I'm short on time and use a lot of packaged mixes in cooking. Is there any way to make these more healthful?
To add flavor to my meals, what are some alternatives to salt?
Adding herbs, spices, and other low-calorie but flavorful ingredients such as garlic and citrus zests and juices makes nutritious dishes more appealing to eat.
Cured foods such as bacon and ham, foods packed in salty brine such as pickles, olives, and sauerkraut, and condiments such as mustard, ketchup, and barbecue sauce can be significant sources of sodium and should be eaten in small amounts only. Low-salt or low-sodium versions of canned vegetables, soy sauce, broth, and seasoning mixes substitute nicely for the full-salt versions, but read the labels: Some of these are still fairly high in sodium.
Tasting foods before salting them and removing the saltshaker from the table are two great ways to reduce the sodium content of your diet.
To improve the health benefits of a favorite recipe, look over the list of ingredients, consider the role each plays in the recipe, and modify only one at a time. This gives you an opportunity to judge the success of your single change.
Shoes should not need to be "broken in" — if it is suggested that a pair of shoes needs to be broken in, stretched, or otherwise modified, do not purchase those shoes, because they are the wrong ones for your feet.
If you have narrow feet, choose shoes with wide-set eyelets to allow you to pull the laces tighter, if necessary. If you have wide feet, shoes with closely set rows of eyelets may work better.
Many people have one foot that’s larger than the other, so have both feet measured. Also be sure to stand naturally with your weight divided evenly between both feet.
Any custom insert you buy should have at least three layers — a soft layer of foam on top and two stiffer layers on the bottom to provide some resilience.
Yes. It is a good idea to avoid high heels, as they put increased pressure on the ball of the foot, place the back of the foot in an unstable position, and increase the movement of foot tissues in opposite directions, a primary cause of calluses, blisters, and ulcers. (Heels should be less than one inch in height.) It is also a good idea to avoid slip-on loafers, which provide inadequate foot support, and sandals with straps between the toes, which can cause irritation.
Always wear socks with shoes to prevent blisters. Wear socks that fit well (tight socks impair circulation) and are seamless (to prevent blisters). Socks should be made of breathable material such as cotton or wool, ideally blended with a material that draws moisture away from the skin, such as acrylic.
People with lack of sensation in the feet, other changes in the feet caused by diabetes, or a history of foot ulcers may be candidates for orthotics, or specially designed insoles that are worn inside the shoes. If orthotics don’t do the trick, it may be necessary to get custom-made shoes. To qualify for depth-inlay shoes, custom-molded shoes, or shoe inserts under Medicare Part B, your physician must certify that you have diabetes and are being treated, that you need the insert or shoe because you have diabetes, and that you have a condition such as an amputation, foot ulcers, calluses, poor circulation, or foot deformity.
You should have your feet measured every time you buy shoes because feet change in size and shape over time. Also, it’s better to be fitted for shoes in the afternoon or evening rather than first thing in the morning — walking around all day causes your feet to spread, so getting fitted when your feet are at their largest can help you to ensure a comfortable fit.
Many foot ulcers start with rubbing from ill-fitting shoes, so it’s important that your shoes fit well and don’t cause any abnormal pressure on your feet.
Yes — if you smoke, your risk for foot problems increases. Lowering your risk, obviously, involves quitting. Several options are available to assist with smoking cessation such as individual or group counseling and use of nicotine products or certain prescription medicines.
Your doctor should examine your feet at least once a year to check for the presence of foot problems and to assess your risk of developing problems in the future. If you have neuropathy or peripheral arterial disease, your feet should be carefully inspected at every office visit. To make sure your doctor checks your feet at each checkup, take off your shoes and socks before your doctor comes into the room.
People with diabetes can safely use over-the-counter athlete’s foot creams, and all athlete’s foot creams are equally effective. To use an athlete’s foot cream, wash your feet and dry well between your toes and on the bottoms of your feet. Rub the medicated cream in twice a day. If you see no improvement in five days, call your podiatrist. It might not be an athlete’s foot fungus after all.
Capsaicin cream or ointment can sometimes reduce pain associated with diabetic neuropathy if used regularly over the course of several weeks. It can also relieve arthritis pain in some cases.
Because foot soaks can dry your skin, you should not soak your feet every night. You also should not use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide as antiseptics on your feet, since these will dry your skin as well.
If you have an ingrown toenail, see your podiatrist for treatment. Don’t use over-the-counter ingrown toenail remover products from the drugstore. If you see your toenail looking red or swollen, or you see drainage, blood, or pus on your toe, consult your podiatrist immediately. This is an emergency.
If you want a pedicure, buy your own inexpensive nail instrument set and bring it with you to your pedicurist. Make sure the technician knows never to cut your skin. For infection control, make sure the facility washes the basins that your feet may be placed in.
Toenail trimming every two or three months is usually recommended. People who are physically active may need to trim their toenails more frequently.
It may be a good idea to have your toenails cut regularly by a podiatrist if you cannot see or reach your toenails easily, if your nails are hard to cut because they’re thick or you have a fungal nail infection, if the sides of your toenails curve into your skin, if you frequently have trouble clipping your toenails, or if you have reduced sensation or circulation in your feet.
Clipping your nails too short, or "digging" into the sides of your nails when clipping or using an emery board can break the skin, opening the door to fungal or bacterial infections.
Gently smooth your toenails with an emery board after clipping to keep them from snagging on clothing, bed linens, and other materials.
Cut toenails straight across or following the natural curve of the toe, and not too short; this will help to prevent ingrown toenails. Cutting toenails just after a shower or bath can make the job easier.
To treat a minor wound, first wash your hands with soap and water, then cleanse the wound with soap and water. Rinse thoroughly, pat dry, and apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment with a cotton swab and an adhesive bandage. If you see no appreciable improvement in a treated wound within 24 hours, consult your doctor or podiatrist immediately.
If you have troublesome calluses or corns on your feet, see your podiatrist for advice and treatment. Never use an acid product on any part of your feet, and avoid even acid-free callus and corn home treatments. Also steer clear of pumice stones and files, which are not sterile and can cause breaks in the skin if you rub too vigorously or remove too much skin. Never take a sharp blade to your feet.
Apply a moisturizing lotion to your feet once or twice a day to help keep your skin healthy and moist. Choose thick lotions over thin, “watery” lotions, and don’t put lotion between your toes, since the skin between toes tends to stay moist naturally. (Adding lotion there would overmoisturize that area and cause problems.)
If it’s hard to see your feet, run your fingers over them to feel for calluses or sore spots. The backs of your hands are sensitive to heat and can be run over your feet to find hot spots, which can indicate infection.
Never walk with bare feet or with just socks on, especially if your feet are numb, to reduce the risk of foot injury. Also, don’t soak your feet unless you’re instructed to do so; this can dry out the skin and increase the risk of injury and infection. Do not use commercial products to remove corns and calluses, strong antiseptics, or heating pads on your feet. All can cause irritation that increases the risk of foot complications.
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