5 surprising foods that could prevent varicose veins

Heredity is probably the biggest factor in whether you could become one of the 80 million people around the world with varicose veins. And while there is no cure for vein disease, there are certain foods that may give a person a fighting chance against a tough genetic hand. Consider adding these foods to your diet today!

Bring on the berries

Blueberries and blackberries are packed with rutin, a critical flavonoid with anti-clotting factors. A 2012 Harvard study measured 5,000 compounds for their ability to block a critical protein involved in the blood-clotting process. Rutin blew away the competition and was seen as having potential preventative effects for both arterial blood clots that cause strokes and heart attacks as well as venous clots seen in serious vein conditions like deep vein thrombosis.

No 'wine'-ing about grapes

Red and purple grapes are loaded with flavonoids and vitamins. But more importantly, they contain oligomeric proanthocyanidins, also known as OPC's, which some researchers believe could reduce vein leakage and leg swelling. Now the fun part: red wine can offer the same benefits! But try not to have more than one drink a day.

"We always love to see patients' surprised looks when we tell them red wine can actually be good for their veins," said Terri Morrison, a sclerotherapy nurse and co-founder of Morrison Vein Institute in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Warm up to ginger

This flavor enhancer with a spicy kick often comes alongside Asian dishes. But its ability to dissolve fibrin, a protein that encourages clotting inside blood vessels, supports circulation. Dissolving fibrin is difficult for people with varicose veins. Ginger has also been long known for its role in helping with insulin regulation in diabetics and pre-diabetics.

Serious about citrus

Grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes … most everyone knows citrus is a vitamin C-rich food family. The vitamin's anti-oxidant benefits can prevents dangerous free radicals, which can damage blood vessel walls.

"The nutritional benefits of citrus can easily go overlooked," Morrison added. "We've been hearing about how great vitamin C is for a very long time. And let's face it, vitamin C just doesn't sound as important as carb-counting or protein boosting for some reason. But I always say citrus tastes great and it's good for your veins, so why not add it or your diet?"

Reach for the avocado

Say "yes" to the guacamole dip and even add a slice of this nutrient-packed fruit to a sandwich. Your legs and heart will appreciate it. Avocados bring the best of many things, as they are rich with vitamins C and E and also have a high concentration of minerals and glutathione, which some call the mother of all antioxidants.

Weighing in on water

OK, OK, we know, it's not a food. But water is key to keeping the digestive system humming. How is that linked to your veins? Without water, it's easy to become constipated, which increases pressure on veins and boosts the likelihood of getting varicose veins.