Proper nutrition is the best frontline health strategy for keeping your nerves healthy and managing peripheral neuropathy. While a well-balanced diet is a foundation for your health, there are several foods to avoid, especially if you have peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral Neuropathy can be caused by vitamin deficiencies, traumatic injuries, diabetes, alcoholism, chemotherapy and others. Treatment may include managing underlying causes, physical therapy, medications and dietary changes. For best results seek guidance from your healthcare provider.
Alcohol is a neurotoxin, meaning it can damage your nerves. People who drink too much may start to experience numbness, pain and tingling in their hands and feet. This is known as alcoholic neuropathy. In people with alcoholic neuropathy, the peripheral nerves have been damaged by too much exposure to alcohol and they no longer transmit signals between the body, the spinal cord, and the brain properly. There can also be nutrient deficiencies that can be quickly addressed.
If you have a gluten sensitivity, gluten allergy or celiac disease, consuming gluten can trigger and worsen your symptoms. Common sources include all food containing white, wheat, cake or baking flour. Look for products labeled ‘gluten free’. Gluten can also increase inflammation in the body, which can worsen any inflammation in nerves caused by peripheral neuropathy.
3. Refined grains
Processed grains have a high glycemic index, meaning they are quickly increase blood sugar. Being able to control your blood sugar is the number one strategy to prevent neuropathy associated with diabetes. Sugar in the blood can also contribute to peripheral neuropathy by damaging nerves. To improve the glycemic impact of your diet, replace refined grains with whole grains.
4. Added sugars
Sugar might taste good, but it has 0 nutrients. Sugary foods increase blood sugar. High amounts of sugar in the blood causes damage to nerves and the blood vessels that feed nerves. If you are looking for a sweet fix, choose safe fruits or a non-sugar sweetener such as stevia or xylitol.
5. Trans Fats and Saturated fats
These unhealthy fats can be found in conventional fatty meats and high fat dairy products. In excess these fats increase inflammation and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes. For enhanced wellness, replace fatty protein sources with lean alternatives such as lean proteins or grass-fed proteins. Also eat moderate amounts of heart-healthy, polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids (ALA, EPA, DPA and DHA), monounsaturated fats (avocado), as well as some medium-chain saturated fats like stearic acid and lauric acid (coconut oil) that can be found in this Diabetes Friendly Eating Plan.