You may not associate a healthy diet with happier feet, but did you know that even the smallest of food choices can affect your overall foot health? From unknowingly increasing inflammation, increasing your susceptibility to chronic disease and foot pain, or causing general discomfort, a diet lacking in nutrients can induce a plethora of unwanted pains. Read on below to find out the types of foods you should be eating (and avoiding) to improve your foot health:
Certain foods and ingredients are more likely to increase inflammation in your lower limbs. If you find yourself suffering from heel and foot discomfort or are more susceptible to rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis, gout or even plantar fasciitis, avoiding the following food types can help prevent inflammation and pain.
- Refined grains in the form of white flour, white bread or white rice and pasta
- Foods high in sugar such as cakes, chocolate and various sweets
- Trans-fatty acids found in baked or preserved goods
- Saturated fats found in red meats, butter, or processed meats
- Omega-6 fatty acids from sunflower, corn, soybean or cottonseed oils
- Wholemeal and wholegrain flours, bread, (brown) rice and flours
- Low-sugar, fresh foods
- Red, non-processed meats in smaller portions
- Omega-3 rich foods such as salmon, tuna, avocado, nuts and seeds
Calcium and Vitamin D rich foods
While a lot of foot pains can stem from and be exaggerated by physical strain or stress, foot pain can also occur from an overabundance or lack of vitamins and nutrients in the body such as Calcium and Vitamin D.
Increasing your calcium intake can help improve, build and protect your bones while providing essential nutrients required for blood clotting, muscle contracting and heart health. While calcium alone is important, ensuring you have enough Vitamin D to supplement it is also crucial since vitamin D promotes calcium absorption.
- Introduce calcium-rich foods and drinks beverages into your diet. This can include milk, cheese, yoghurt or calcium-rich dairy alternatives such as almond or soy milk
- Eat high-calcium dark leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale
- Take calcium and vitamin D supplements if you feel you’re not getting enough from your daily diet
Taking both vitamin D and calcium can prevent the onset of osteoporosis, create reserves that your body can use to repair and improve bone strength and prevent muscle cramps.
Fresh fruits, veggies and legumes
Similar to your body’s need for calcium and vitamin D, eating a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes can improve your overall health while reducing the chances of peripheral artery disease or diabetes occurring. Such diseases can trigger symptoms ranging from restricted or reduced blood flow, nerve and artery damage, discomfort and even pain, numbness or tingling in the lower extremities.
- Vitamin C rich foods such as citrus fruits, broccoli, berries or guava to reduce inflammation
- Fresh vitamin B rich vegetables such as spinach, collard greens and broccoli for nerve health
- Iron-rich vegetables such as spinach, kale, swiss chard or other leafy greens to assist blood flow around your body.