You can like it or not but a great part of human life is all about food. Needed nutrients, home budgets, businesses, pleasures… and health! We all know that fast food and sweets are not our health’s best friends. But not all of us are aware that there are particular situations (different than allergies) when even healthy products might be harmful to us.
There are illnesses (especially autoimmune diseases) that require a specialized diet and excluding foods that at first glance should be helpful or at least not harmful. Unfortunately, healthy doesn’t mean the same for everyone. Having that in mind we decided to take a closer look at the ideal diet for a person suffering from neuropathy.
Long Story Short: What Is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy can either be a term or chronic illness caused very often by an autoimmune disease such as diabetes, AIDS, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, but also cancer, Lyme disease or shingles. The disease is a dysfunction of one or multiple nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. It can cause pain along nerve fibres, and numbness, tingling, and burning sensations in extremities.
How to control it?
In some cases, it may be necessary to use the procedure of nerve fibres electrostimulation but happens rather rarely. Acupuncture is also acceptable as a complementary therapy. Although the main treatment is based above all on taking back the sickness that caused neuropathy under control, so for each patient, the healing method might be slightly different.
However, there is one more significant common denominator — nutrition. Below, we described the best neuropathy supplements, diet and lifestyle changes that you can support your medical treatment with.
1: What Vitamins and Supplements to Take
They play a huge role in i.a. our nervous system. Vitamin B-1 eases pain, inflammation, and takes part in cellular repair. B-6 enables magnesium absorption and builds up nerve endings, although the excess of it can cause nerve damage and increase neuropathy symptoms. Vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to the disease itself! The vitamin supports red blood cells production and supports the general efficiency of our nervous system.
Magnesium and Calcium
These minerals are responsible for strong bones. Magnesium assures appropriate sugar levels in our blood and blood pressure. And what is crucial in the case of neuropathy — the sufficient amount of magnesium guarantees the proper functioning of muscles and nervous system. Calcium promotes blood clotting and healthy muscle contraction including the work of heart.
Even though studies don’t show inconclusive results when it comes to the direct impact of the minerals on neuropathy symptoms, maintaining adequate levels of them is necessary for your nervous system and muscles to keep up the good work!
Just like the B-12 vitamin, copper deficiency can lead to neuropathy disease. Copper is highly needed for the proper functioning of i.a. heart and brain. This mineral improves the nerve cells communication and nerve impulses, blood vessels growth, and proper immune response of our organism.
The acid and antioxidant improve the influence of other antioxidants which slows down the nerve damage process. It also eases the body’s sensory feedback such as pain and burning sensations and lowers down inflammation.
This amino acid and antioxidant balances the level of sugar in the blood improves cellular repair and decreases pain caused by the disease.
Another amino acid and antioxidant that decreases and prevents further nerve damages and inflammation. It’s not present in natural foods, so you’d have to take it in the form of a supplement only.
2: What to Exclude from Your Diet
- Processed food (pastries, canned soups, ready-to-eat microwave meals, frozen pizzas, etc.) and foods containing added sugar (sweet snacks, soft drinks, etc.) are the first products that should disappear from your kitchen.
- Gluten and refined grains such as white bread, white rice, wheat noodles, instant porridge and cereals.
- Saturated fats contained in fast foods, dark meat, deep-fried meals, full-fat dairy.
3: What to Include to Your Diet
- Lean meat such as poultry and fish.
- Low-fat dairy e.g., skimmed milk, low-fat cottage cheese, half-fat sour cream, etc.
- Tofu is a great source of B-group vitamins, especially recommended for people on meatless diets.
- Fruits and vegetables. Vitamins and natural antioxidants are something we’re looking for, that would be foremost berries, brussels sprouts, grapefruits, peppers, broccoli.
- Roots such as fresh ginger and turmeric have surprisingly effective pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.
4: What Lifestyle Changes Would Help
Parallelly to improving and supplementing your daily nutrition, you have to make some significant changes in your general lifestyle, as well. Food and vitamins won’t work miracles without your effort.
In neuropathy treatment, it’s highly recommended (and very often ordered!) to quit smoking and to withdraw alcohol completely. Smoking poisons your organism and thickens the blood, while alcohol leaches the nutrients, poisons and weakens the work of the organs. Even moderate consumption of alcohol can impede the treatment.
Physical activity is a must. Going for walks, swimming, morning gymnastics, or specialized rehabilitation exercises in cooperation with proper diet will either quicken the healing process or at least prevent further nerve damages, depending on the kind and progress of the disease.
A balanced diet, regular doctor appointments, and responsibly planned physical activities can protect you from complications related to your possible current disease or a yet developing illness, including neuropathy. Don’t wait with changing your life for better!