- Varicose Veins
- Weakness in the knees & legs
That is the warning passed down from my relatives on my father’s side who claims that the source is a Doctor in the family who has made a lot of money treating such patients. I personally used to love eating cuttlefish Kangkong ( Jiu Hu Eng Chye ) and Sambal Kangkong. But after hearing about the warning ( approx 20 years ago), I started eating it sparingly! The thing is I cannot find any resource or link even that makes this factual.
What I have found however is that Kangkong is rich in Iron and other nutrients, so whether the above is true or not remains to be seen or rather verified.
Anyhow here are some facts on Kang Kong and Varicose Veins….
Kangkong, Water Spinach; Weng Cai; Kangkong(M); Vallai Kinai(T);
Ipomoea aquatica Forsk. (Convolvulaceae)
The plant’s smooth-surfaced leaves are either arrowhead-shaped, 5-6 inches long, or relatively narrow and pointed. Two major cultivar forms are grown. These being: Ching quat, the narrow leafed form most often grown in moist soils and Pak Quat, the arrowhead shaped form usually grown in aquatic conditions.
The plant is an herbaceous perennial aquatic, semi-aquatic plant of the tropics and sub-tropics. Alternate branches and leaves arise at the leaf axils of the trailing vine-like stems. The stems being hollow are adapted for floating in aquatic environments. Adventitious roots readily develop at nodes when in contact with moist soil and water. The succulent foliage and stem tips are light green in color. Flowering is favored by short days with the development of white and light pink flowers. Purple flowers develop in wild forms of Ipomoea aquatic. To obtain seed harvesting of the plants is stopped to allow developing flowers to mature, from which seed bearing pods form.
Other names. Kankon (Japanese); ung choi (Cantonese Chinese); toongsin tsai (Mandarin Chinese); ong choy, ungtsai, tung choy (China); kang kong (Filipino, Malaysian); kang kung, rau muong (Vietnamese); pak bung (Thai).
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are abnormally swollen or enlarged blood vessels in the leg caused by the failure of the valves in the veins. Varicose veins and spider veins can be found in 35% of women and 20% of men above the age of 20.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
The reason varicose veins developed is not fully understood. The basic problem appeared to be that of damaged valves. Normally, the veins transport blood from the leg to the heart. In order for this to be possible, it has one-way valves to allow blood to travel in only one direction. In varicose vein, these valves have failed. Without the proper valve function, the blood tends to flow down (leaky), giving rise to blood pooling in the leg, thus causing the vein to bulge.
People who have varicose veins often have an inherited weakness of this valve. They may also give history of prolonged standing at work or multiple pregnancies, situations that will cause significant stress on the veins in the leg. These ultimately cause the veins to stretch and the valves to fail.
Symptoms Of Varicose Veins
These can be grouped into
- Asymptomatic-some patients has no symptoms at all apart from the veins being unsightly. They are usually very active physically and their active leg muscles compensate for the weakness of the vein function.
- Mild symptoms-aching and cramps in the leg, itchiness near the area of the veins and swollen ankle. All these are worse with prolonged standing.
- Severe symptoms and complications –leg ulcers, bleeding and thrombophlebitis
This may not always be possible; however some simple measures and changes in our lifestyle can potentially delay the onset of varicose veins.
- Regular exercise will improve circulation and strengthen the veins. Focus on exercises that work your legs, like walking or running.
- Watch your weight. Obesity can put a lot of pressure on the legs and is known to cause spider veins.
- Do not cross your legs when sitting.
- Elevate your legs when resting or sleeping. To achieve this, the ankle should be place above the level of the heart. Try sleeping with 2 pillows under the feet, or lean on a couch and elevate the leg while watching TV
- Try not to sit or stand for long periods of time. When you have to sit for a long time, get up and take a walk every now and then. If you must stand for a long time, shift your weight from one leg to the other or do tip toeing exercises to improve circulation in the leg.
- Wear elastic support stockings as much as you can.
- Avoid wearing tight clothing and high heel shoes. They can constrict your waist and legs and impede circulation.
- Eat a well balanced diet with sufficient fibers and cut down on salt intake.