Living with Diabetes: Food Tips for Healthy Feet

Diabetic-friendly fruits and veggiesFood is a central part of life. Your body absolutely needs it to live, but that’s not all. It’s also a key part of culture and society, with each culture developing its own food customs and social expectations. People love spending time together over meals and share food or drinks at all sorts of activities. This makes it all the more difficult to eat healthily and take care of yourself when you have a condition like diabetes, which is directly affected by the food you eat. Still, eating right is one of the most important parts of taking care of your lower limbs, so it needs to be taken seriously.

Sweet Taste, Bitter Trouble

Diabetes is a systemic disease that damages many different structures in the body. High levels of sugar in the blood hurts not only the blood vessels themselves, but also other tissues, including your nerves. Both of these effects spell trouble for your lower limbs. Ineffective nerves can’t feel damage to your feet. Weakened blood vessels limit your immune system’s ability to heal. Between the two of these issues, you can end up with complications like ulcers and Charcot foot.

This is why eating too much sugar and not sticking to a special diabetic diet can be such a problem for your feet. The extra sugar in your blood damages your blood vessels and nerves, while fat and excessive sodium sharply increase your risk for disease in your already vulnerable heart. On the other hand, controlling your diet and being conscious of what you eat can have the opposite effect. Healthy eating can help keep your lower limbs in good shape.

Foods to Stock

There are plenty of foods that are healthy for people living on a diabetes diet. You simply have to be mindful of what they are and keep your fridge and pantry stocked appropriately. Instead of refined, white flours, stick to whole grains. This includes brown rice, whole wheat, and whole grain pasta. Cook with canola or extra-virgin olive oils and pan sprays. Lean meats are good for protein. Low-fat cheese and milk along with sugar-free yogurt make good snacks. The foods you really need to stock, however, are fresh fruits and vegetables: berries, cherries, oranges, grapefruit, kiwis, melons, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, romaine lettuce, mushrooms, carrots, green beans, asparagus, and small potatoes are all excellent options. These are healthy for your body overall without loading you down with too many carbohydrates.

General Diet Tips

Exactly how and what you should eat is something you should discuss with your entire health team. While there are plenty of general tips for eating with diabetes, your diet may need to be tailored to your lifestyle and current health, particularly if you’re already struggling with diabetic complications like peripheral neuropathy in your feet. Our team at Podiatry Associates, P.C. will be happy to discuss your food requirements for healthy feet.

There are, however, a few general rules that are good for your diabetic diet overall:

  • Eat Lots of Vegetables and Some Fruit Every Day – You do have to be careful with fruit sugars, but eating multiple portions of veggies and fruit a day can help reduce your risk for heart problems and other complications.

  • Cut Back on Sugar – You can’t eliminate sugar, but limiting it lowers your blood sugar levels and reduces your calorie intake.

  • Cut Back on Red Meat – Red meat may contribute to heart disease risks, adding to your already-elevated odds for a heart problem.

  • Limit Sodium Intake – Too much salt is bad for your heart and your blood pressure.

  • Eliminate or Reduce Alcohol Consumption – Alcohol is packed with carbs and could contribute to blood sugar issues.

The more intentional you are about how you eat with diabetes, the easier it is to take care of your lower limbs and avoid debilitating complications like ulcers or Charcot foot. Our team at Podiatry Associates, P.C. will work with you to establish a healthy, safe diet for diabetes and keep your feet at their best. You can make an appointment with Dr. Oberholtzer-Classen and the team online at our Parker, Castle Pines, or Chery Creek offices. You can also call us directly at (303) 805-5156.
Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen, DPM
Founder and Owner of Podiatry Associates, PC