Sunday, Apr 21, 2019
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Food and your feet

How does your nutrition affect your feet? When most people think about nutrition and health they typically associate the food they eat with their weight or heart disease, not their feet. We know what you eat plays a major role in overall health and wellness and affects different parts of the body, even our feet, either causing or treating several foot conditions. This is basically still the beginning of the year and many persons are on all types of eating plans including Keto, raw, low carb, high protein, etc. in an effort to lose weight. What everyone must remember is that the feet are connected to the rest of your body, and what you put into your body affects the whole body including the feet.

Inflammation, diet and your feet

Medical research suggests that what we eat can affect inflammation in the body, which is a risk factor for many chronic conditions. Generally, inflammation is a defense mechanism in the body that helps stop growth of abnormal cells, promotes healing of injured tissues, and signals cells to fight off viral and bacterial infections. However, when inflammation lasts too long it eventually causes cells that can destroy healthy tissue and actually trigger disease.

Inflammation is a common cause of foot pain associated with inflammatory arthritis such as psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. It also affects the plantar fascia causing the intense heel pain in plantar fasciitis. Many common foods are believed to encourage inflammation, such as the refined grains, sugar, and trans fats in baked goods and junk foods as well as the saturated fat in red meat and the omega-6 fats. Allergies to common foods such as wheat protein gluten found in wheat, barley, and rye can also increase inflammation in the body. Eating too many foods that cause your blood sugar to rise quickly, such as sweets, white flour, and pasta can also cause inflammation.

To reduce inflammation, eat foods with more omega-3 fats such as fatty fish such as salmon or supplements that are a good sources of omega-3s. A healthy diet with anti-inflammatory benefits is one rich in green vegetables and other fresh plant foods, while eliminating refined grain foods and sugary treats.

Osteoporosis, diet and your feet

Osteoporosis is another condition that affect the feet that can be better managed by eating right. Osteoporosis is associated with an increased risk of fractures, and one of the first signs of the disease is a stress fracture in the foot. Increasing your dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D can decrease the risk of a fracture. Exercise can also strengthen the bone and help prevent fractures.

Dairy products are a dietary source of calcium but they also contain saturated fats which can increase inflammation. Dietary calcium is found in some green vegetables and many fortified foods such as cereals, breads, and juices. Vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium, can be found in fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, and tuna. It’s best to take them together.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD), diet and your feet

With increased age and medical conditions such as PAD and diabetes, the blood vessels can be narrowed and decrease the amount of blood they carry to your legs and feet. Common symptoms of peripheral artery disease may include discomfort in the muscles of your feet, leg or thigh especially when walking as well as pain or tingling in the feet or toes especially at night.

A diet low in saturated fat, trans fat, and salt, while high in fruits and vegetables and Omega 3 have been proven to reduce risk of peripheral artery disease.

Diabetes, diet and your feet

Diabetes is a common condition caused by high levels of blood sugar that can cause many types of serious foot problems including ulcers and amputations. According to the National Institute of Health, as much as 70 percent of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy and have symptoms which may include burning pain, tingling, or weakness in the feet. A significant number, about 50 to 60 percent of diabetics also have PAD which makes it worse.

A healthy diet is one of the keys to controlling blood sugar levels and managing your diabetes. A diabetes diet means eating a fiber-rich diet with fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and moderate amounts of whole grains and healthy fats.

Weight, diet and your feet

Given that your feet bear the weight of your entire body, it’s not surprising that being overweight and obese can lead to foot problems. Excess body weight increases your chances of a variety of painful conditions in the feet, ankle, knee and even up to the back.

Besides the other benefits of a healthy diet, weight management can help avoid or manage conditions affecting the feet such as heel and other pain, stress fractures, and swelling. Even a modest weight loss of five to 10 percent of body weight can make a big difference and help relieve many foot and ankle problems. Exercise is critical to sustained weight loss and general health. Many people are not exercising because they have foot pain which can affect their weight loss also.

So, when you are about to pop that whatever in your mouth, think of your feet as well and how that food will affect your feet.

• For more information or to see a podiatrist visit Bahamas Foot Centre Rosetta Street, telephone 325-2996 or Bahamas Surgical Associates Centre, Albury Lane, telephone 394-5820 or email [email protected] or visit www.apma.org.

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