You’ve probably already heard the saying “You are what you eat,” and that is certainly true in many ways. Everything we put into our bodies will impact our overall well-being in one way or another.
What you may not know, however, is that the foods you choose to eat can not only make a difference for your heart health and body weight, but also your foot health, too.
Though it may not be obvious at first glance, eating the right foods can have a huge positive impact on your feet and how they function on a daily basis. And while wearing appropriate shoes and keeping up with good footcare habits is important, adhering to a healty diet can also go a long way.
It doesn’t have to be hard, either! Did you know that chocolate and walnuts can help keep your heels properly moisturized? Or that cherries can help with sore muscles? Now, that doesn’t seem like a bad diet to stick to, huh? And there are many more delicious foods you can eat in order to make sure your feet are happy and healthy.
But first, it’s important that we look at the other side of the coin – the detrimental effects that poor diet can have on your foot health.
Poor Diet = Poor Foot Health
More than just adding a few unwanted inches to your waistline, poor diet can exacerbate an already existing condition (if not cause it entirely). Here are some things to consider:
- Diabetes and poor diet. Raised blood sugar levels can lead to many diabetic foot issues causing loss of sensation and circulation.
- Inflammation and poor diet. Diets that are high in processed and refined sugars, or trans and saturated fats, can lead to inflammation and worsen arthritis symptoms.
- Obesity and poor diet. Foot pain and disability are often associated with obesity – the more weight your feet need to support, the more strain they will have to endure.
- Bone health and poor diet. A diet that is lacking in micronutrients can lead to the onset of osteoporosis, as well as other painful bone-related issues like stress fractures.
On the other hand, by sticking to a heathy diet you can not only prevent these problems from plaguing your lower limbs, but also reverse damage already caused by these conditions.
So, what should you eat?
Healthy Foods for Healthy Feet
Without further ado, let’s talk about “food for feet.” Below are some foods you should always aim to have in your diet:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish that are rich in oil (mackerel, salmon, sardines, etc.) are a great source of omega-3s. If you are vegan or vegetarian, rapeseed oil, soya, flax, linseed oils, walnuts and even butters (avocado and plant based) are also great sources.
Omega-3 fatty acids can help improve skin elasticity, cardiovascular health and cholesterol triglyceride levels, as well as decrease the risk of type-2 diabetes and peripheral artery disease. Reduction of inflammation is another great benefit.
Whole wheat, oats/oatmeal, rye, barley, brown rice, wild rice, buckwheat, triticale, millet, quinoa, and sorghum are all great sources of healthy whole grains.
Whole grains can help reduce blood cholesterol levels, lower the risk of type-2 diabetes and heart disease, as well as maintain a healthy weight.
Fruits can help slow down sugar absorption and decrease the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even cancer. Fruits which contain high vitamin C content help with collagen production that makes up tendons and ligaments. And most varieties of berries also contain antioxidants, which have important disease-fighting compounds as well as anti-inflammatory properties.
Beans and Greens
Both leafy green vegetables and beans contain antioxidants, complex carbohydrates, fiber and iron. This an exceptional choice for preventing diabetes, obesity, weight management and high cholesterol.
Vegetables such as kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, mustard greens and turnip greens allow good calcium absorption. They also contain a variety of other micronutrients your bones need, such as vitamin C, manganese, copper, vitamin A, vitamin B6, iron and vitamin K.
Dairy Products and Vitamin D
Dairy products and vitamin D help build stronger bones and prevent the onset of osteoporosis, fractures and other structural deformities. Anything from yogurt to milk to cheese are all excellent sources of calcium. As are sardines (with bones) and green leafy vegetables, like broccoli and collard greens.
If you are vegan, vegetarian, or lactose intolerant, many non-dairy milks such as soy, coconut, almond, oat and rice are now fortified with calcium, vitamin-D, and/or vitamin B-12.
Don’t Forget to Hydrate Too!
Hydration is important for your energy levels, focus and concentration, and yes – your feet, too!
Drinking plenty of water can help you avoid swelling, sore muscles, and cramping. We recommend drinking eight glasses of water per day (or more, if you exercise or sweat a lot). Water is usually best, but sports drinks can be helpful for extremely active athletes who need to replenish electrolytes.
So now that you know what to eat, and how to proactively enhance your feet’s health by incorporating proper nutritional habits in your day-to-day life, we hope your feet and ankles are kept healthy and strong for many years to come.
Of course, if you have any questions about your foot health, or if you need to schedule an appointment at our Richardson office, simply give us a call at (855) 919-4548 today. You can also fill out our online contact form to have one of our staff members reach out to you.