Dry, cracked heels are very common, usually caused by dry skin. The skin that surrounds the sides of your feet becomes dry, they crack and as a result, you have cracked heels.
Common symptoms of cracked heels are hardened skin on the outer edge of the heel, yellow or dark skin on the heel, pain in thin-soled or open-back shoes, red or flaky patches on the heel of the foot, and peeling and cracked skin.
Interestingly, cracked heels can indicate a nutritional deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and other vitamins and minerals.
It is important for people to have a diet rich in calcium, iron, zinc and omega-3 fats. Fatty acids are not naturally produced by our bodies, so we must get them through food or supplements.
Here is list of foods that can help avoid deficiencies that may cause cracked heels:
Foods rich in vitamin E include: vegetable oils, green vegetables, cereals, wheat germ, whole-grain products and nuts.
For calcium: milk, cheese, yogurt, goat's milk, fortified soy milk, mineral water, ice cream, tinned fish, juices, cereals and broccoli.
Iron-rich foods: meat, chicken and fish.
Zinc-rich foods include: oysters, chicken, crab, kidney beans, yogurt, brown rice, spaghetti.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold-water fish, flaxseed oil and flax seeds.
In most cases, cracked heels occur because of wear and tear, or neglect in taking care of our feet. Cracked feet can be easily healed through proper care and nutrition.
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