Friday, May 5, 2017

Vinegar Friday -- It's time to break out the summer clothing


We started out our spring Vinegar Fridays with a guest post by Jeriann Watkins Ireland. She's joining us again this month to discuss how apple cider vinegar can help with conditions like varicose veins.

It’s almost summer, and that means it’s time for shorts, skirts, and other skin-exposing clothing. If you’ve got skin conditions like eczema, warts, spider veins, or varicose veins, sometimes wearing warm-weather clothing seems daunting.

I’ve always had pretty visible veins, especially when I’m cold. Sometimes, I don’t even feel cold and I look down and my hands are purple. My dad had the same issue and I’ve never given it much thought -- just chalked it up to bad circulation.

One major concern when it comes to circulation is veins, particularly varicose veins. Varicose veins are blue, twisted veins that can be seen through the skin. These veins have damaged valves that result in them holding more blood at higher pressure than normal. This can cause leg pain, swollen ankles, aching, cramping, itching, restless legs, and even venous ulcers. For some people, varicose veins are simply an aesthetic inconvenience, making warm weather attire less appealing. Others suffer severe pain due to the venous insufficiencies that cause varicose veins.

Luckily, venous insufficiency doesn’t have to be permanent. Below I’m going to talk about the different causes of venous insufficiency and how Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) can combat the root cause of varicose veins in each situation.

When you’re pregnant, the presence of the fetus puts pressure on the uterus. This can cause blood flow issues in the surrounding veins. Hormonal changes also weaken the vein walls and cause valves to stop functioning properly. This causes blood that’s supposed to circulate back to the heart to get stuck in pools, usually in the legs.

Luckily, our good friend ACV boosts the body’s ability to produce hormones and balance levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Apple Cider Vinegar also offers other benefits to pregnant bodies, such as helping with indigestion and encouraging balanced levels of bacteria in the microbiome of both the mother and the developing baby. Drinking a shot of ACV in the mornings can help regulate hormones and digestive function throughout the day.

Being overweight can cause increased blood pressure, which can damage valve function and prevent blood from moving up toward the heart. Regular ACV consumption is known to help with both weight loss and blood pressure management. It helps with weight loss by balancing bacteria and flushing fats out of the body. It helps with blood pressure by getting rid of bad cholesterol.

Of course, like any weight loss strategy (or health strategy in general), consistency is important. 2 TBSP a day of ACV is recommended in order to see results. Adding ACV to salad dressings is a great way to eat healthy and manage blood pressure and weight at the same time. You can also make a warm tonic each morning with ACV, local honey, and lemon juice. You can also add water to this mixture to dilute the strong flavors. Without water, it’s more of a “shot. With water, it can be a morning beverage to sip on. Drinking warm lemon water in the mornings is recommended as a detoxifying method, so mixing it with ACV helps boost those effects. 

Deep Vein Thrombosis
If you’ve ever had blood clots or other vein conditions, you’re much more likely to experience varicose veins. Luckily, we already know ACV helps blood flow, so combining it with other ingredients that aid circulation can help prevent blood clots. Try putting some turmeric or cayenne pepper in your daily shot of ACV. These are both natural blood thinners. Turmeric is also an anti-inflammatory, so if you’re already experiencing pain due to venous insufficiency, it can help calm things down.

Lack of Movement/Prolonged Crossed Legs
ACV won’t help you move more, but I like to combine my wellness strategies through awareness. If I’m sitting at my home office with my legs up on my yoga ball (which is horrible for circulation), and my legs start to go numb, I use the moment to do something healthy. This might be as simple as stretching and drinking a glass of water. If I haven’t had any ACV yet, I might take a moment to mix up a shot with honey, turmeric, ginger, or other healthy ingredients, based on what my health focus is that day. So while I go up the stairs or wait for water to heat up, I make sure to move as much as possible. This helps combat the negative effects on my body from sitting all day.

Do you have issues with varicose or spider veins? Have you found other strategies to manage or prevent them? Share in the comments!

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