Be Gone, Ugly Varicose Veins!

Fall 2005 CSANews Issue 56  |  Posted date : May 23, 2007.Back to list

Varicose veins are those unsightly thick and lumpy bluish-green veins that protrude from your legs. It is estimated that 41% of women suffer from abnormal leg veins by the time they are in their 50s. Doctors cannot pinpoint the exact cause of these veins, but certain factors, such as heredity, aging, obesity, hormones, and standing too long, can all play a role in the development of this ailment. There are some easy ways, however, to prevent varicose veins – or to at least relieve the discomfort of those that already exist:

  • Exercise regularly to promote blood flow to your legs.
  • Control your weight. Excess weight only puts more pressure on the veins in your legs.
  • Do not cross your legs while sitting.
    Elevate your legs above heart level 3 to 4 times daily, if possible.
  • Wear elastic support stockings, and refrain from wearing restrictive clothing around your waist and groin.
  • Do not stand or sit for prolonged periods of time. Change your position frequently.
  • Reduce the amount of salt in your diet, as salt causes water retention and swelling.

"All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt!"
~ Lucy from Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz

It's true – a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt at all. In fact, it's quite good for you. Recent studies show that chocolate can help to prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure, and reduce bad cholesterol. Studies, however, were based on the consumption of dark chocolate – not milk or white chocolate. The difference is that dark chocolate contains significantly higher amounts of cocoa mass, which contains flavonoids. This natural compound, found in cocoa beans, helps to inhibit blood clot formation and allows blood vessels to relax. Flavonoids can also be found in other foods, such as apples, onions, soybeans, blueberries, red wine, and green tea.

If you really enjoy chocolate, you now have more reasons to indulge! However, before you go on a chocolate binge, remember these three points:

  • Chocolate cannot replace any type of medication.
  • Chocolate contains many calories. Eat a balanced diet and limit the amount of chocolate you eat per day.
  • Dark chocolate contains the most flavonoids. Choose a bar that contains at least 70% cocoa mass. Some good picks include Lindt Excellence Noirissime, Cote d'Or Brut, Cocoa Camino Bittersweet, and Godiva Cocoa Demitasse.