Nutrition and “healthy living” are usually associated with building muscle, losing weight, and keeping internal organs healthy and functioning, but there’s a surprising part of the body which can be made healthier with proper exercise and diet.
Your feet can actually be made stronger and healthier when you eat healthier and avoid foods which increase inflammation. It’s a bit paradoxical to think about, but your feet are part of your body and benefit just as much from healthy living as other parts, such as your stomach, muscles, and gut. Here are a few ways your feet benefit when you live a nice, healthy life.
Cutting Down Inflammation
There have been numerous studies done which demonstrate that diet and exercise can play a significant role in how inflamed we are. Inflammation, these studies have shown, begins primarily in the gut, but eating a healthier diet with less sugar and processed foods can significantly reduce the level of inflammation in the body.
It’s theorized that inflammation is actually a defensive mechanism which activates when abnormal cells begin to grow at a rapid and substantially unhealthy rate. The inflammation of tissue slows the growth of these abnormal cells but can also lead to various negative health outcomes as well.
This inflammation often leads to foot pain and can cause swelling, as well as more serious conditions like psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. These symptoms can develop quickly and without warning. You can cut down on inflammation by eating less sugar, saturated fats, and omega-6 fats, found in vegetable oils.
The Effect of Diet on Osteoporosis and Your Feet
There are many conditions which affect your feet that can be mitigated or eliminated entirely by eating right. One of the most common is osteoporosis. This condition is a devastating disease which causes progressive bone weakness and loss. It’s known to cause more frequent and intense fractures, including stress fractures and ailments of the foot.
Studies have shown you may actually be able to reduce your chances of osteoporosis by eating more calcium and vitamin D. These vitamins and minerals reduce the chances of fracturing bones and can be complimented by greater frequency and duration of exercising. To increase your intake of calcium, you should increase your intake of a variety of dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt.
Peripheral Artery Disease
A little-known disease which actually affects millions of Americans every year is peripheral artery disease. Like diabetes, this disease cuts off blood in some arteries, including those which deliver blood to your feet. This can cause major pain whenever you walk and often causes the feet to swell up and make any sort of motion difficult. The disease is diagnosed by measuring blood pressure in the arms and comparing it to blood pressure in the feet.
The American Heart Association has said that blood pressure in the ankle should be about ninety percent of that of the arms, but it can be reduced to up to fifty percent with significant swelling. This disease causes extreme discomfort in muscles, including the feet, but it can be prevented by partaking in a diet which is low in saturated fat, trans fats, and sodium. Experts also recommend eating fruits and vegetables frequently.
Diabetes and Diet
Diabetes is one of the most intense and debilitating disease for your feet. Like peripheral artery disease, diabetes is responsible for a plethora of foot problems, including skin irritations, nerve damage, and swelling. The National Institute of Health has recently estimated that up to seventy percent of those with diabetes also have problems with neuropathy, which is damaging or irregularities in the nerves.
Neuropathy often includes problems with the feet, including burning, swelling, and significant and frequent tingling. Those with neuropathy in their feet find it difficult to walk or commit to any significant exercise, which often worsens their condition.
In addition, about thirty percent of those with diabetes over the age of fifty are also struck with peripheral artery disease, according to a study done by the American Diabetes Association. Those who consume an excess of sugar are more likely to develop diabetes, meaning a diet low in sugars is the best way to prevent yourself from developing type 2 diabetes.
Your Weight and Your Feet
Excess weight can often prove crushing for feet. The human body is only meant to support a certain amount of weight, and those who are obese or morbidly obese often have foot and bone problems early on in their life. Being overweight increases risk of disease and pain points in a variety of conditions, but it’s usually the feet which have to bear the brunt of the excess weight.
Those who are overweight have more frequent and intense pain in their ankles and other bones below the waist. People also underestimate how much weight is needed to cause excess foot pain; it’s been estimated that only twenty-five pounds of additional weight is enough to cause severe foot pain and discomfort. Your feet carry your weight throughout your life, so it’s best to take care of them by exercising regularly and not adding additional weight to the load they have to carry.