What you eat can affect your feet and your ability to walk. Many people experience painful foot cramps because of serious nutritional deficiencies. Poor nutrition leads to a lack of nutrients that causes foot pain.
The main nutrition-related cause of foot cramps is a lack of magnesium. Magnesium is necessary to maintain the chemical reactions that allow the foot to function properly. This nutrient allows sodium and calcium to leave cells. If you don’t have enough of it in your diet, calcium and sodium can build up in your cells which can lead to cramping.
You should definitely pay attention to foot cramps because they can be a symptom of a serious nutritional deficiency. The truth is that foot cramps can be a warning sign. Your body is trying to tell that something is wrong and that you should take corrective action. Unfortunately, many people ignore foot cramps and fail to take action.
It should also be noted here that a magnesium deficiency is only one of several things that can cause foot cramps. There are some other causes that you should be aware of. These include:
- Calcium Deficiency
- Potassium Deficiency
- Thyroid Disorders
- Reactions to some Medicines
As you can see, two of the other major causes of foot cramps are diet related. They include potassium and calcium deficiencies. One big problem is that many people can have a deficiency of more than one kind of nutrient.
Thyroid disorders can also be caused by nutritional deficiencies and a poor diet. They can also be caused by infections which can be made worse by a poor diet and lousy nutrition.
Okay, many people will say I don’t have to worry about a nutritional deficiency because I get plenty to eat. The problem is not that you are not getting enough to eat but that you are getting too little of the right kind of food. The food you are eating simply doesn’t contain the nutrients that you need.
Much of the food that we eat today is low in nutrients especially minerals. There are several reasons for this: cooking takes out nutrients, the industrial processes used to prepare foods takes out minerals, food sits on shelves for long periods of time which can remove nutrients and much of the vegetables we eat are grown in soil that is exhausted. People that get all or most of their nutrition from prepackaged or pre-prepared foods will be more likely to have nutritional deficiencies.
This is the food that is most likely to be low in magnesium, potassium and calcium. Even so-called fortified foods such as baked goods and breakfast cereals will not give you an adequate supply of such nutrients. Even when these foods do provide you with nutrients, they are still bad because they contain other bad ingredients such as hydrogenated oils and sugar.
Steps to Dealing with Foot Pain and Cramps
The first thing you need to do when you feel a foot pain or cramp is to check your foot to see that it is not injured. Look carefully and make sure there are no bruises or other signs of injury.
If it doesn’t appear to be injured, try staying off your feet for a few days in order to let them heal. You might also try changing your shoes. Check athletic or hiking shoes to see if they are worn out. Avoid wearing uncomfortable footwear such as high heels or cowboy boots and try wearing comfortable shoes or going barefoot as much as possible.
You might also consider putting a pad in your foot. Be careful with inserts because ones that don’t fill up the whole shoe can move around and actually make the situation and the pain worse.
If these steps don’t help, you should seriously consider changing your diet. Simply taking supplements is not enough. You need to change your whole diet so that you’ll start getting the nutrition that you need.
The main dietary change you need to undertake is to start getting as much of your nutrition from raw, organic fruits and vegetables as possible. Vegetables in particular are vital because they are the best sources of magnesium, potassium and calcium around. You’ll need to eat several servings of such foods a day.
Foods that are Rich in Magnesium Include:
- Dark green vegetables such as kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, and chard.
- Fish such as halibut which can contain up to 170 mg of magnesium.
- Peanuts and nuts
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Black Beans
You should try getting as much of your magnesium from vegetables, nuts, beans or fish as possible because these foods are high in energy and low in sugar and fat. Cereals and breads are high in sugar so they make you fatter which causes other health problems. You need to limit your consumption of baked goods, not increase it.
Increasing your level of energy will help you feel better and put you in a position to lose weight. Being overweight is another major cause of foot cramps. Many obese people have cramps because of all the extra pounds that they are carrying around with them.
Even many healthy people including athletes develop foot cramps because they have a potassium deficiency. The best way to deal with this deficiency is to change your diet. Eating potassium-rich foods is one of the best ways to prevent foot cramps. Fortunately, some of these are the same foods that are rich in magnesium.
Potassium Rich Foods:
- Tomatoes and tomato juice
- Oranges and orange Juice
- Kiwi fruit
- Honeydew melons
- Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and chard
A great way to get sufficient potassium is to switch to a raw diet. Canadian fitness guru Yuri Elkaim has even created a potassium raw food diet that can help you overcome problems such as foot cramps.
Raw organic fruits and vegetables are a better source of nutrition because they contain more nutrients in an easily digested form. That means you may need to supplements. Supplements may not help you as much as you think because many of them are water soluble which means they may run out of your body.
Calcium Rich Foods
Many people think that the way to get enough calcium is to consume more milk and dairy products. Nothing could be further from the truth; there are ways to get plenty of calcium without consuming a lot of fattening cheese and milk.
Beans, seeds, dark green vegetables, soy and even fish are all excellent sources of calcium. Cabbage or Bok Choy can contain a high level calcium. A cup of turnip greens can contain 208 mg of calcium. That’s as much as a cup of cottage cheese!
One of the foods with the highest levels of calcium is sardines. A can of sardines can contain 500 mg of calcium. A serving of salmon can contain 91 mg of calcium.
What this means is that a good high energy raw food diet such as Yuri Elkaim’s Eating for Energy should give you all the calcium that you need without the need to eat dairy products. You’ll have plenty of energy, lose weight and not suffer from foot cramps.
If you’re having foot cramps, try switching to such a diet and eating more foods that contain high levels of calcium, potassium and magnesium. Eating several servings of these a day can boost your level of these nutrients and end foot cramps.
You may notice other benefits such as an end to other kinds of pain including back pain and cramps elsewhere in the body. Nutritional deficiencies often cause pain throughout the body. Unfortunately, many people think such pain is normal and live with it rather than eating a good diet.
The truth is that you don’t have to live with foot cramps and similar problems. Changing your lifestyle can enable you to overcome them and become more active than ever before.
Adding more high nutrition foods to your diet is easier than you might think. Get a juicing machine and make yourself a glass of kale and tomato juice every morning. Kale is rich in magnesium and calcium and tomatoes are rich in potassium. Nutrients in juice are easier to digest so you can get more of the nutrients you need in a less fattening form.
Eating kale salads or chard soups is another great way to increase your intake without having to spend a lot of money on supplements. Even eating beans can help because beans provide fiber protein and nutrition.
Other Steps to prevent Foot Cramps
There are some other things you need to do to prevent foot cramps. The first is to get plenty of exercise. Try a regimen of several short and intense workouts every day. This will put less stress on your body but be just as good as a long workout in the gym. Check out Fitter You Fitness for some workouts you can download right to your iPod.
Some people might also benefit from a less intense workout such as Bikram Yoga. Bikram is perfect for those with health problems and for people that are out of shape. It also provides relaxation which can help prevent some health problems.
Meditation and the relaxation that it produces can also help prevent cramping. Try meditating two or three times particularly before you go to sleep and when you wake up in the morning. Meditating right before a workout can also reduce cramping.
Getting eight hours of optimal sleep every night also prevents cramping. Many people cramp up because of poor sleep.
Changing your work environment can help. Sitting for long periods of time in chairs especially uncomfortable chairs can cause cramps and other serious problems. If you work at a computer, try switching to a standing computer desk or moving the computer to a higher elevation so you can stand. Try to avoid sitting for more than one or two hours a day.
Get up and move around every few minutes in order to give your legs circulation. Try to avoid other activity including driving which can cause cramping. If you can, walk or bicycle to work or take public transit and stand on the train or bus.
Constant movement is often the best treatment for foot cramps. If you lead an active lifestyle and eat a good diet, you should be able to avoid foot cramps and constant pain. Never buy into the myth that you have to accept pain or foot cramps. There are ways to prevent them and feel good. The way to begin doing this is to take charge of your life and your diet.
Remember that if you don’t, other more serious health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis are probably right down the road. Change your diet and health now before you end up a physical wreck who is overweight and in constant pain.