Your Body, Health, and Feet: Why Everything's Connected

people walking on treadmill, leg and foot bones are shown
Did you know that your foot health plays a significant role in your overall well-being? And your diet affects your mental and physical health and your foot health. When it comes to our fitness, everything is connected. If you would like to keep your feet healthy or at least as healthy as they can be, it's essential to take care of your entire body. So, where do you start?

Foods and Nutrients Beneficial to Foot Health

First and foremost, the key to any healthy diet is choosing nutrient-dense foods like whole foods to stay within your daily caloric intake goal while still getting all the required nutrients. Nutrient-dense foods contain things like protein, vitamins, calcium, and antioxidants. These are some examples of nutrient-dense foods. (1)

  • Fruits: apples, bananas, oranges, etc., are all high in fiber and contain essential antioxidants
  • Raw Vegetables: broccoli, carrots, kale, etc., keep muscles strong and help to repair tissue
  • Lean Meats/Tofu: protein helps to build and repair muscles
  • Milk, Cheese, and Tuna: calcium and vitamin D are essential in preserving bone health
  • Eggs, Walnuts, and Olive Oil: omega-3s reduce inflammation within the joints

Are There Foods That Can Lower the Risk of Foot Disease?

Plenty of unpleasant ailments manifest in our feet, causing pain, discomfort, and inconvenience. Luckily, certain foods you can consume contain specific nutrients that promote foot health and lower the risk of these diseases. (2)

  • Tendinitis and Plantar Fasciitis: Two of the most common causes of foot pain are caused by inflammation. The symptoms can range from mild to intense pain and, in extreme cases, can leave you with limited mobility. Vitamin C is a potent natural anti-inflammatory found in many different delicious foods! Oranges, bell peppers, and tomatoes are excellent sources of vitamin C and many other foods.

  • Osteoporosis: According to the CDC, osteoporosis affects 19.6% of U.S. adults over 50. (3) This condition resulting in reduced bone density, affects your entire body, but especially your feet, which have 26 bones each! Calcium absorption is helped through Vitamin D. You can meet your daily calcium requirements by adding dairy products and leafy greens to your diet- milk, cheese, spinach, and kale. Vitamin D also can be consumed through your diet and sunshine, but supplements are often helpful to ensure the recommended daily intake is met.

  • Neuropathy: Caused by nerve damage, neuropathy can lead to burning, tingling, and numbness in your feet. Though this discomfort isn't easily reversed, it can be prevented with the proper diet regimen. You can avoid unnecessary damage by promoting nerve health by consuming B vitamins. Foods like sardines, eggs, legumes, and leafy greens can supply your body with the vitamin B necessary to keep your nerves healthy and your feet happy!

Foot Health and Your Health

Did you know that your foot health plays a significant role in your overall health surrounding the rest of your body? Since foot conditions and injuries are among the most common problems people face, it's no surprise that understanding proper foot care could lower the number of sufferers and lead to better overall health across the board. Our feet lay the foundation for our body, allowing us to stay active and keep our balance. When an injury or condition impacts this important job, your feet and your body will suffer. Depending on the severity of the foot condition, the ripple effects on your overall health could be detrimental, so it's imperative to take the steps necessary to protect your feet. You're doing your entire body a favor when you save your feet.

These hard-working body parts can impact our health in many ways, from positively warning us about potential underlying health conditions to negatively impacting mobility and causing further systemic damage.

Before running to the doctor, it is important to note that most of the symptoms and their subsequent underlying health conditions below are rare instances. You should, however, monitor any unusual sensations or appearances in your feet and be mindful that your foot health is linked to the rest of your body. (1)

  1. Cold Feet and Toes -- Circulation problems and vascular disorders can restrict blood flow which causes your feet and toes to feel colder than the rest of your body. Other conditions like diabetes cause restricted blood flow due to a narrowing of the arteries from frequent high blood sugar levels.

  2. Sudden Swollen Foot or Big Toe -- Cellulitis and systematic arthritis are two possible explanations for a swollen foot. While a few serious possibilities surrounding a swollen foot would affect the entire body, most answers are minor and benign.

  3. Foot Cramps -- When you are dehydrated, the electrolyte levels in your body drop, leading to muscle cramps. Next time you get a pesky foot cramp, it may just be your body telling you to drink a glass of water!

  4. Numbness or Tingling in the Feet -- Neurological conditions like peripheral neuropathy and spinal stenosis cause tingling in the lower extremities. If you find yourself with more "pins and needles" in your feet than usual, your body may also tell you that you have a vitamin B12 deficiency.

The symptoms in your feet are likely benign, but it's essential to know that your feet may signal an underlying health issue.

When you prioritize your foot health and your body's health, you help keep every aspect of your body functioning better. You and your feet work hard, and our feet play an important role in our overall health. Make sure you're taking the proper steps through diet and monitoring your feet for any new pain, sensations, or changes, and remember to reach out to your podiatrist or doctor for any concerns.

1 https://familydoctor.org/changing-your-diet-choosing-nutrient-rich-foods/
2 https://www.westfieldfoot.com/podiatrist-blog/2021/3/1/foods-to-eat-and-to-avoid-for-your-healthiest-feet

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