Fitness & Nutrition

Varicose Veins

Ask Dr. Ma: I Want to Wear a Bathing Suit this Summer!

Marlenea La Shomb, N.D., LMT, P.Tr.
July – August 2023 • Vol 4, No 5

Dear Dr. Ma,
Over the last few winters, the spider veins in my calves keep getting worse. I want to take the grandkids swimming, but I’m too embarrassed now to wear a swim suit. What can I do naturally to help reduce my varicose veins?
— Ethel


Dear Ethel,

First, let’s look at how veins are made and how they function. Then we’ll summarize what foods to avoid and which ones are helpful. Also, we’ll review some activities you can do and some precautions you can take to help prevent varicose veins.

Take a look at this illustration. Spider veins are usually a precursor to varicose veins. Sitting too much, among other things, weaken the vein’s walls and the valves will no longer close, causing the blood to pool. This stretches the vein’s walls farther apart and causes inflammation in those areas.

The following foods can help significantly improve your vein health and to relieve the symptoms associated with varicose veins:

  • Apples, buckwheat, grapes, blackberries, cherries, etc. are rich sources of the bio-flavonoid rutin, however, all bioflavonoids strengthen the veins and reduce their permeability and fragility.
  • Avocados can do wonders in improving varicose veins with their high sources of vitamins. In addition to this, they also contain glutathione, which prevents oxidant damage to the veins.
  • Beetroot is very effective in protecting the blood vessels from further damage. It contains betacyanin, which reduces the amount of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine can cause serious damage to the blood vessels. The intake of beets can protect the veins from this damage.
  • Rosemary is another widely recommended herb to address varicose veins. It improves blood circulation and prevents damage to the vein tissues.

Here are the foods to avoid with varicose veins: Refined grains, refined sugar, high salt/sodium, greasy and junk foods, canned foods, alcohol.

A healthy diet, along with regular exercise, can work wonders in improving varicose veins and can provide significant relief from its symptoms. Note that rebounding (see the next page for a descriptive illustration), strengthens the veins’ weak walls so the valves close again. It also decreases the volume of blood pooling in those veins, which further improves the appearance of varicose veins and/or chronic edema.

When rebounding, the forces of acceleration and deceleration line up with the natural acceleration force of gravity. This stacks three different forces at the bottom of the bounce and causes an increase in the amount of gravity the body experiences. [Rebound Exercise, Albert E. Carter]

Here are some precautions to help prevent spider and varicose veins:

  • Elevate feet while sitting and sleeping.
  • Avoid sitting or standing for long periods.
  • Treat constipation.
  • Work on reducing your weight.
  • Walk, do yoga, stretch, and do rebounding.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Find regular, light physical activity you will stick with.

So, Ethel, I hope these tips encourage you. There’s plenty you can do to improve the health and circulation in those veins in your legs. ENJOY!

— Dr. Ma

Send your questions to Dr. Ma La Shomb, N.D., LMT, P.Tr., by text only, along with your name & phone number, to (406) 224-5425. Email to Marlenea passionately works as a health coach and writer for all who are ready to find harmony and balance in body, mind, and soul through natural therapies and education.

Nurturing Your Gut Microbiome

Supplying Your Resident Army of Microbial Troops

Arnold Shapiro, M.D.
May – June 2023 • Vol 4, No 4

Our guts contain an astounding number of friendly microbes. The human microbiome consists of the microorganisms that live in and on our bodies. All humans and animals have a populous microbiome. Our resident microorganisms are generally harmless. I will focus on the gut microbiome, which amazingly, has about as many microorganisms in it as the total of our body cells, estimated to be 37 trillion! They protect us from unfriendly intruders. In medical lab terms, they are referred to as “normal flora.”

Our gut microbiome has great diversity, with 30–40 dominant species of bacteria, and many more microbial species. The diversity is considered a health-promoting factor. Loss of diversity, such as during antibiotic use, is destabilizing.

In addition to protecting us against invaders, our microbiome aids us in the digestion of our food; it produces chemical agents that aid our immune system, and it produces neurotransmitters that are beneficial to our brain and nervous system. A diverse microbiome goes along with positive mental health, whereas a lack of diversity is common in mental illness. There are specific microbiome changes from chronic depression, chronic anxiety, PTSD, and schizophrenia. An unforeseen treatment that has come out of these research findings is the “Microbiome Transplant.”

Healthy gut-microbiome diversity is maintained by a balanced diet. The optimal diet has a variety of foods— fruits, vegetables, grains, and meats. Many traditional cultural cuisines support a healthy gut microbiome. A noteworthy example is the “Mediterranean Diet,” which includes the above food categories, along with legumes, nuts, and olive oil. The meats include poultry, lamb and seafood.

Additional dietary factors promoting diversity and stability are: fermented foods, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, and pickled vegetables. Beer and wine, in moderation, are fermented beverages that are contributory.

In summary, we have a resident army of a colossal number of microbial troops. If we supply them with a well-rounded diet, and do our best to avoid the factors that destroy them, they will serve us and defend us well.

            — A Santé!

Dr. Shapiro is a career clinic physician who has utilized relaxation techniques with many of his patients. His YouTube channel is: “Arnie Shapiro, MD • Breathing Easy.” Contact Dr. Shapiro by email at:


8 Surprising Things that Harm Your Gut Bacteria

  1. Not eating a diverse range and variety of foods. Interestingly, studies show that those living in rural regions of Africa and South America have a more diverse gut flora than those living in the US and Europe.
  2. Lack of prebiotics in the diet. Prebiotics are types of fiber that pass through the body undigested and promote the growth and activity of friendly gut bacteria. Prebiotic foods include: Lentils, chickpeas and beans, oats, bananas, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, asparagus, leeks, onions, and nuts.
  3. Drinking too much alcohol. While excessive alcohol consumption has a harmful effect on gut bacteria, the polyphenol content in red wine can protect gut bacteria when consumed in moderation.
  4. Antibiotic use. Antibiotics can affect the diversity and composition of the gut flora, even in cases of short-term use. This may last for as long as two years unless remediated.
  5. Lack of regular physical activity. Regular physical activity, even walking, gardening, swimming, cycling, and any movement of the body that burns energy will promote beneficial gut-bacteria growth.
  6. Cigarette smoking. Giving up smoking can improve gut health by increasing the diversity of the gut flora and reducing internal chemical pollution. This can occur after only nine weeks.
  7. Not getting enough sleep. The body has a 24-hour internal clock called the circadian rhythm. Sleep deprivation can disrupt the circadian rhythm, and can have harmful effects on gut bacteria.
  8. Too much stress. Excess stress has been shown to reduce gut-flora diversity and alter gut-flora profiles by increasing harmful bacteria and reducing beneficial bacteria.


2023-04-30T17:17:29-06:00Fitness & Nutrition|