormonal changes can also cause them to appear. While your diet can't prevent spider veins, a healthy, whole-foods approach to eating can help.
Focus on High-Fiber Foods
A high-fiber diet helps keep your digestive tract running smoothly. Fiber is indigestible plant material that helps prevent constipation, which can contribute to the development of varicose and spider veins. When you strain to have a bowel movement, this puts stress on the veins. The valves of the veins stretch and get damaged when you push hard against dry stool.
The average person should get between 25 and 38 grams of fiber per day, with men usually requiring the higher end of the range, according to the Institute of Medicine. Foods rich in fiber include fresh fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains. Some of the highest-fiber options include apples, lentils, corn, avocados, bran and whole-grain pasta and bread.
Lower Your Salt Intake
Too much sodium in your diet encourages swelling, which contributes to compromised veins. Spider veins may appear puffier when you retain fluids. Avoid processed foods, especially prepared soups and frozen dinners, which tend to contain a lot of added sodium for flavor and preservation. Restaurant foods, packaged bread, smoked meats, salted nuts and canned entrees are other high-sodium foods that you should try to limit in your diet. Instead, eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables; roast or grill your own meats and season them with fresh herbs and spices, rather than bottled sauces; and create homemade sauces and salad dressings.
Add Pineapple to Your Diet
Fibrin, a protein that discourages blood from clotting, is found in excessive amounts in spider and varicose veins. Pineapple stems and juice contain the digestive enzyme bromelain, which processes fibrin and helps improve your circulation. Consuming raw pineapple or drinking pineapple juice may help reduce spider veins and any swelling from varicose veins, but there is no research that supports this assertion.
Try Vein-Strengthening Foods
Certain plant foods may also help prevent spider veins by providing ample amounts of antioxidants and flavonoids to help build tissue and keep your veins healthy and strong. Blueberries, cherries, red grapes, citrus with the pith and buckwheat are examples of these foods. Encourage quality blood circulation to help prevent the development of spider veins; go for spicy foods and spices, such as garlic, onion, chilies and ginger.
- Womenshealth.gov: Varicose Veins and Spider Veins Fact Sheet
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids
- Dr. McDougall's Health and Medicine Center: Constipation, Hemorrhoids, Varicose Veins
- Health: 20 Best Foods for Fiber
- Real Simple: How to Treat and Prevent Varicose Veins
- Vein Healthcare Center: Alternative Treatments for Venous Disease
- Body+Soul: Get Rid of Spider Veins