The foods that we eat affect our whole body—including the feet. The body’s systems connect everything from the head to the toes, and the feet are often the first indicator of major health concerns.
How are the feet affected by my nutrition?
People often decide to change their diets once they are aware of a medical concern like heart disease or diabetes. Many men and women never consider how food impacts their feet. Inflammation of the tissue is one way that a diet high in sugar and fats can impact the body. In your feet, this might develop as plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a large piece of tissue that stretches across the bottom of your feet, including your heels. Food allergies are also a growing problem, and many people experience tissue agitation as a result. An allergy to gluten is one example.
The feet can be devastated by diseases such as diabetes and PVD (peripheral vascular disease). Both conditions cause damage to the arteries. The decreased blood flow in the feet means that the body’s natural healing process is limited, and a simple cut or blister can turn into a major infection if not addressed.
Edema occurs due to fluid retention by the body’s tissues, and a high sodium diet can lead to this condition. One major symptom is swelling of the feet and ankles. This swelling can lead to other common foot conditions such as corns and blisters due to shoes that can’t accommodate the increased size of the feet.
What changes can I make in my diet to keep my feet, and the rest of my body healthy?
You’ve heard it said time and again, “Eat your veggies,” and your fruits! Try to avoid processed foods as much as possible, and read labels. Foods high in trans-fat, saturated fat, sugars, and sodium are some of the most damaging foods to your feet and the rest of your body.
Inflammation can be addressed by choosing whole grains over white flour based products. Omega-3 fats that are found in fish such as salmon also help the body’s tissue to be less irritated, and green, leafy vegetables are also an important addition. Cutting out most sugars can provide a double bonus: less inflammation and a reduced risk of diabetes, or help with controlling the disease. Lean meats, beans, and other nutrient rich, low-fat proteins provide wholesome energy for the body, and help to maintain a good blood sugar level.
The arteries are greatly affected by PAD, and high fat foods only add to the problem. Salmon and other omega-3s are a great way to decrease the risk of this disease. Watching fat intake overall is very important.
Edema is often related to a diet that is high in sodium. Choose low-sodium options, and be aware that canned foods (even vegetables) often have added salt. Select fresh or frozen instead. Fruits that have a lot of water in their constitution are great choices—watermelon is one example. Vitamin B is also thought to be helpful, so look for ways to add kale and spinach to your meals. Cereals and breads often contain this vitamin as well.
In general, a low-fat, low-sodium, low-sugar diet is a great way to keep your body healthy. Preventing diseases is always better than managing them, and what you eat today will impact your health tomorrow. Start today, and be on your way to better overall health for you and for your feet!
Does the pain of inflammation, or swelling of your feet have you feeling uncomfortable? Contact the office of podiatrist Larry Kales today, and learn more about the health of your feet. We have two convenient Florida locations: Spring Hill and Hudson. You can also make an appointment online.