Swimming Away Varicose Veins

There is no better way to beat the heat this summer than to hit the pool or fresh Tahoe waters! Swimming works almost every muscle area in the body including your legs, arms, shoulders and even your core. As a very low impact sport, swimming is a great exercise to combat natural gravity, while still strengthening both large and small muscle groups. Swimming is also among the top best cardiovascular exercises to strengthen the legs and increase your blood flow, which is one major component to combating varicose veins.

If you are new to swimming or are looking for ways to solely use your legs in the pool, there are a few simple ways to ease into the sport of swimming. One of the best ways to work leg muscles is to use a kick board. You can rest your chest on the board while holding on to it and propelling yourself through the water using only your legs. This is a great way to build leg muscle and even your endurance to feel comfortable and confident in the pool. If you don’t have a kick board, you can hold on to the side of the pool and kick your legs backwards instead.

Another pool activity that is great to reduce development of varicose veins is to tread water. Treading water requires you to use almost every muscle in your body to keep your head above the water, making it great for improving blood flow and keeping your heart rate high. By engaging your core, using your arms slightly and using your legs to keep you afloat, not only is it a great workout, but will greatly improve your heart health and vein health over time.

If swimming isn’t your style, you can still take advantage of the benefits of the pool. The reduced pressure from the water can help make exercises that are difficult on land, like leg lifts and calf raises, a little easier. To perform leg lifts in the pool, stand in waist-deep water and slowly raise your legs backward and to the side, one at a time. Then repeat while rotating your legs consistently. For calf raises, stand in waist-deep water and slowly raise yourself onto your tip toes, then slowly return to a flat-footed position.

Performing these exercises a few times a week will can help improve the blood flow throughout your legs and reduce the appearance or future development of varicose veins. Dive into gorgeous legs this summer!

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Vitamin Series: An Overview

Welcome to the Vitamin series! Every  week, we will be outlining the details of essential vitamins, their function, details about their benefits, signs of deficiency and more! Education about your health and wellness is the number one thing you might need to make sure you are on track to live your as healthy as possible. To kick-off the vitamin series, we will begin with an overview education on vitamins as a whole and why we need them!

So, what are vitamins?

Vitamins are supplemental substances that your body needs to grow and develop normally and properly. They are truly essential to our diet and in our bodies and each vitamin of the 13 your body needs has a very specific job which we will explain as we introduce a new vitamin each week. While vitamins are available in pills and in supplement form, however, the best way to consume your vitamins is through a balanced diet, right in fruits and vegetables.

There are two kinds of vitamins: fat soluble and water soluble. While there are many difference in how each vitamins interacts in the body, this difference is a large determinant. Fat soluble vitamins are soluble in lipids (fats).  When fat soluble vitamins are consumed, they are typically absorbed in fat globules that travel through the lymphatic system of the small intestine and into general circulation throughout the body.  Unlike water soluble vitamins that are able to be excreted, once fat soluble vitamins are stored in tissue, they remain there. For this reason, consuming too high concentrations of fat soluble vitamins can cause a person to develop hypervitaminosis (too much vitamin in the body).

Water soluble vitamins, on the other hand, are carried to tissues, dissolve quickly in the body and cannot be stored. Because of this, any excess amount of water soluble vitamins is excreted.  Additionally, because they are still essential to daily function, these vitamins need to be consumed on a regular basis to maintain adequate levels within the body.

Throughout the Vitamin Series, we will detail how vitamins are absorbed, their job once released into the body, how they effect vein health and the best food sources of each. Stay tuned next week for Vitamin A!

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Curve Your Craving: Protein-Packed Brownies

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Diets don’t mean depriving yourself of some of your favorite indulgences, balance is key to reaching your goals. Without a “splurge” here and there, life isn’t as delicious and definitely not as enjoyable. What is the key to balance? Making the right decisions when you can! Simple ingredient swaps can make a huge difference when trying to reach your health and weight goals. With this chocolatey, 4 ingredient brownie recipe, you’ll kick your craving without the added sugar of a typical brownie and your 2017 summer body will thank you for it! Enjoy!

Ingredients:
  1. 3 medium, overripe bananas (approximately 1 cup or so)
  2. 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter or almond butter (can sub for any nut/seed or soy nut butter)
  3. 2 T – 1/4 cup cocoa powder (more = richer taste)
  4. 1-2 scoops of protein powder
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven the 350 degrees, grease a small cake pan or loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a small microwave-safe bowl or stovetop, melt your nut butter.
  3. In a blender, food processor, or using your hands, combine the bananas, cocoa powder, protein powder and nut butter until smooth.
  4. Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake for around 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing into pieces.
Notes
  1.  Whey protein powder not recommended – It lends itself to a gummy texture.
  2. You don’t need to blend or process all ingredients, but they lend a smoother texture.
  3. These brownies are not super sweet, as the protein powders used all had sweetener in them. Adjust accordingly if you’d like a very sweet brownie.
  4. Brownies are best kept and enjoyed refrigerated- They are also freezer friendly.

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Cholesterol: The Good, The Bad and The Truth

For years, increased intake of dietary cholesterol was thought and studied to be a major contributing factor to heart disease and a variety of other health issues. Until further studies were conducted, scientists found that in fact, cholesterol was not the only contributing factor, which spiked research over the last several decades. Because of these claims, people thought of cholesterol like smoking a cigarette: don’t do it; however, that is not quite the case.

Cholesterol makes up each and every cell membrane in your body, you need cholesterol.  In addition to holding together each precious cell with its lipoprotein structure (lipid (fat) on the inside and proteins on the outside), cholesterol is used to produce hormones, vitamin D and other substances that help digest food – but, not all cholesterol is made equally!

Two kinds of cholesterol have received attention in more recent years: “bad” low density lipoproteins (LDL-Cholesterol) and “good” high density lipoproteins (HDL-Cholesterol). So, what is the difference?

LDL cholesterol is considered to be the “bad” cholesterol because as it accumulates in the body, having high levels of LDL can lead to plaque build up within your arteries and ultimately can lead to heart disease, strokes and clotting.  LDLs are found in foods like margarine, full fat cheeses, milk and yogurts.  Limiting the foods you consume that are high in saturated fats is one way to eliminate and lower your LDL levels.

HDL cholesterol known as “good” cholesterol due to its structure. High density lipoproteins have the ability to absorb cholesterol and carry it back to the liver where it is released from the body, therefore reducing the risks of plaque build up in your arteries.  Foods high in mono and polyunsaturated fats, Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber help boost HDL levels, such as: avocados, olive oil, flax seed, whole grains and nuts.

Next time you see your doctor, ask about your HDL and LDL levels. Making sure you are within healthy reach of normal levels is a great way to also keep tabs on your vein health.  Keeping your arteries clean and free of plaque build up will help eliminate risks of varicose vein development and keep your blood flowing healthily between your toes and your heart!

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8 Foods for Healthy Veins and Vascular Health

While there are treatments and procedures able to help cure and prevent spider and varicose veins from a cosmetic standpoint, their ongoing development can also cause major problems in surrounding body systems, such as risks of blood clotting, additional swelling and gradual varicose vein enlargement.  Taking appropriate measures prior to experiencing extreme symptoms is key in protecting not only your vein health but also overall health.

Nutrition and exercise are two of the most important contributing factors to preventing varicose and spider vein development.  Here are 8 super foods that may help keep your veins healthy, happy and keep blood flowing!

  1. Blueberries

Due to the high concentration of anthocyanins (flavonoid pigments), blueberries contribute to the health of the collagen matrix by neutralizing enzymes that destroy connective tissue and scavenging free radicals throughout the body. They also help repair damaged proteins in the blood vessel walls and promote the overall health of the vascular system. As an additional source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, these Vitamin E powerhouses are crucial in the diet.

  1. Watercress

Historically, watercress is known as the “cure of cures” by the father of medicine himself, Hippocrates.  Cruciferous plants like watercress are shown to be helpful in lower LDL-Cholesterol levels therefore reducing risks of cardiovascular disease and even chronic heart disease.  Lowing LDL levels will prevent plaque buildup in cell walls, eliminating areas of clotting.

  1. Avocado

Packed with Vitamins C and E, avocados are a key food for vascular health.  Additionally, avocados contain high concentrations of glutathione, a tripeptide molecule the works to protect the heart, veins and arteries from oxidation damage.

  1. Rosemary

Rosemary stimulates circulation and therefore plays a roll in preventing varicose vein symptoms from occurring.  Rosemary, like other herbs, contains a plant polyphenol that can help protect tissues from free radical damages, and ursolic acid to strengthen capillaries.

  1. Beets

Known for their rich color, beets are an antioxidant powerhouse! The phytochemical responsible for their color, betacyanin, is known to reduce levels of homocysteine, a naturally occurring amino acid that can often cause damage to blood vessels.

  1. Ginger

In herbal medicine especially, ginger is used to help prevent varicose vein development for its ability to dissolve fibrin in blood vessels and improve circulation.  In most varicose and spider vein cases, patients have an impaired ability to break down fibrin, an insoluble protein that causes veins to become lumpy and hard.

  1. Asparagus

Known as one of the best artery-clearing foods, asparagus works to release pressure in veins and arteries throughout the entire body system.

  1. Buckwheat

Rich in rutin, buckwheat is recommended due to its ability to promote vascular health. Additionally as a great source of fiber, buckwheat also contains all 8 essential amino acids, all of which are needed for tissue repair.

 

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Frequently Asked Questions: VenaSeal

As winter months are the best time to get veins treated, we are decoding the questions and facts about our latest technology used to treat varicose veins: VenaSeal. This minimally invasive closure treatment treats venous reflux disease using only an advanced medical adhesive. Unlike heat-based treatments, VenaSeal does not require an anesthetic and eliminates added risk of burning or nerve injury associated with thermal based procedures.

Here are some of the questions most frequently asked about VenaSeal:

What is VenaSeal?

VenaSeal™ is the newest minimally invasive closure system in the industry that treats venous reflux disease using an advanced medical adhesive.  Specifically, VenaSeal™ is used to directly close the diseased vein segment while minimizing patient discomfort, reducing recovery time and reducing risk of additional post-operative side effects.

What can I expect during the procedure?

Unlike other heat-based treatments, the VenaSeal™ closure system does not require tumescent anesthesia (multiple injections of a dilute local anesthetic), and eliminates the risk of burning or nerve injury associated with thermal based procedures. The VenaSeal adhesive is places into the vein through a catheter and quickly closes the vein, rerouting blood through nearby healthy veins.

Will the loss of the vein a problem?

No, after the VenaSeal treatment, all blood is redirected to the many additional, healthy and normal veins accessible in the lower leg.

What is recovery time like after my procedure?

Most patients experience no down time following the VenaSeal procedure and can return to normal activity immediately. Some cases report only minor post-operative discomfort. As in every case, there are always risks of vein irritation and inflammation, but are rare with VenaSeal.

 

To find out more information about VenaSeal, call Reno Vein Clinic today to find out if it might be the right solution for you before summer and shorts weather arrive! (775) 329-3100.

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Fuel-Filled Breakfast for the Office or Adventure

Whether you are getting to work at the office or heading out for a hike in Emerald Bay, this quick, easy breakfast will help keep you full for hours! Enjoying a nutritious and nutrient dense breakfast to start your day can help curve cravings throughout the day and will make sure you are ready to take on the day! These protein-packed “muffins” are so easy and you can add any vegetables or lean proteins to pack even more of a nutrient punch!

Cheesy Spinach and Mushroom Egg Muffins

Ingredients:

1 dozen eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

Non-stick cooking spray

1 cup fresh spinach

1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion

2 cups shredded cheddar or parmesan cheese

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crack eggs into liquid measuring cup. Whisk eggs and salt until combined.
  2. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.  Divide spinach, mushrooms, green onion and cheese evenly amongst each muffin cup.  Carefully pour eggs over the top of the muffins until 3/4 full.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Let muffins rest for several minutes before using a rubber spatula to carefully remove each muffin.
  4. Consume immediately or let cool and transfer to a reusable plastic bag or Tupperware.  Refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for a month.

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