When you gather for a special meal this Thanksgiving, you may not be thinking much about your feet. (More likely your mind will be on all the football games you’ll be enjoying!) This year, we encourage you to take a moment to appreciate all your feet do for you: they get you where you need to go, show off your fashion sense, help you play sports, provide fun with your baby (you know—“this little piggy…”). Here’s another thing to be thankful for: a wide array of foods to keep your feet healthy and strong.

Two main food groups that help build strong bones are dairy and leafy greens. A glass of milk or serving of broccoli or kale helps provide the calcium your bones need to repair damage and grow new tissue. Fortified milk also adds the vitamin D needed for your body to absorb the calcium.

For tendon and ligament health, you need both vitamins C and E and the mineral zinc. C can be found in melons, oranges and other citrus fruits, and veggies such as tomatoes, spinach, broccoli and peppers. For zinc, eat modest amounts of shellfish, meat, chicken, oatmeal, dried beans and nuts.

To keep the joints healthy and head off inflammation, try deeply colored foods like cherries, blueberries, red peppers, and kale, as well as oatmeal and nuts.

So include a spinach salad or steamed broccoli in your Thanksgiving meal, and set out pepper strips and grape tomatoes with a yogurt dip, or low-fat cheese chunks and fruit for snacks during the game, and treat your feet to food that is good for them. Then you don’t have to fret about having a small slice of pumpkin pie for tradition’s sake. Take a moment, too, to think about how you might help others in your community who don’t have access to healthy food.

Remember, if you sprain your ankle playing football in the back yard during halftime, Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists are here for you. Treating sports injuries is one of the many things we do well. Call our office in Ladera Ranch, CA by dialing (949) 364-9255 (WALK), or contact us through our website to schedule your visit. You can connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ as well for more foot care info and tips.