Foods To Help Reduce Neuropathy Pain
Neuropathy is a condition that occurs when nerves in the body are damaged, resulting in pain, numbness, and tingling. As we talk about in “My Feet Are Burning! Understanding Peripheral Neuropathy” – the pain is often the result of a breakdown in communication between the brain and the nerves. In this article, we look at the foods to reduce neuropathy pain, specifically anti-inflammatory foods and why that can have a positive effect.
Important to note that this website is not written by doctors, and your own treatment needs to be considered and reviewed with health professionals you trust. Our goal is to provide you with some pain relief advice worth considering.
Best Foods to Reduce Neuropathy Pain
Looking at diet specifically, there are certain foods that may help reduce neuropathic pain by reducing inflammation, providing essential nutrients and improving your overall health. Some examples of these foods include:
- Fruits and vegetables: this a no brainer! What in life isn’t improved by eating more leafy greens, blueberries, and citrusy fruits? These items are high in antioxidants which can help protect the nerves and reduce inflammation.
- Whole grains: Whole grains like oats (Coach’s Oats are one of my favorite foods, especially served as overnight oats mixed with peanut butter, cacao nibs, and OWYN vegan Protein Powder) are rich in B vitamins, which are essential for healthy nerve function. Other whole grains include quinoa and brown rice, but I wouldn’t suggest mixing brown rice with cacao…
- Lean protein: Foods like chicken, fish, and tofu are high in lean protein and can help support nerve health. If you don’t eat meat (or tofu), you can look to legumes like lentils, peas and beans which are also rich in lean protein and are great for mixing in with soups and salads. My wife and I just made the best split pea soup!
- Healthy fats: These are my favorite foods to snack on. Foods like nuts, seeds, and avocado are high in healthy fats (and taste great!). These healthy fats can also help reduce inflammation and support nerve function.
- Herbs and spices: Probably the most famous herb for reducing inflammation is turmeric. While I don’t love mixing turmeric in with many foods, I do love Indian food which is naturally rich in the spice. Other great herbs and spices for reducing inflammation include ginger and garlic. Their anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce neuropathy pain, however mixing garlic in with pasta (a match made in heaven!) will probably counteract some of the anti-inflammation benefits you’re going for.
As you can read above, the theme from this list is all about inflammation, or more specifically reducing inflammation. So what is inflammation and why would anti-inflammatory foods minimize neuropathy pain?
Inflammation and Neuropathy Pain
Inflammation is a natural and often beneficial response from our immune system to help heal injuries or fight off infections. However, if the inflammatory response becomes chronic, meaning it lasts for a long time or continues to happen over and over again, it can lead to tissue damage and in particular, damage to the protective covering of the nerves, called the myelin sheath.
This damage to the myelin sheath reduces protection for the underlying nerve, so the nerves themselves may become damaged or impaired, therefore leading to neuropathy. So its important to keep that protective covering healthy. Eating anti-inflammatory foods are one way to help reduce chronic inflammation, which may in turn reduce neuropathic pain.
On the opposite side of the coin, it’s not just enough to eat anti-inflammatory foods, but its also important to avoid foods that cause higher levels of inflammation in the first place. This list includes all the devious contenders you would expect like processed foods, sugary snacks, and alcohol.
If you have any questions on this list or inflammation, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask.