You Are What You Eat: How Your Diet Affects Hard Skin


We all know that eating the right (or wrong things) can have an impact on your health. But what many people may not realise is that your diet can have an impact on your feet. It is not so silly when you think about it. Your feet are connected to the rest of your body, and what you eat acts as nutrients for all your body. In this article, Scholl looks at how eating the right diet can help to keep away hard skin on your feet, and lead to better foot care in general.

Vitamin A

Including enough vitamin A is very important for the health of your skin. It contributes to cell growth and the repair of skin cells. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to dry, hard skin.

How can I get more vitamin A?

  • Vitamin A can be found in foods such as carrots, egg yolks, peas, kale, spinach, pumpkins, and oranges. Liver is also a good source of Vitamin A, and it is often added to fortified juices and cereals, as well as multivitamins.

Calcium and vitamin D

A large part of your feet is bone. Having enough Calcium and Vitamin D in your diet is essential to keeping your bones healthy. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb the calcium. If you do not get enough calcium and vitamin D, you have an increased chance of having thin and brittle bones (osteoporosis) in later life. Osteoporosis can cause serious injuries, so this is why it is important to keep your bones strong as you get older. Another possible issue if you do not get enough calcium is that your muscles in your foot can cramp, hurt or feel weak.

As well as being good for your bones, calcium and vitamin D can also help you to keep your skin healthy. Calcium in the epidermis (the outer of the two layers that make up the skin), helps the body to determine how quickly it generates new skin cells to replace and how fast it sheds old skin cells. Fragile, thin, dry and hard skin may appear on your feet if there is not enough calcium stored in the epidermis. The skin may appear like this because of the lack of calcium in the body to spur new growth or to let go of dead skin cells.

How can I get more calcium and vitamin D?

  • Calcium can be found in foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Yogurt often has a high volume of both calcium and vitamin D. Calcium can also be found in vegetables like broccoli and kale, by eating canned sardines and canned salmon, and in foods which have added calcium such as cereals, juices, soy drinks and tofu. Checking the label will show you how much calcium was added.
  • Vitamin D is contained in fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines. It is also in foods including egg yolks and beef liver (although in smaller amounts).

Omega 3 fats

A major problem linked to nutrition that can affect your feet is inflammation. This can cause plantar fasciitis, (commonly known as jogger’s heel) in your foot. This can be a very painful condition if left untreated. Many foods can contribute to inflammation, such as the saturated fat found in red meat and the omega-6 fats found in commonly used vegetable oils, such as corn, soybean, and sunflower oils.

How can I get more Omega-3s?

  • Fish, in particular salmon, are excellent sources of omega-3 fats. Although most people’s diets consist of far more omega-6s than omega-3s, a diet rich in fish can help to address this imbalance. It is recommended to eat fish high in omega-3 fats two to three times a week.
  • Plants can also contain omega-3, and sources include walnuts, hemp seeds, pecans, and hazelnuts.
  • Omega-3 fats can help to reduce inflammation.  Consuming omega-3s can also reduce the risk of peripheral artery disease and diabetes. These conditions can be harmful because arteries that bring blood to your lower extremities can be damaged, hence limiting blood circulation to the foot.

Another problem that can adversely affect your feet is obesity. To put it simply, the more you weigh, the more force your feet have to bear. Maintaining a diet low in fat and exercising regularly can help you to keep a healthy weight and reduce the risk of developing these problems.