You may not often think about what you’re eating and how it affects your feet but your diet definitely has an impact on your podiatric health. First, eating a well-balanced diet that’s high in protein, fruits and vegetables and low in fat, sugar and processed foods helps maintain appropriate body weight. At Paul S. DeMarco, DPM, many of the foot conditions we treat are made worse if a patient is overweight. Being at a healthy weight and eating a diet that gives you the proper nutrients also makes it easier to be active and in shape, which benefits your feet as much as the rest of your body. There are two areas in particular, however, where your diet can specifically contribute to the health of your feet and ankles:
Bone Strength: There are 26 bones in your foot and they are supporting the weight of your entire body. Obviously the stronger your bones are the better off your feet will be. Eating foods rich in calcium and Vitamin D can aid in bone growth, which in turn will help you avoid stress fractures and osteoporosis. Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese are well known sources of calcium. Also consider adding more dark leafy greens (spinach, kale), sardines and soy beans to your menus. Look for cereals, breads, orange juice and other products that are fortified with calcium.
Joint Inflammation: Inflammation can be greatly affected by the foods you eat. Red meat and foods high in trans fats and refined sugars increase inflammation and should be avoided, particularly if you have arthritis or are prone to gout. On the flip side, foods high in omega-3 fatty acids can help fight inflammation. Good sources of omega-3s are salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and soybeans. Green tea has been shown to contain antioxidants that help reduce inflammation as have raspberries, cherries, blackberries and certain other dark purple or red berries. Olive oil contains an ingredient that is similar in makeup to those found in nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications.
Our podiatrist, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco, believes patients should be proactive in taking care of their feet. If you have questions about healthy habits for good foot health, contact our Somers Point office by calling: (609) 927-4894.