Our podiatrist in the Niles and Berwyn, Illinois, area can help you develop healthier eating habits.


 

NUTRITION

HOW YOUR DIET AFFECTS YOUR FEET

You are what you eat. Or rather, the state of health throughout your body is a direct result of what you eat. Because of the association between diet and disease, most people think that the foods they consume only affect the primary organs of the body, such as the heart, kidneys, liver, eyes, etc. They tend to think less about how nutrition affects other important parts of the body, such as the feet.

AVOIDING INFLAMMATORY FOODS

Foods rich in refined grains, sugar and trans fats found in baked and junk foods, saturated fat in red meat, Omega-6 fats in used vegetable oils such as corn, soybean, and sunflower oils can cause inflammation. This can manifest in your foot as plantar fasciitis – a disease condition that causes a stabbing pain in the tissue along the bottom of your foot and heel. It is common in older people, as well as those who are always on their feet.

You can also get inflammation by eating foods that cause your blood sugar to rise quickly such as white flour, sweets, and pasta. To combat inflammation, one of the best things you can do is to switch to a more plant-based diet. This is a diet where most calories come from whole, plant-based foods (not necessarily vegetarian or vegan). So, instead of a meat- and starch-heavy diet, you would consume more vegetables (Brussels sprouts, collards, kale, spinach and watercress), nuts (walnuts, chia-seeds, hemp seeds, almonds, and flax seeds), fruits (cherries, blueberries and strawberries), whole grains, fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel), and healthy oils. In addition to reducing inflammation, a plant-based diet can help reduce cravings for better weight management.

 foot specialist chicago health feet with nutrition

Sometimes it is hard to try and eat all these fruits, vegetables, and grains in a day. A product that we endorse is Juice Plus. It is a whole food supplement, not a vitamin. There are 21 fruits and vegetables in the capsule. The fruits and vegetables have been reduced to a powder retaining their nutritional value. Because these are fruits and vegetables, your body is able to absorb them completely and get the nutritional benefits.

STRONG BONES

The health of the bones in the feet is very important to the whole body. This is because one-quarter of the bones in the body are found in the feet and ankles. The foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, over 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. You need to protect these bones from conditions that can affect them adversely.

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes a gradual loss of bone and increases the risk of fractures. It is normally diagnosed after a fracture occurs. What you eat can greatly help in preventing and protecting your feet from this condition. One of the ways you can do this is by eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D. Good sources of calcium and vitamin D include sardines, leafy green vegetables like collard greens and spinach, beef liver, egg yolks, and fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, and salmon. If you aren’t lactose-intolerant, dairy sources like low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese can be beneficial.

FEELING ALL THE FEELS

Most diabetic patients experience problems in their foot, including diabetic neuropathy. This occurs when a nerve is damaged, which results in swelling and inflammation. The patient experiences numbness, tingling, and burning sensations in the foot. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) advises diabetic patients to eat a diet high in beans, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, and a few fats and sweets. By eating more fruits and vegetables, one can reduce the severity or even prevent diabetic neuropathy.

If you are interested in learning more about nutrition and foot health, you can make an appointment and speak with Dr. Parikh at either our Niles or Berwyn location.