GOOD NUTRITION FOR HEALTHY FEET
Have you ever thought about the foods you eat affecting your feet? If you are like most people you understand the benefits of eating healthy foods to maintain good health. We think about food in relation to weight management and heart health, but not typically our foot health.
What’s interesting is that the condition of your feet can actually tell you a lot about your overall health. Although proper nutrition alone may not prevent certain conditions from forming, it can play a vital part in achieving better health, including improved foot health.
WHAT CONDITIONS CAN AFFECT MY FEET?
There are lots of conditions that affect your foot health. They all can be influenced by nutrition.
DIABETES and POOR CIRCULATION
Diabetes can affect the circulation of your feet, causing a loss of feeling, trigger diabetic neuropathy or ulcerations. When there are circulation problems, this damages the arteries that bring blood to your feet. Without a good blood supply, oxygen, nutrients and the removal of carbon dioxide and waste products will be affected.
The pain we feel in our feet is often caused by inflammation. Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and gout are examples. Inflammation can also affect the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot, causing intense heel pain and plantar fasciitis.
The more you weigh, the more force your feet have to bear. This can lead to problems like plantar fasciitis and heel pain, bunions and hammertoes.
Osteoporosis literally means ‘porous bone’ and is a condition that weakens bones, making them more susceptible to stress fractures and trauma related breaks. When we think about osteoporosis, we generally think about the hips or spine. Your feet contain 52 bones (quarter of all the bones in the body) and osteoporosis here can lead to stress fractures in your feet.
WHAT FOODS SHOULD I EAT TO KEEP MY FEET HEALTHY?
It’s the nutrients (vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, carbohydrates) that are the building blocks of nutritional health. Not all food is created equal. The more our food is processed the more the nutritional quantity and quality is affected. So choosing your food wisely can dramatically benefit your foot health and overall health.
CALCIUM and VITAMIN D
Your body naturally loses calcium every day, so we need to make sure it’s replenished through the foods we eat. Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium. This dynamic due (calcium and Vitamin D) is needed to build strong bones.
You make Vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunshine. So get outside and enjoy 15-20 minutes of sunshine each day to boost your Vitamin D levels. This will maximise your calcium absorption from the foods that you eat! To increase the calcium in your diet foods like: dairy foods (like cheese, yoghurt and milk), seeds and nuts, and leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach are high in calcium.
OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS
These help to reduce inflammation and can be found in fatty fish like tuna, salmon and mackerel. Also found in rapeseed oil, soya, flax, linseed oils, walnuts and avocado. Fish oil supplements are an obvious choice as well.
Wholegrains are a source of dietary fibre which helps you feel full, as well as contributing to reducing blood cholesterol levels, reducing your risk of heart disease. Eating wholegrains also lowers the risk of Type 2 Diabetes by helping to control blood sugar levels. Wholegrain foods include whole-wheat, oats, rye, barley, brown and wild rice, millet, quinoa and cracked wheat.
FRUITS and VEGETABLES
Berries contain antioxidants, which are disease fighting compounds and have anti-inflammatory properties. Fruits high in Vitamin C are also great as Vitamin C helps with collagen production, and collagen makes up all of your tendons and ligaments in your body, including those in your feet!
Green leafy vegies and beans contain antioxidants, complex carbohydrates, fibre and iron – all of which helps prevent Type 2 diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol. Kale, broccoli and Brussel sprouts help with calcium absorption, which is important for decreasing the risk of osteoporosis.
So we all know the benefits of good nutrition for our bodies. Your entire body will be grateful for your good nutritional habits, including your feet. In return your body will reward you by keeping you active allowing you to do the things you love the most. So make some awesome food choices today – your body and feet will thank you for it.
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