Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Dietary Treatments for Neuropathy

Neuropathy is the medical term used to describe nerve damage caused by diabetes. The most common symptom of this condition is numbness in the hands and / or feet. Neuropathy can also affect other nerves in the body, including those associated with the digestive process. Diet can play a major role in the prevention and control of neuropathy. These are some of the basic dietary protocols you can follow to prevent and control the problem.
  1. The most important thing is to keep your blood sugar level as close to normal as is possible. To do this you should limit your intake of sugars and fats, eat smaller meals but eat them more often, control your intake of carbs and consume lots of fresh fruits, whole grains and vegetables.
  2. With diabetes, if the blood sugar level drops too low symptoms of sweating and shakiness act as warning signs. In the case of neuropathy, the warnings may not appear. Be sure that you do not skip or delay meals and check your blood sugar levels more frequently to prevent the occurrence of hypoglycemia.
  3. Vitamin B12 deficiency can affect the severity of neuropathy and cause severe numbness, tingling sensations and pain in the feet and hands. While increasing the intake of red meat, fish, dairy, poultry and eggs can increase the B12 levels, it is best to consult your doctor before making and major changes to your diet.
  4. Consumption of alcohol is dangerous for those with neuropathy. It is just empty calories that do no good and can lower your vitamin B12 levels and increase the symptoms of neuropathy. When combined with the use of insulin, alcohol intake can cause hypoglycemia. If you must have a drink, limit your consumption and ensure that you snack while drinking.
  5. Avoid the consumption of refined or “white” grains like while pastas, bread and rice. The refining process removes the outer husks which are full of fiber and B vitamins which help to fight neuropathy. Ingestion of white grains leads to fluctuations in the blood sugar levels and increases the symptoms of neuropathy. Replacing the white grains with whole grains such as brown rice, breads and pastas will serve to combat the signs of neuropathy. However, many people have trouble digesting gluten, the protein that is found in wheat. This can lead to an increase in the symptoms when rye, wheat, barely oats etc. are eaten. If the consumption of grains causes you problems, ask your doctor about testing for gluten sensitivity.
  6. A lot has been written about the benefits of Omega fatty acids. Research shows that Omega-3 fatty acids like those found in fish (especially mackerel and salmon) can help to alleviate neuropathy pain. The same is true of vegetable oils that are high in Omega-6 acids such as sunflower, corn and safflower oils.
  7. Lipoic acid is an antioxidant that is helps to turn blood sugar into energy. Healthy people have large amounts of the fatty acid in their bodies, but in the case of those suffering from neuropathy, the levels are usually very low. Consult your doctor to see if you can benefit from taking a Lipoic acid supplement.
Dietary control will not completely remove the symptoms of neuropathy. But with sensible eating the pain and discomfort that the condition causes and impact it has on your lifestyle can be controlled. Common sense in planning your diet, the advice of your doctor and a reasonable amount of exercise can help to reduce the discomfort and pain and improve the quality of life.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Foot Care 101: The Basics Of Caring For Your Feet

The feet are among the most neglected parts of our body. Down at ground level, they do the donkey’s work of carrying us, and all the things we have on us, from place to place all day long, day after day. But neglecting the feet can lead to a host of problems that can impact not just the health and fitness of an individual, but also the overall lifestyle and quality of life. Imagine not being able to walk where and when you want to. Or finding that each step you take causes you pain? How would that affect your life? If you want to stay mobile and active in your later years, the care of your feet must begin as early as possible. Here are a few foot care basics that will help you on your way. There is nothing complicated or difficult to follow in these suggestions. They are simple and will leave you and your feet feeling good, now and in the future.
  • Check your feet regularly for calluses and patches of rough or hard skin. These are usually caused by ill-fitting shoes which rub and press against the feet unnaturally. Use a pumice stone or an abrasive foot scrubber to rub the affected areas and remove the dead skin. If the calluses are not controlled they will grow, become harder and become painful, leading to infection and pain.
  • Give your feet a special footbath frequently. Soak your feet in warm water to allow the muscles and nerves to relax. Add a layer of marbles to the bottom of the container and roll your feet over them, Not only will this be very relaxing, it will stimulate the nerves. A good exercise while doing the foot bath is to try and pick up marbles with your toes, flex and contract the feet and toes and then release the marbles and again stretch the arches and muscles of the feet.
  • A relaxing and invigorating foot massage does not entail spending a lot of money on a pedicure. The basics of the massage can be easily acquired on line and you and a friend or significant other can give each other a massage regularly. Add your favorite essential oil to the massage process and the relaxed feeling will remain for a long time.
  • Both the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet lack oil glands to lubricate and soften the skin. You know how rough your hands can get if not cared for. The same can happen to your feet.  Apply a thick layer of moisturizer at night before going to bed or before working out. Using natural fiber socks will allow the moisturizing to continue without making a mess of your sheets and shoes.
  • Remember that your feet change with time. The shape and size will change over the years as the effects of age and use show. In most cases, a person in the mid-40s will have feet a size larger than when he or she was in the 20s. When being measured for shoes, make sure the measuring is being done when you are standing with all your body weight on your feet.
  • Change your shoes regularly – they often wear out without being noticed and the amount of support they give your feet drops. When this happens, the chances of foot, leg and back problems increase. Check your shoes frequently and replace them at the first visible signs of wear or when they become uncomfortable.
Even if you have been neglecting your feet for years, it is never too late to begin a foot care regimen.