Typically when discussing the benefits of proper nutrition, most people highlight improvements to heart health or a shrinking waistline. However, proper nutrition can also improve the health of your feet.
Effects of nutrition on feet
There are several medical conditions that affect foot health, many of which are affected by nutrition. Some of these conditions include:
- Diabetes – can affect the circulation in your feet, cause a loss of feeling, and trigger diabetic neuropathy.
- Inflammation – Some types of food (including foods with refined sugar and trans fats) can increase inflammation in your feet and even cause plantar fasciitis.
- Obesity – The more you weigh the more force your feet have to bear. Obesity can lead to plantar fasciitis and heel pain. It can also worsen bunions and hammertoes.
- Osteoporosis (weakened bones) – Bones weakened by osteoporosis are more susceptible to stress fractures and trauma-related breaks.
- Poor circulation – Circulatory problems caused by peripheral artery disease (PAD), smoking, diabetes, and other conditions can create various problems with your feet and legs.
Tips for proper nutrition
Although proper nutrition alone may not prevent all of the above medical conditions from forming, it can be a vital part of achieving better health – including improved foot health.
Some tips to improve your overall foot health include:
- Control blood sugar levels – If you suffer from diabetes, it is important to monitor and control your blood glucose levels. By keeping your diabetes in check, you can prevent symptoms and keep existing conditions from worsening.
- Eat a healthy diet – By eating a healthy diet low in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and rich in fruits and vegetables, you can decrease the risk of PAD, reduce inflammation, and lose weight. Be sure to discuss any dietary changes with your doctor.
- Exercise regularly – Although exercise is not a form of nutrition in the traditional sense, regular exercise can help “feed” your bones and minimize bone loss. Speak with your doctor to find an exercise program that will meet your specific needs.
- Increase intake of calcium and vitamin D – By building stronger bones with daily vitamins and minerals, you can combat the onset of osteoporosis. Be sure to speak with your doctor about the proper intake of these vitamins as too many may not be healthy.
In addition to the above tips, you should monitor your foot health and visit your doctor if you begin to notice weakness, pain, numbness, or any other abnormal sensation in your feet. Catching foot problems in their early stages can help you reduce the likelihood of long-term adverse effects.