Healthy Feet

The Importance of Good Nutrition For Your Feet

When we think of nutrition, we usually associate the food we eat with things like weight management or cardiovascular health. What we fail to realize is that our diet has a BIG impact on our general health and can affect just about every single body part, including our feet.

Diet and Foot Inflammation

According to a 2015 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition (BJN), your diet affects inflammation in your body, which can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, arthritis, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer, among other chronic conditions.

Inflammation is your body’s response to an injury. The inflammatory response is a defense mechanism that protects your body against viral and bacterial infections. It localizes and eliminates the harmful agent and removes damaged tissue components so that your body can start to heal. However, when inflammation persists, your body must mobilize a variety of mediators to defend the cells. This chronic state of inflammation can damage healthy tissue and contribute to a variety of severe health conditions.

Inflammation is one of the most common causes of foot pain and discomfort in people with inflammatory arthritis (IA), such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis, and gouty arthritis (gout). It can also cause plantar fasciitis (or policeman’s heel), which causes stabbing pain at the heel by damaging the plantar fascia, a long, thin ligament that sits right beneath the skin on the bottom of your foot.

Many common food ingredients can increase inflammation in your body. These include:

  • Refined Sugars: Soft drinks, breakfast cereal, sweets and baked goods, canned goods, bread toppings, low-fat food, sauces, and ready-made meals.
  • Saturated Fats: Cured meat, cheese, pastries, ice cream, butter, and chocolates.
  • Trans Fats: Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and a variety of processed foods.
  • Omega 6 Fatty Acids: Nuts, seeds, eggs, and vegetable oil.
  • Refined Carbohydrates: White flour products, white rice, sodas, and breakfast cereal.
  • Mono-sodium glutamate (MSG): Fast food, particularly Chinese food, chips, seasoning blends, frozen meals, canned soups and soup mixes, processed meats, condiments, and instant noodles.
  • Gluten: Wheat, barley, and rye.
  • Casein: Dairy products.

Consume more omega-3 fats to reduce inflammation. Some good sources of Omega-3 are:

  • Salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel
  • Caviar
  • Oysters
  • Cod liver oil
  • Flax, chia, and hemp seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Soybeans
  • Pastured and omega-3-enriched eggs
  • Vegetables like spinach, Brussels sprouts, and purslane

Diet and Osteoporosis

Many chronic foot conditions can be managed by eating a healthy diet. One such condition is osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis weakens and brittles bones, making them more prone to fractures. A stress fracture (tiny cracks in the foot) is often one of the earliest symptoms of the condition.

Increasing your calcium and vitamin D intake, as well as other lifestyle adjustments such as regular exercise, can reduce your risk of osteoporosis.

Good sources of calcium include:

  • Poppy, sesame, celery, and chia seeds
  • Parmesan and cottage cheese
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Sardines and canned salmon
  • Beans and lentils
  • Almonds
  • Whey protein
  • Leafy greens like spinach and kale
  • Dried figs
  • Cow’s milk

Good sources of Vitamin D include:

  • Fish like salmon, herring, and sardines
  • Cod liver oil
  • Canned tuna
  • Egg yolk
  • Mushroom
  • Fortified foods like cow’s milk, soy milk, orange juice, cereal, and oatmeal

Diet and Peripheral Artery Disease

Every year, more than three million Americans are stricken with peripheral artery disease (or peripheral vascular disease). This circulatory disorder can cause blood vessel damage and limit blood flow to your lower limbs. This may result in claudication (cramping pain in the leg when standing or walking).

One of the most common tests to diagnose peripheral artery disease is the ankle-brachial index (ABI). It compares your ankle blood pressure to your arm blood pressure to determine blood pressure and flow.

A diet low in saturated and trans fat can help in the prevention of peripheral artery disease. Aim for a healthy diet that includes the following foods:

  • Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Poultry and fish
  • Legumes, nuts, seeds
  • Non-tropical vegetable oils such as olive oil

You should also limit your consumption of:

  • Sodium
  • Saturated and trans fats
  • Added sugars
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Red meat

A study published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery (JVS) also suggests consuming omega-3 fatty acids to reduce the incidence of peripheral artery disease.

Diet and Diabetes

Diabetes, like peripheral artery disease, can trigger a cascade of foot problems, ranging from skin problems to nerve damage (neuropathy). According to the National Institutes of Health, up to 70% of all people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy. Tingling, numbness, burning, or pain in the foot are common symptoms of neuropathy.

A healthy diet is one of the most crucial components of diabetes management. Here’s what your diet for diabetes should include:

  • Fatty fish
  • Spinach, kale, and other leafy green
  • Avocados
  • Eggs
  • Chia seeds
  • Beans
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Nuts like almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts
  • Broccoli
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Strawberries
  • Squash

Diet and Weight

It’s not surprising that being overweight can lead to foot problems, given that your feet bear the weight of your entire body. Excess body weight (even 25 extra pounds) can increase your chances of developing many painful foot conditions. Aside from the obvious advantages of a balanced diet, weight management can help avoid or manage foot conditions.

At, we know that healthy eating can help you live a long and active life. Visit for more information on how to keep your feet and ankles healthy.

Posted in Foot Care News.