My daugh­ter, 17, has just started work­ing at a hair­dress­ing sa­lon. She loves her job, but has very painful legs at the end of the day. The women in our fam­ily suf­fer from vari­cose veins, and she al­ready has the be­gin­nings of spi­der veins be­hind her knees.

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Health - Me­gan Shep­pard Do you have a ques­tion for Me­gan Shep­pard? Email it to feel­good@ex­am­iner.ie or send a let­ter to: Feel­good, Ir­ish Ex­am­iner, Linn Dubh, As­sump­tion Road, Black­pool, Cork

>> One of the best things she can do when she gets home at the end of her work­day is to lie with her back flat on the floor with her legs up against the wall. She will need to make sure that her but­tocks are as close to the wall as pos­si­ble, then swing her hips so that the backs of her legs and heels rest fully against the wall. Hold this pose for any­where from five to 15 min­utes.

This is a very re­lax­ing pose to do and is ac­tu­ally used in yoga where it is called viparita karani (also known as legs up the wall pos­ture). It is one of the sim­plest in­verted poses and may help with a num­ber of health con­di­tions.

It as­sists in re­duc­ing swelling in the legs and feet, drain­ing fluid build-up and re­vers­ing the ef­fects of grav­ity af­ter stand­ing all day. This will also help with tired mus­cles and you can even use it to ease sore hips or lower back if you prop a sup­port un­der­neath your but­tocks (a firm cush­ion or rolled towel will do).

In­verted poses like this are also sooth­ing for the ner­vous sys­tem, so are fab­u­lously calm­ing, and are even re­puted to bal­ance blood pres­sure and im­prove di­ges­tive func­tion. Your daugh­ter will also ben­e­fit from get­ting plenty of sol­u­ble fi­bre in her diet, as re­fined and low-fi­bre foods are linked with vari­cos­ity, in­clud­ing haem­or­rhoids. If there is not enough fi­bre in the diet stools tend to be smaller and harder, caus­ing more strain as they are dif­fi­cult to pass. Con­sti­pa­tion and strain­ing weaken the vein walls, putting pres­sure on the in­testi­nal mem­branes.

Along with suf­fi­cient fi­bre, she needs to make sure that she drinks enough wa­ter dur­ing the day. Fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles, legumes, and nat­u­ral sol­u­ble fi­bre sup­ple­ments such as psyl­lium husks will all help pro­tect her cir­cu­la­tory sys­tem.

One fi­nal rec­om­men­da­tion: lo­cate some herbal horse chest­nut sup­ple­ments for both the in­side and out­side.

A. Vo­gel has cre­ated Ve­naforce Horse Chest­nut tablets and Ve­nagel Horse Chest­nut gel to help with spi­der and vari­cose veins. The tablets cost €23.99 for 60, and the gel costs €16.75 for 100ml. Both prod­ucts are avail­able on­line from www.avo­gel.ie or you can find them in health stores. Do not take horse chest­nut to­gether with as­pirin or other anti-co­ag­u­lants.

My natur­opath has told me to eat more cru­cif­er­ous veg­eta­bles, but I am get­ting a lit­tle tired of broc­coli and cau­li­flower. I don’t like Brus­sels sprouts or kale, and would like to add a lit­tle more vari­a­tion. Which other veg­eta­bles can I eat?

>> For­tu­nately, there are a num­ber of cru­cif­er­ous veg­eta­bles to choose from be­sides kale and Brus­sels sprouts — cab­bage, (in­clud­ing savoy cab­bage and Chi­nese cab­bage), bok choy/pak choy, daikon radish, wa­ter­cress, horse­rad­ish, shep­herd’s purse, mus­tard greens, turnip greens, Ro­manesco, rocket or you could even try the cross be­tween broc­coli and cau­li­flower, broc­coflower.

Cru­cif­er­ous veg­eta­bles get their name from their flow­ers, as all bear four petals in the shape of a cross. They are a won­der­ful source of or­ganic sul­phur, an­tiox­i­dant nu­tri­ents, fi­bre, vi­ta­mins, min­er­als, and even pro­tein.

One of the main rea­sons why cru­cif­er­ous veg­eta­bles reg­u­larly fea­ture in health ar­ti­cles is their can­cer-pro­tec­tive prop­er­ties. The phy­to­chem­i­cal com­pounds known as glu­cosi­no­lates can help to stop the growth of breast, cer­vi­cal, and prostate can­cers. If you eat your bras­si­cas raw then you also help to re­duce blad­der can­cer risk.

The other way you can in­tro­duce some va­ri­ety is to vary how you pre­pare them — steam, stir fry, fer­ment, or eat raw. I sug­gest you avoid boil­ing un­til they lose all colour (both for taste and nu­tri­tional value). NOTE: The in­for­ma­tion con­tained in this col­umn is not a sub­si­tute for med­i­cal ad­vice. Al­ways con­sult a doc­tor.

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