Choosing proper nutrition is the best front-line strategy for keeping your nerves healthy and managing neuropathy. While a well-balanced diet is a foundation for your health, there are several foods to avoid.
Sugar & Refined Grains cause a rapid spike in blood sugar. High blood sugar is one of the primary causes of nerve damage, so keeping blood sugar controlled is the best strategy for stopping further nerve damage.
Gluten can be an inflammatory food for many people with neuropathy. Be careful of pre-packaged gluten-free foods, as these can contain added sugars.
Artificial Sweeteners found in diet and 0 calorie sodas can trigger neuropathy symptoms by increasing the sensitivity of nerves. Another reason why water is so important in your diet due to the double whammy of sugar and artificial sweeteners on neuropathy.
Alcohol is a toxin for nerves and cause neuropathy. Alcohol can also cause nutritional deficiencies that can worsen neuropathy symptoms.
Saturated Fats from fatty red meats and dairy can increase inflammation that can damage nerves and worsen diabetes.
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Familial amyloid polyneuropathy comes with plenty of symptoms that patients and caregivers must be aware of. Symptoms such as autonomic neuropathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, cardiac symptoms, and peripheral neuropathy all greatly impact the daily lives of polyneuropathy patients. Nutrition plays an important role in the prevention and management of these symptoms, especially the nerve pain associated with peripheral neuropathy.
- What is peripheral neuropathy?
- How do the symptoms affect daily life?
- How diet may help alleviate the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy
- 4 Foods Neuropathy Sufferers Must Avoid
- Food #1 – Gluten
- Food #2 – Refined Grains
- Food #3 – Added Sugars
- Food #4 – Trans Fats
- 6 Food Do’s & Don’ts to Minimize Nerve Pain
- DO consider a vegan diet.
- DON’T consume Gluten.
- DON’T skip meals.
- DON’T use artificial sweeteners.
- DO control your blood sugar.
- DO drink plenty of water.
- Are you suffering from nerve pain?
- Neuropathy Study Finds Promise in Healthy Fats
- Foods That Aggravate Peripheral Neuropathy
- The Ideal Diet For Reducing Neuropathy Symptoms
- Importance of Good Nutrition for Preventing Neuropathy
- Foods to Include for Reducing Symptoms of Neuropathy
- Foods to Avoid
- 7 Diet Dos and Don’ts for Diabetic Neuropathy
What is peripheral neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is the loss of nerve function on the outside of the body, mainly the arms, legs, feet, and hands. Early symptoms include numbness and a tingling sensation. As neuropathy is a progressive disease, patients with these symptoms are at risk for losing feeling in their extremities.
How do the symptoms affect daily life?
My mother-in-law experienced many of the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. The nerve endings in her arms, feet, and legs were causing her great discomfort. These symptoms made venturing out into public extremely difficult for her. The sensation she was feeling in her legs made it difficult for her to walk long distances. She required an electric wheelchair for mobility.
When out running errands, we always chose a place that was not too crowded. One inadvertent brush against her foot by a passerby, and my mother-in-law would experience immense pain. Even exchanging hugs required significant care. We had to make sure that we were not touching an affected area too hard when making contact.
How diet may help alleviate the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy
According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin deficiencies and diabetes are two of the main causes of peripheral neuropathy. Caregivers may help their patients alleviate the symptoms by ensuring they are receiving proper nutrition. Following are some ways caregivers can help with nutrition.
Monitor the patient’s blood sugar
Caregivers may assist patients in avoiding diabetic peripheral neuropathy by monitoring their blood sugar levels. This can be achieved by limiting the intake of sweets, carbs, and starchy foods. Caregivers may substitute these foods with a portion-controlled diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, dairy, and lean meats, such as fish and poultry.
Increase the patient’s intake of vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 deficiency is a common cause of neuropathy. Caregivers must ensure that patients incorporate foods high in B12 into their diets. These foods include dairy, meat, fish, poultry, and eggs.
Regulate the amount of vitamin B6 the patient receives
Elevated levels of vitamin B6 may cause neuropathy. Doses over 200 mg of B6 may cause neuropathy, fatigue, and breathing issues, so caregivers must be sure to monitor how much their patients receive.
Avoid foods high in mercury and other toxins
Foods high in toxins such as mercury may cause nerve issues for neuropathy patients. By reducing the amount of mercury-laden seafood their patients eat, the caregiver can reduce the risk of peripheral neuropathy from mercury exposure.
Diet and nutrition play key parts in mitigating the external symptoms of polyneuropathy. By ensuring the patient is eating a balanced diet, caregivers can help reduce the nerve pain associated with peripheral neuropathy. For my mother-in-law, this involved reducing her sugar consumption. We are still in the process of monitoring her starch intake and trying to wean her off diet soft drinks. Still, we saw a significant, gradual improvement in her extremities as we made small changes to her diet.
Note: FAP News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of FAP News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to familial amyloid polyneuropathy.
4 Foods Neuropathy Sufferers Must Avoid
Peripheral Neuropathy is one of the most misunderstood conditions around, leading to pain, discomfort and disability for millions of Americans.
In fact according to the Neuropathy Association over 20 Million people in the United States suffers with peripheral neuropathy which breaks down to about 1 in 5.
Medical treatments have been primarily focused on symptom relief and have yet to find a viable solution that addresses the entire problem.
According to WebMD.com currently available treatments consist mostly of over the counter pain relievers like NSAIDS which can increase a person’s risk for a heart attack or a stroke, acetaminophen with its increased risk of liver damage and prescription drugs that simply alter brain chemistry and the user’s perception of the pain.
Because of this there is a significant push to find alternatives that help people lead normal lives by overcoming the crippling pain and dysfunction associated with neuropathy.
It’s no secret that all pain in the body is often associated with inflammation and with nerve pain inflammation can perpetuate the damage to the peripheral nerves and lead to further damage. And because of this reducing inflammation can be a key factor in finding relief.
And one of the best ways to keep systemic inflammation at bay is to avoid foods that result in an increased amount of inflammation in the body. In this article we’ll discuss 4 food categories that every neuropathy sufferer should avoid or at the very least keep to a minimum.
Here we go…
Food #1 – Gluten
Everyone has a different sensitivity to certain foods and not all foods will affect a neuropathy sufferer the same. But recent studies have shown that many people are either allergic to gluten or have a low tolerance for it which can cause low grade symptoms. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye and it can cause gastrointestinal upset and irritation in the lining of the gut.
This can lead to a condition known as celiac disease or it can simply cause low level inflammation. Gluten can also alter and affect your ability to absorb nutrients which can lead to deficiencies.
Common sources of Gluten include most bread, cereals, pasta, crackers, cookies, cakes, pastries and any food containing white, wheat, cake or baking flour. Alternatives may include almond flour, coconut flour, quinoa and amaranth.
Be careful of so called “Gluten Free” items as most will simply replace the gluten with another type of substance like corn starch or tapioca starch which can increase blood sugar causing more nerve damage.
Food #2 – Refined Grains
As we just discussed high blood sugar can damage your delicate nerves and blood vessels leading to increased nerve damage and neuropathy pain. Refined grains are high-glycemic carbs which means that they have a significant impact on your blood sugar levels. By controlling your blood sugar whether you are diabetic or not you can help reduce the progression of your neuropathy and avoid common issues like insulin resistance and pre-diabetes.
The first step in doing this is to replace refined grains and products containing them-like white and wheat bread, enriched pasta, white rice, snacks, pretzels, potato chips and crackers with whole grains. Some of the best choices are things like quinoa amaranth and buckwheat but oats and brown rice are better choices too.
Food #3 – Added Sugars
Added sugars, like corn syrup, honey and pure cane sugar certainly add to the flavor of most dishes but don’t provide additional nutrition to the foods they are added to. Just like refined grains and gluten containing foods they are high on the glycemic index. This again can lead to increased blood sugar and you guessed it more inflammation.
In addition, diets high in refined sugar are also commonly lacking key nutrients that can lead to an inability to heal properly from the nerve damage that has occurred. It’s much better to replace these foods with higher nutritionally sound foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains instead of the sugary snacks so many opt for. Foods that often have added sugars include soft drinks, candy, cereals, syrups, jams and jellies, cookies, cakes and pastries and most processed foods.
Food #4 – Trans Fats
Trans fatty acids or trans fats are formed when food manufacturers turn liquid oils into solid fats. Foods like shortenings and margarine are good examples. This process is called hydrogenation and is exactly what it sounds like; the manufacturer simply adds hydrogen to the molecule increasing its shelf life and flavor.
However, as the trans fats are increasing the shelf life of the foods you eat, they are decreasing your shelf life. Trans fats cause an increase in the bad LDL cholesterol and can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Compromised blood vessels are less able to pump oxygen rich blood to the peripheral tissues and that means that the nerves in the hands and feet have become compromised.
LDL cholesterol also leads to irritation and inflammation to the arterial lining which triggers systemic inflammation leading to accelerated damage to delicate structures like the nerves.
Simply reducing your intake of the above 4 foods can go a long way in reducing your overall pain and discomfort and by doing so you can increase your overall health as well.
Making these changes leads to an overall decrease in inflammation and irritation of damaged nerves and it can also help reduce the progression.
But what about the damage that has already been done?
As you make these changes to your diet supplementing with proven nutrients can improve and accelerate the healing process.
If you’re serious about reducing your pain you should consider taking a comprehensive high quality nerve supplement like Nerve Aid.
Products like Nerve Aid are filled with proven nutrients all designed to not only reduce pain, but they help by regenerating damaged nerves and improving overall nerve health and function.
Nerve Aid only contains nutrients that have been shown in peer reviewed clinical studies to be effective in reducing pain, preventing nerve damage and helping nerves regenerate and heal.
You can learn more about this incredible formula here.
Reducing nerve pain and improving your quality of life doesn’t have to come with unintended side effects, there are natural and effective ways to deal with peripheral neuropathy and combining the tips in this article with an effective supplement like Nerve Aid can have you feeling good once again.
6 Food Do’s & Don’ts to Minimize Nerve Pain
I’m sure we’re all guilty of it (I know I am). Taking that last piece of bread at dinner or splurging on a few extra cookies. It’s okay, we’re all human.
But, for those of us living with chronic, stabbing pain in our arms, hands, legs or feet, making smarter eating habits is the difference to reducing nerve pain.
So, before you head out to the market and pick up food for the week, consider the following Do’s and Don’ts to healthier eating.
DO consider a vegan diet.
I know the idea of cutting out cheese, meat and milk seems difficult or even strange, but don’t knock it until you try it! Eating a low-fat, vegan (plant-based) diet can improve your blood sugar. Always a positive for patients with nerve pain. If you’re struggling with the idea of a vegan diet, ask yourself one thing: Do I want to live pain-free? Yes!
DON’T consume Gluten.
It seems that just about everything we eat, there is gluten. What is gluten, you might ask? Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, barley and rye. It is like a glue that helps foods maintain their shape. The problem is, many people are allergic it and don’t even realize it.
For those of us allergic to gluten or living with nerve pain, removing gluten from our diets is highly recommended. This means we can’t eat foods containing wheat, white, cake or baking flour.
DON’T skip meals.
Studies have shown that whether a person eats three meals or day or six smaller meals a day, it all comes down to maintaining calorie intake. Our snacks throughout the day need to offer nutritional value, rather than satisfy our morning craving of a doughnut.
DON’T use artificial sweeteners.
Say it isn’t so! Sugars may be fun to eat, but they offer little-to-no nutrients. It is tempting to think that artificial sweeteners can be used guilt free, but it’s best to avoid extra sweeteners in our drinks. Instead, if your sweet tooth needs satisfying, try fruits and vegetables. An apple a day keeps the doctor away!
DO control your blood sugar.
To maintain a healthy blood sugar, replace foods such as white rice, white bread and white pastas with whole grains. Though whole grains are better for you, keep in mind if you have a gluten allergy stay far, far away.
DO drink plenty of water.
Noting beats high quality H20. We can never have too much of a good thing like water. It quenches our thirst and is the perfect drink to fuel our bodies.
You don’t have to live with the pain every day. Simple changes like the foods you eat or staying active, whether you’re walking the dog or stretching at your desk, these changes are key to less nerve pain. And that’s a great thing!
Remember to always consult your physician regarding your dietary and nutritional needs.
Are you suffering from nerve pain?
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Neuropathy, or neuritis, is experienced by approximately 20 million people in the United States, including 8 percent of those aged 56 and above. As with many diseases, what you eat can have a huge impact on the pain of neuropathy and the extent to which it develops. The best approach to nutrition is from two angles: foods you should avoid and foods you should include.
Foods to avoid for neuropathy recovery
- Gluten – Gluten may make the symptoms of neuritis worse if you have a gluten sensitivity or illness such as celiac disease. Anything that includes any type of standard flour made from wheat (white flour included) will contain gluten. To avoid this inflammatory substance, choose gluten-free options.
- Refined grains – There is another reason to be wary of the bread and grain group: refined grain of any sort is high on the glycemic scale and will, therefore, spike your glucose. Maintaining a healthy blood sugar count is critical to treating diabetic neuropathy and to general health. When you do eat grains, choose whole options, such as brown rice or whole-wheat bread.
- Sugars & additives – Nutrition typically does not come in the form of additives.
Eating too many of these empty calories can cause malnutrition and nerve pain. Set aside dessert items and processed foods for densely nutritive foods such as fresh produce and whole grains (despite the above concern with gluten).
Dairy products and high-fat meats should be strictly limited. The saturated fat that they contain leads to a higher risk of various chronic diseases, and it exacerbates inflammation. Instead of highly fatty protein foods (e.g., beef and pork), choose ones that are lower in fat (e.g., fish and poultry). If you think that means less protein, that is not the case: 100 grams of beef contains 20 grams of fat and 17 grams of protein, while the same amount of chicken contains just 8 grams of fat and 30 grams of protein.
Alleviate neuropathy with these foods
These foods, on the other hand, will help you experience symptoms less frequently and with mitigated intensity:
- B12 – As we age, we tend to have lower quantities of B12 in our systems. Deficiency in this nutrient can cause neuropathy. Supplementation could be helpful; you can determine your need by checking your levels through your physician. Foods that are strong in B12 include eggs, lean meat, fish, and poultry.
- Veganism – Despite those high-B12 meats, a diet consisting of plant-based foods can be powerful in reducing pain and other neuropathy symptoms. When two neuropathy groups in a nutrition study supplemented with B12, and one group used a vegan diet (no meat, eggs, or dairy), the plant-based participants showed better readings for A1C and cholesterol; better quality of life; and reduction in symptoms, including pain.
- Fruits & veggies – When you have neuropathy, it will help your body to get strong doses of antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. All these elements, which will help ward off illness, guard against infection, and otherwise boost your immunity, are available in fresh fruits and vegetables.
Focusing on your diet and supplying your body with better nutrition can have a major impact on neuropathy. However, you may need more than dietary changes to achieve the results you need.
At Atlanta Medical Clinic, our groundbreaking treatment protocol not only helps relieve the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy but also works to restore the function of damaged nerves. See our multidisciplinary approach.
Neuropathy Study Finds Promise in Healthy Fats
People who are diabetic, prediabetic or obese are at high risk of developing diabetic neuropathy, which is chronic nerve damage that often affects the feet and hands.
Researchers at Michigan Medicine may have identified a new way to reverse this common, painful and debilitating condition through simple changes in diet. Their study was published recently in The Journal of Neuroscience.
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The findings suggest that changing the types of fat a person eats could reverse the neuropathic damage.
“We were not anticipating such a dramatic effect of diet on nerve function, but our new studies certainly support the old adage that you are what you eat,” says Eva L. Feldman M.D., Ph.D., a professor of neurology and the director of Michigan Medicine’s Program for Neurology Research and Discovery.
Rich in fats
In 2016, Feldman and her team reported the presence of neuropathy is high in three groups: people with obesity alone, people with prediabetes and people with diabetes.
Diabetes affects 30 million Americans, and type 2 diabetes in particular is an epidemic in this country. An additional 84 million Americans have prediabetes. Even more alarming, about 100 million Americans are obese, which is more than 30 percent of the population. One common factor among these groups is a diet rich in fats, Feldman says.
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“Our research suggests that selecting foods high in unsaturated fats is a healthier option than food high in saturated fats,” she says. “While we have known this is true for heart health, we now believe this is also true for a healthy nervous system.”
In the U-M study, obese, prediabetic mice were fed a diet high in saturated fatty acids. Later, some animals were switched to a diet high in unsaturated fatty acids. While the calorie counts and weights of the animals remained the same, the animals with a diet of unsaturated fatty acids had a reversal of neuropathy and improved overall health.
The American Diabetes Association website features information about food choices. It further explains the negative effects of food containing unhealthy fats, such as red meats and dairy products with high cream content. Replacing those items with foods that contain unsaturated fats, such as fish, peanut butter, avocados, olives, almonds, plant-based oils and seeds, can be beneficial.
Diabetes Alert Day
“Our previous research also shows that early intervention is imperative to prevent neuropathy,” Feldman says. “That is why I am a strong proponent for Diabetes Alert Day.”
Diabetes Alert Day, developed by the American Diabetes Association, is March 26. The organization encourages people to take the type 2 diabetes risk test online to learn more about their personal health. Nearly 1 in 4 adults living with diabetes, or 7.2 million Americans, are unaware they have the disease.
SEE ALSO: What Primary Care Providers Should Know About Diabetic Neuropathy
“Over the last 10 years in my clinic, I’ve witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of patients with prediabetes and diabetes and very painful neuropathy,” Feldman says. “Our new research shows that addressing dietary fats is likely essential for an improved lifestyle, and improved lifestyle is our first line of treatment for neuropathy.”
Roughly 60% to 70% of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy (nerve damage); the risk for the condition increases the longer you’ve had diabetes. In fact, folks who have had diabetes for 25 years or more have the highest rate of neuropathy. Neuropathy is also more common in people who have difficulty controlling their blood sugar levels, are overweight, or who have high blood pressure or high levels of blood fat.
What causes neuropathy?
There are many factors that can lead to nerve damage, but in people with diabetes, it’s the constant exposure to high blood glucose levels that is likely the main culprit. Nerve fibers are very delicate. High glucose levels can interfere with nerve signal transmission, damage the nerves themselves, and also weaken the blood vessels that supply nerves with nutrients and oxygen.
Besides high blood glucose, other things like inflammation, genetics, injury, smoking, and alcohol use are thought to contribute to neuropathy.
What are symptoms of neuropathy?
The symptoms of neuropathy depend on what type it is. For example, symptoms of peripheral neuropathy — the most common type of neuropathy cause by diabetes, affecting the hands, feet, arms, or legs — include numbness, tingling, pain, weakness, and loss of sensation. Other types of neuropathy can cause symptoms such as dizziness or fainting upon standing, nausea, problems with urination, diarrhea or constipation, erectile dysfunction, and increased or decreased sweating. Always report any of these symptoms to your doctor.
How is neuropathy treated?
There’s no cure for neuropathy. Treatment includes lifestyle measures to slow the progression of nerve damage: blood glucose control, stopping smoking, increasing physical activity, and losing weight. In many cases, medicine may be needed to help manage symptoms such as pain or nausea.
How can nutrition help neuropathy?
Not surprisingly, good nutrition can go a long way in helping both to prevent and manage neuropathy.
Healthful eating. It should come as no surprise that following a healthful eating plan is a mainstay of preventing nerve damage in the first place. By controlling your portions and your carbohydrate intake, you’ll help better control your blood sugars, which, in turn, helps to limit or even prevent nerve damage. Make sure your eating plan includes a variety of foods. A dietitian can help you get on track with your eating if you’re not sure what to eat.
Vitamin B12. B12 deficiency is common among people who take metformin and among older adults. A lack of this vitamin may worsen peripheral neuropathy. Talk to your doctor about getting your B12 levels checked. If they’re low, you may need to take a supplement. In the meantime, include foods high in B12 in your diet, such as poultry, fish, lean meat, eggs, and fortified cereals.
Go vegan. If you have neuropathy and pain is a concern, you might consider trying a plant-based diet. In a recent study called DINE (Dietary Intervention for Chronic Diabetic Neuropathy Pain), people with Type 2 diabetes and neuropathy were assigned to either a low-fat, vegan (no animal products) diet with B12 supplements or B12 supplements alone (control group). The people following the vegan diet reported less pain and other neuropathy symptoms and improvements in A1C, cholesterol, and quality of life compared to the control group.
Go easy with alcohol. Alcohol may worsen neuropathy symptoms, such as numbness and pain. Drinking too much alcohol may also make it harder to control your blood sugar levels.
Ask about supplements. Certain dietary supplements may be helpful for easing symptoms of neuropathy. For example, alpha-lipoic acid, an antioxidant, has been used in Europe for years to treat peripheral neuropathy. Fish oil supplements may help improve blood flow and reduce inflammation. Curcumin (found in the spice turmeric) and evening primrose oil are other supplements that may help. Talk to your doctor about any supplement before you take it.
In addition to nutrition-related steps, explore other avenues for managing neuropathy, such as acupuncture, biofeedback, meditation, and relaxation techniques. While neuropathy may not go away, today there are newer and better ways for managing this complication.
Foods That Aggravate Peripheral Neuropathy
Is My Diet Making My Neuropathy Worse?
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition in which nerve damage triggers a burning, tingling or numb sensation in your hands and feet. The specific cause can be difficult to pinpoint, but contributing factors include vitamin deficiencies, traumatic injuries, diabetes, chemotherapy, alcoholism, infections, kidney disease, tumors and exposure to poisons.
Many common foods that people are eating daily (and in large quantities) can actually worsen the damage to peripheral nerves, as well as, the symptoms of neuropathy. Here are a few of the foods that will actually exacerbate your peripheral neuropathy.
If you have a gluten allergy, which is also known as celiac disease, consuming gluten can trigger and worsen your symptoms. Fifty percent of adults with celiac disease do not even know that they have this autoimmune disorder. Celiac disease, as we mentioned, is an allergy to gluten, however, many people without celiac disease have a sensitivity to gluten. As a matter of fact, 18 million people in the U.S., currently have Gluten sensitivity. Both gluten sensitivity and celiac disease can cause or increase tingling, numbness and other neuropathy symptoms.
What is Gluten? Gluten is a storage protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Common sources include most breads, cereals, pasta, crackers, cookies, cakes, pastries and all foods containing white, wheat, cake or baking flour. Suitable alternatives include rice, potatoes and oatmeal, corn and rice-based cereals and breads clearly labeled “gluten-free.”
Refined grains are high-glycemic, meaning they have a dramatic impact on your blood sugar. According to the Neuropathy Spiking blood sugar raises inflammation throughout the body. Chronic inflammation can both cause peripheral neuropathy or worsen the damage to the nerves, resulting in increased pain and diminished function.
According to the Diabetes Association, glycemic control is the No. 1 strategy for preventing the progression of neuropathy associated with diabetes, or pre-diabetes, which is one of the most common causes.
To improve the glycemic impact of your diet, replace refined grains and products — including white and wheat bread, enriched pasta, white and instant rice, low-fiber cereals and processed snack foods, such as pretzels, potato chips and crackers — with whole grains. Nutritious options include oats, barley, brown rice, quinoa and millet.
Added sugars, such as cane sugar, corn syrup, and high fructose corn syrup, add sweet flavor, but few nutrients, to foods. Similar to refined grains, they are high-glycemic and may interfere with blood sugar control. In addition, diets rich in added sugars are associated with poor nutrient intake.
To guard against nutrient deficiencies, which can lead to neuropathy symptoms, choose nutritious foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, instead of sugary snacks most often.
Common sources of added sugars include regular soft drinks, candy, milk chocolate, sugary cereals, pancake syrup, jellies, frozen desserts and commercially baked cakes, cookies, pastries and pies.
Fat is as essential to your diet as protein and carbohydrates. Fats are necessary to fuel the body with energy and to assist in processesing certain vitamins and manufacturing hormones. The problem comes in when we consume a diet that mainly consists of bad fats vs. good fats.
The worst type of dietary fat is Trans Fat. Trans fats are commonly listed on labels as hydrogenated oils or partially hydrogenated oils. Trans fats raise inflammation in the body, increase bad cholesterol (LDL), contribute to insulin resistance and harm small blood vessels necessary for delivering nutrients to your peripheral nerves.
Saturated fats (prevalent in fatty meats and dairy products) have often been given a bad rap, however there are more research studies – including one study from Harvard Health Publications -that show a diet with a moderate amount of saturated fat from fruits (Avocados, coconut oil) have extensive health benefits to the cardiovascular system. Further studies also show that a small to moderate consumption of animal saturated fat, also contains health benefits.. For enhanced wellness, eat moderate amounts of healthy fat sources, avocados, nuts, seeds and coconut oils and Ghee.
Dairy is one of the most inflammatory foods in our modern diet, second only to gluten. It causes inflammation in a large percentage of the population. People who already suffer from peripheral neuropathy have damage to their nerves. Introducing more inflammation can set the nerves on fire and ultimately increase the pain and symptoms from neuropathy. Inflammation caused by the consumption of dairy can also result in digestive issues such as bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea and worsen autistic behaviors.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.livestrong.com
HOW DOES FOOD IMPACT NEUROPATHY
The food we eat gives our bodies the “information” and materials it needs to function properly. If we don’t get the right information (nutrients), our metabolic processes suffer and our health declines. In short, what we eat is central to our health.
“Nutrients are the nourishing substances in food that are essential for the growth, development, repair and maintenance of body functions. If your diet is nutrient deficient, your health will decline. How do we become nutrient deficient? Simply by eating a diet of fast foods, junk foods, or processed foods with very little whole foods. Also by consuming regular beverages like soda, coffee, energy drinks, sugary drinks and alcohol which deplete essential vitamins and minerals (Vitamin B1, B6, B12, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, etc.)
In other words, nutrients give our bodies instructions about how to function and then provide our body with the tools to carry out the appropriate functions to maintain health. So, it is vitally important to remember, ” Food acts as medicine, to maintain, prevent, and treat disease.”
For more information, visit: http://www.nervedoctor.info/inflammantion-food/
Neuropathy, or damage to the nerves, is a debilitating disorder, and diabetes is by far the most common cause. Up to 50 percent of people with diabetes will eventually develop neuropathy during the course of their disease. It can be “very painful, and the pain is frequently resistant to conventional treatments.” In fact, currently, there is no effective treatment for diabetic neuropathy. Clinicians rely on steroids, opiates, and antidepressants to try to mediate the suffering.
But, as I discuss in my video Curing Painful Diabetic Neuropathy, a remarkable study was published 20 years ago on the regression of diabetic neuropathy with a plant-based diet. There are two types of diabetic neuropathy: a “relatively painless type characterized by numbness, tingling and pins-and-needles sensations” and a second form, which “is painful with burning or aching sensations to the point of excruciating, lancinating pain.” This study concentrated on the painful type of diabetic neuropathy.
Twenty-one diabetics suffering with moderate or worse symptomatic painful neuropathy for up to ten years were placed on a whole food, plant-based diet along with a half-hour walk every day. Years and years of suffering and then complete relief of the pain in 17 out of the 21 patients within days.
Numbness noticeably improved, too, and the side effects were all good. They lost ten pounds, blood sugars got better, and insulin needs dropped in half. And, in five of the patients, not only was their painful neuropathy apparently cured, so was their diabetes. Their blood sugars were normal, and they were off all medications. Their triglycerides and cholesterol also improved, as did high blood pressure. In fact, it was gone in about half the hypertensives—an 80 percent drop overall in need for high blood pressure medications within three weeks.
Now, this was a live-in program, where patients’ meals were provided. What happened after they were sent home? The 17 folks were followed for years, and the relief from the painful neuropathy continued or improved even further for all except one person. How did they get that kind of compliance? According to the researchers, “Pain and ill health are strong motivating factors.”
Diabetic neuropathy is one of the most painful and frustrating conditions to treat in all of medicine, and 75 percent of patients were cured within days with a natural, nontoxic, and, in fact, beneficial treatment: a diet composed of whole, plant foods.
How could nerve damage be reversed so suddenly? It wasn’t necessarily the improvement in blood sugar control, since it took about ten days for the diet to control the diabetes, whereas the pain was gone in as few as four days. “There are several mechanisms by which the …works to alleviate the problem of diabetic neuropathy as well as the diabetic condition itself.” The researchers’ most interesting speculation was that it could be the trans fats naturally found in meat, dairy, and refined vegetable oils that could be causing an inflammatory response. They found a significant percentage of the fat found under the skin of those who ate meat or dairy consisted of trans fats, whereas those on a strictly whole food, plant-based diet had none.
The researchers stuck needles in the buttocks of people eating different diets and found that nine months or more on a strict plant-based diet appeared to remove the trans fat from their bodies (or at least their butts). Their pain, however, didn’t take nine months to get better—it got better in days.
More likely, it was due to an improvement in blood flow. “erve biopsies in diabetics with severe progressive neuropathy…have shown small vessel disease within the nerve.” There are blood vessels within our nerves that can get clogged up too. The oxygen levels in the nerves of diabetics were found to be lower than even the levels of de-oxygenated blood. This lack of oxygen within the nerves may arise from blockages within the blood vessels depriving the nerves of oxygen, presumably leading them to cry out in pain.
Within days, though, improvements in blood “rheology,” or the ease of blood flow, on a plant-based diet may play a prominent role in the reversal of diabetic neuropathy. Plant-based diets may also lower the level of IGF-1 inside the eyeballs of diabetics and decrease the risk of retinopathy (diabetic vision loss) as well. But, “the most efficient way to avoid diabetic complications is to eliminate the diabetes, and this is often feasible for those type 2 patients who make an abiding commitment to daily exercise and low-fat, whole-food vegan diet.”
Why didn’t we learn about this in medical school? The “neglect of this important work by the broader medical community is little short of unconscionable.”
What about reversing diabetic vision loss? See my video Can Diabetic Retinopathy Be Reversed?.
Did you think trans fats were only in partially hydrogenated junk food? See Trans Fat in Meat and Dairy. Ideally, we’d reduce our intake as low as possible, which I discuss in Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol: Tolerable Upper Intake of Zero.
The best way to prevent diabetic complications is to prevent the diabetes in the first place:
- What Causes Insulin Resistance?
- The Spillover Effect Links Obesity to Diabetes
- Lipotoxicity: How Saturated Fat Raises Blood Sugar
- Diabetes as a Disease of Fat Toxicity
- What Causes Diabetes?
- Plant-Based Diets and Diabetes
- Plant-Based Diets for Diabetes
- How Not to Die from Diabetes
And then to reverse it:
- Reversing Diabetes with Surgery
- Reversing Diabetes with Food
- Diabetes Reversal: Is It the Calories or the Food?
Michael Greger, M.D.
PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:
- 2012: Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death
- 2013: More Than an Apple a Day
- 2014: From Table to Able: Combating Disabling Diseases with Food
- 2015: Food as Medicine: Preventing and Treating the Most Dreaded Diseases with Diet
- 2016: How Not To Die: The Role of Diet in Preventing, Arresting, and Reversing Our Top 15 Killers
The Ideal Diet For Reducing Neuropathy Symptoms
If you suffer from neuropathy, then you will probably have considered many different remedies and medicine.
However, it is also likely that you haven’t yet considered the importance of a good diet to help you manage your symptoms and perhaps even reverse some of the damage.
There is, however, more and more research to demonstrate that there is a direct link between the foods we eat and our nervous system, both positive and negative.
Importance of Good Nutrition for Preventing Neuropathy
In fact, the first line of defense when it comes to preventative medicine is good nutrition, and the same is true for peripheral neuropathy.
Once you have developed it, diet continues to be important in terms of managing and reducing your symptoms, and even healing your nerves.
Neuropathy is often caused by other conditions, most notably diabetes, so it is very important that you control your blood sugar level in order to avoid neuropathy. Similarly, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to certain vitamin B deficiencies, again leading to neuropathy.
Regardless of whether you have neuropathy, cancer, diabetes, an addiction disorder, or any other problem, it is important that you should eat a diet rich in lean protein, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
Keep A Food Diary
You may also want to consider keeping a food diary, particularly if you have neuropathy, as this will help you to identify which foods make you feel better, or worse.
Neuropathy can be improved or worsened depending on what you eat. There are foods that can cause further damage to the nerves, weakening them even more. It is important, therefore, to know not just what to eat, but also what to avoid in order to stop your tingling, numbness, and/or nerve pain from getting worse.
At the same time, you can consume foods that make your nerves stronger, thereby improving your existing condition and avoiding it from getting any worse.
In fact, there are even foods that can help to repair any nerves that have been damaged, which means you could get full relief of your symptoms. So what are the foods you really should include, and what should you avoid?
Foods to Include for Reducing Symptoms of Neuropathy
This is surprising to many people but ginger is a strong, natural, pain reliever. This means that it can help you feel a lot better. Added to that, it contains gingerols, which have anti-inflammatory properties, thereby increasing mobility in people with serious and chronic pain and helping them to become more mobile.
Water has to be a standard component of any healthy diet. It isn’t a miraculous healer in terms of neuropathy, but what it can do is provide relief from inflammation. This means that the pain you experience as part of neuropathy does not get any worse.
When you start to get dehydrated, your blood starts to thicken and your muscles go into spasm. As a result, inflammation occurs and affects areas where pain receptors and nerves are located. If you ensure that you are always hydrated, your overall bodily functions are better able to function as well, thereby increasing your overall well being.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are filled with various minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and dietary fibers. Put together, these help to create a strong immune system while at the same time preventing and fighting disease and illness.
People who have neuropathy should increase their intake of fruits and vegetables immediately. Many people who have neuropathy also have diabetes, and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables means that you will also be better able to control the symptoms of diabetes.
You should try to eat at least five portions of different fruits and vegetables every day in order to see some real results. Try to choose those that have very high levels of antioxidants, including berries, cherries, grapefruit, oranges, Brussels sprouts, onions, and bell peppers.
Another great benefit of fruits and vegetables is that you can purchase them ready to eat. As a result, you don’t have to do a lot of work in the kitchen, which means you will feel much less stressed as well.
Lean protein is necessary for your body to be able to build and repair new tissue. It is important to stick to lean protein, however, so that you don’t eat too many animal fats. Good sources include low fat dairy and poultry, and people with peripheral or diabetic neuropathy should consider increasing their level of consumption.
Avoid eating processed foods, as well as foods with high trans and saturated fats, including deep fried foods, cheese, butter, whole milk, and fatty meat. Not only can these make your neuropathy worse, they can also lead to heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
You should try to add things like fish, tofu, yogurt, low fat milk, legumes, and skinless poultry to your diet, for balanced nutrition, for the best results. Lean protein is not just important to combat neuropathy, it is also has a positive influence on your blood sugar level.
Foods to Avoid
Peripheral and diabetic neuropathy can be caused or worsened by vitamin deficiencies, diabetes, traumatic injuries, alcoholism, and more. To treat it, you will often have to find a way to manage that underlying cause, which includes medication and therapy, but you should also take a close look to your diet as there are foods that can make it worse. These include:
Avoid gluten, particularly, if you have celiac disease. If you are allergic to gluten, consuming it can trigger neuropathy or make symptoms much worse. Gluten can be found in any product made with baking, cake, wheat, or white flower. Hence, switch to gluten free if necessary.
These have a high glycemic level. This means that they significantly impact your blood sugar. You must be able to control your insulin and glucose levels if you are to control diabetic neuropathy in particular. In order to have a better glycemic impact on your diet, you should consume whole grains instead of refined grains
This adds a lot of flavor to foods, but little to no nutrients. When you have a nutritional deficiency, it is much easier to experience neuropathy. You should eat lots of whole grains and vegetables and for that occasional sweet treat, fresh fruits.
These are found mainly in whole fat dairy products and fatty meats. They can lead to inflammation, as well as increasing your chance of having type 2 diabetes.
Due to a number of factors, including the amount of toxins in our environment and the poor mineral quality of our soil, the foods we eat are becoming less nutrient dense than in previous generations.
Therefore, it is vital to not only eat organic fruits and vegetables like those listed above, but to also take supplements with your diet to get the proper vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that support optimal nerve health.
You may, for even better effects, also want to consider supplementing your diet with a product like Nerve Renew which is designed for supporting healthy nerves and reducing pain.
7 Diet Dos and Don’ts for Diabetic Neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage caused by diabetes. You might feel tingling, pain, and numbness in your hands and feet. Diabetic neuropathy can also affect nerves all over your body, including those important for digestion. Up to 70% of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy. Diet is one way you can help prevent and control diabetic neuropathy.
7 Diet Dos and Don’ts for Diabetic Neuropathy https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580×388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2Fbf%2Fca%2Ff24b83174ef497c48daaefe3641d%2F9-diet-dos-and-donts-for-diabetic-neuropathy-1.jpg
Keeping your blood sugar level, as close as possible to normal, is the best way to prevent diabetic neuropathy. Do this with a diet plan for diabetes control: Limit sugar and fat, have more frequent and smaller meals, count your carbohydrates, and eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
1. Do Eat a Healthful Diet https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580×388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F65%2F68%2F69472bad47a9b925e63b561400e1%2F9-diet-dos-and-donts-for-diabetic-neuropathy-2.jpg
Normally, if your sugar gets too low (hypoglycemia), you’ll have symptoms, like sweating and shakiness. If you have diabetic neuropathy, you may not get these warning signs, because the neuropathy can affect the nerves that control digestion. The best way to prevent hypoglycemia is to enjoy smaller meals more frequently and not skip meals. Also, check your blood sugar more often. If you are having trouble with low blood sugar, get help from your health care team.
2. Don’t Skip Meals https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580×388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F82%2F64%2Ff174dcb349219025d57d89a01b58%2Fresizes%2F1500%2Fimage-getty-505283169.jpg
Vitamin B 12 deficiency can lead to, or worsen, peripheral neuropathy. This is the kind of neuropathy that causes numbness, pain, and tingling in your hands and feet. You can get B 12 in your diet from red meat, dairy, fish, eggs and poultry, but many people need supplements. Ask your doctor if you should have your B 12 level checked.
3. Do Ask Your Doctor About Vitamin B12 https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580×388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2Fce%2Fa0%2F4b436d5843e7be42ad841cd28b5f%2F9-diet-dos-and-donts-for-diabetic-neuropathy-4.jpg
Alcohol is toxic to nerves and can make neuropathy symptoms worse. Drinking too much can also lower your vitamin B12 level. Alcohol is bad for your blood sugar control because it’s all empty calories. On an empty stomach, alcohol can cause hypoglycemia, especially if you are taking insulin. If you drink, do so only in moderation, and always eat a snack while you’re drinking.
4. Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/crop/585×391%2B0%2B0/resize/580×388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F1a%2F3a%2Fb955c20d446592640a066d10f20d%2F9-diet-dos-and-donts-for-diabetic-neuropathy-5.jpg
Lipoic acid is a fatty acid and an antioxidant. It is important for turning blood sugar into energy. Most healthy people have plenty of this fatty acid in the cells of their body, but levels may be low in people with diabetes. Low levels of lipoic acid may contribute to diabetic neuropathy. You can add lipoic acid to your diet by taking a supplement. Healthcare providers use lipoic acid to treat peripheral neuropathy and a type of diabetic neuropathy that affects the heart.
5. Do Ask Your Doctor About Lipoic Acid https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580×388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F55%2F06%2F0e48a3444e12b2cc7b883bf0a975%2Fresizes%2F1500%2Fimage-gettyimages-503706374.jpg
Refined grains are in “white” products, like white rice, white bread, and white pasta. Refining whole grains removes their outer shell and, along with it, important B vitamins and fiber, essentials for your diet. Refined grains make it harder for you to regulate your blood sugar, which is bad for diabetic neuropathy. Try to replace refined grains with whole grains, including brown rice and whole wheat breads and pasta.
6. Don’t Eat Refined Grains https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580×388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F48%2Ff3%2F18031e634501a9d2af3c5d6760fa%2F9-diet-dos-and-donts-for-diabetic-neuropathy-7.jpg
Whole grains are generally good to eat. However, if you have trouble digesting gluten, the protein in wheat, neuropathy symptoms can get worse. Gluten sensitivity can cause peripheral neuropathy symptoms when you eat foods that contain wheat, rye, barley and, for some, oats. Most people with celiac disease don’t know they have it because they’ve never been tested. Ask your doctor about testing if you have symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.
7. Do Ask Your Doctor About Gluten https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580×388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F4f%2F0b%2Fe61e4ce0489c8b0c2fed3d236c22%2Fresizes%2F1500%2Fimage-getty-181068280.jpg