• Eat a high-fibre diet rich in fruit and vegetables, whole-grain breakfast cereals, and whole meal bread and other whole meal-flour products (including pasta), and cut down on refined sugar and refined flour.
• Drink more fluid to ensure that constipation is a thing of the past.
• Avoid long periods of sitting and standing if you have a history of varicose veins in your family or if you have early signs of them yourself. Do exercises frequently if you are in this group. Wiggle your toes a lot, raise and lower yourself on the balls of your feet while standing in a queue in the supermarket or at a bus stop. Raise your legs on to a table whenever you sit down (get them above heart level), break up long rail or car trips by walking every hour or so, and walk around on long plane journeys.
• Get more exercise. Swim, run, jog, walk or cycle to improve nature’s muscle pump in your legs. Walking lowers the venous pressure to a third of standing pressure under normal conditions.
• Go barefoot at home as much as possible to exercise your foot muscles and improve your venous flow.
• If you have even a hint of varicose veins starting, shun tight boots, pants that are too tight at the groin and anything that restricts the legs such as self-supporting stockings.
• Make trips to the lavatory short and to the point-don’t sit there reading for ages.
• Avoid very hot baths – these seem to encourage varicose veins.
• If you have a family history of varicose veins wear support stockings throughout pregnancy.