You probably consider your diet when thinking about your heart, blood pressure or weight, but did you know that poor eating habits have a direct impact on foot health?
A few changes to your diet will help to prevent or alleviate several painful and debilitating foot conditions. And, of course, eating properly is vital for good health overall.
Certain foods cause inflammation in tendons, ligaments and joints.With so many of these in the feet, this will aggravate conditions like arthritis and lead to other issues.
Inflammation of the plantar fascia (plantar fasciitis) is particularly painful. This thick band of tissue runs along the base of the foot to support the arch and muscles. Problems here aren’t just uncomfortable – they’ll cause serious mobility issues.
Refined sugar and saturated fat (omega 6) are the main culprits here. Biscuits, sweets, crisps, red meat, takeaways, some bread and sunflower oils all have these harmful ingredients to varying degrees.
Calcium is essential for bone strength, and vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium. Low levels of these lead to a decrease in bone density, leaving them brittle and prone to fractures. Progressive bone loss can occur for several years before it becomes obvious, and then you’ve got real problems.
It’s particularly prevalent in ladies of a certain age, as the hormonal changes of menopause reduce the ability to absorb and process these vitamins.
Diabetes affects circulation by damaging the arteries in your feet. This is exacerbated by high blood sugar levels, which cause further damage to arteries, nerves and blood vessels.
It isn’t just about cakes and sweets. Sugar is also found in pasta, bread and cereal, plus certain fruits and vegetables. Bananas, dates and all fruit juice are best avoided in quantity if you’re diabetic.
Clearly, the wrong food choices lead to weight gain, and the full force of this bears down on your feet – not to mention the extra stress to the heart and digestive system as they struggle to process unhealthy food.
The extra pressure on your feet will aggravate painful conditions such as hammertoe or bunions, and can even lead to plantar fasciitis.
Happily, there are all sorts of healthy and delicious ways of improving your eating habits. The Mediterranean diet is a good place to start, with its emphasis on fruit, vegetables, lean meat, oily fish, nuts and pulses. These all provide the essential fats, vitamins and minerals needed for healthy feet.
Some healthy food suggestions to promote healthy feet:
- Leafy green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kale and watercress.
- Walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, lentils and beans.
- Blueberries, blackberries and cherries.
- Sardines, salmon and mackerel (omega 3).
- Chicken and turkey.
Dairy products are good for calcium, but cheese, butter, cream and ice cream are high in saturated fat. Look at lower fat alternatives like yoghurt, cottage cheese and soya milk and check the label for sugar, salt and fat levels.
A Little of What You Fancy
There’s no reason you shouldn’t enjoy biscuits, cheese or a takeaway, but these should be an occasional treat rather than a regular habit. A good balance of healthy foods is the best way of keeping your entire body in great shape.
If your feet aren’t functioning properly the impact is huge, so it’s essential to take their nutrition seriously.
At Feet By Pody we’ll give you all the guidance you need to keep your feet healthy. Come and see us at one of our London clinics. Call or book online today.