Believe it or not, your diet can have a major impact on your level of pain and discomfort associated with neuropathy, and it can even help slow the progression of this devastating condition. By the same token, eating the wrong foods can make your pain worse and promote the deterioration of your nerves.
These are the top 10 nerve-boosting foods that you should include in your diet to improve your symptoms and slow the progression of neuropathy.
Vitamin B12 helps build, nourish, and repair the myelin sheath, the layer of fat around your nerves that offer protection against deterioration. Some studies have found that high doses of vitamin B12 can actually help rebuild and repair damaged nerves. Excellent food sources of vitamin B12 include:
Your body requires vitamin B6 in order to effectively absorb vitamin B12. It also helps you maintain healthy blood sugar levels and keeps your metabolism moving along optimally. But too much vitamin B6 can damage your nerves, so avoid supplements and get your B6 from food sources, such as:
Vitamin B1 fuels your nervous and muscular systems by converting carbs into energy for the nervous system and by creating the molecule ATP, which is used by your body’s cells for metabolism. But only a fraction of the vitamin B1 we consume actually makes it into our system, so it’s a good idea to take a supplement in addition to eating foods high in vitamin B1, which include:
Vitamin B6 is essential for absorbing vitamin B12, and vitamin B2 is crucial for absorbing vitamin B6. Get your vitamin B2 from food sources like:
Antioxidants reduce damage done to the myelin sheath by free radicals, and they can help reduce neuropathic pain. The best sources of antioxidants include:
Ginger’s proven pain-relieving powers are due to their anti-inflammatory compounds known as gingerols. Use fresh ginger in a variety of dishes, or make ginger tea by steeping a couple of teaspoons of finely chopped ginger in hot water for ten minutes.
Omega-3 fatty acids promote better and faster recovery of damaged nerves, and it helps reduce pain by repairing the myelin sheath. Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids include:
Potassium helps the nerves transmit messages effectively, and magnesium helps relax your nervous system to calm excited nerves and reduce muscle tension. Adequate potassium and magnesium can help you feel more energetic, and it reduces cramping, weakness, and pain. Get these essential nutrients from:
Don’t underestimate the importance of staying well-hydrated. Water can reduce inflammation to help ease pain, while dehydration can cause thickened blood and muscle spasms, which can cause inflammation to worsen your pain. Adequate hydration also keeps your body’s systems functioning more efficiently to protect your overall health and sense of wellbeing.