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Olwen Anderson's Blog

Cracked Heels? Put the Sander Away and Reach For The Fish Oils

Saturday, January 31, 2009
One of the diagnostic tests I perform on new clients is to ask them to take off their shoes and show me their heels. (In fact, I suggest you do the same thing so we can check your heels too!)

Some of the heels I see are truly shocking - cracked, red, looking really uncomfortable. I sometimes think my clients are very aware of how their heels look; because they immediately launch into an explanation: "I wear sandals"; "I like to walk barefoot" and so on. Some people immediately move to reassure me: "Its OK Olwen, I pull out the power tools and sand my heels down once a month!"

So why am I checking out your heels during your consultation? Well, because its a great indicator of your essential fatty acid status. We should all be eating a diet high in omega-3 oils from seafood, seeds and nuts; and relatively few omega-6 oils from saturated and other animal fats. Our western diet can be all too skewed in the wrong direction; heavy on omega-6 oils with omega-3 oils sometimes non-existent. The resulting imbalance affects your skin, making it drier and less flexible. For some reason, the heels of your feet are where its most evident.

If your essential fatty acid (omega 3) status is perfect, your heels are as soft as the palms of your hands, just a little thicker. 

Now I know that you've looked at your own heels, and decided whether you need more omega-3 oils and less omega-6 oils. How do you make the change?

- Eat seafood almost every day. A variety of seafood is best, from all levels of the ocean food chain. Wild salmon and wild tuna, along with other oily fish like mackerel and herring are exceptionally high in omega-3 oils; but enjoy white fleshed fish as well.

- By choosing to eat more seafood you are automatically eating less animal meats, which means a better essential fatty acid status for you.

- Walnuts and flaxseed (linseed) are also high in omega-3 oils. A handful of mixed seeds and nuts is a great addition to your diet as a snack.

- You can take omega-3 oil supplements if you prefer.

It takes several months for heels to improve even after you've changed your diet, so be patient. Take a photo of your heels now as a record, so you can look back in six months and see how much you've improved. And start using the electric sander for what its designed for - sanding wood instead!

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