Neuropathy (nerve damage) is a common complication of diabetes. On average up to 60% of people diagnosed with diabetes also have some form of neuropathy. This is especially true in diabetics who have difficulty keeping their blood sugar levels in check.
Like many other health conditions, the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy can be worsened or improved by your diet.
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that occurs when the nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord (peripheral nerves) become damaged. This causes weakness, numbness and pain, in both your hands and feet.
Peripheral neuropathy can also affect body functions such as digestion, urination and circulation.
One of the best ways to avoid peripheral neuropathy is to manage your diet and any medical conditions that put you at risk. This may involve removing junk food from your diet as well as quitting alcohol.
Here are the 6 worst trigger foods you’ll want to avoid if you want to improve your neuropathy symptoms.
Anything containing gluten should be the first food patients with neuropathy should avoid.
Celiac disease affects the small intestine and interfere with your body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients, which in turn can deprive your nerves of crucial things like vitamin b12.
Although only 1% of the population may be diagnosed with celiac disease, many individuals tend to have gluten sensitivity and allergies.
Gluten can be found in bread, pasta, noodles, cakes, and pastries.
It’s important to check product labels and look for gluten-free products because gluten can also be found in unexpected foods, such as regular soy sauce.
Despite its name, soy sauce is usually made with wheat, soybeans, salt and water, which means most soy sauces contain gluten. The good news is that some soy sauces are truly gluten-free.
2. Trans fats
High-fat diets that are loaded with trans fats, also known as “unhealthy fats,” can cause
inflammation and raise the risk of type 2 diabetes, which can worsen peripheral neuropathy.
Consuming a well-balanced diet that’s low in trans fat can help reduce your risk of triggering nerve pain.
Fried fast foods, such as fried chicken, battered fish, doughnuts, french fries, and mozzarella sticks, can all contain high levels of trans fat.
Instead, focus on eating moderate amounts of monounsaturated fats from food sources like avocados, almonds, and some flax seeds, which have heart-protective omega-3 fatty acids.
Having a drink once in a while isn’t a big problem. However, drinking alcohol in excess can not only aggravate your neuropathy symptoms they can also harm your overall health.
Alcoholic neuropathy is characterized by spontaneous burning pain, hyperalgesia, and allodynia. This happens because long-term excessive alcohol consumption have damaged your nerves.
If alcohol triggers nerve pain, muscle weakness, tingling, burning, and cramps, it’s time to put the glass down and quit.
4. Refined Grains
Keeping your blood sugar levels balanced is the most effective way to prevent diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
So it makes sense that you’ll want to avoid processed grains, which have a high glycemic index. The higher the glycemic index in a food, the higher its effect on your blood sugar.
Instead of eating pasta, swap it out for zucchini. You can also refrigerate your pasta or rice to lower its glycemic index.
In a previous article we talked about how you can use apple cider vinegar to help lower the glycemic impact of the foods you eat.
5. Salty Foods
The majority of people love eating potato chips. But for your health’s sake, you’ll want to avoid these types of snacks.
The main issue with foods high in sodium is that it can restrict blood flow, which aggravates numbness, a symptom of peripheral neuropathy.
Potato flakes, wafers, cold cuts, salty junk foods, and processed fast foods in general are all high in sodium and should be avoided.
Too much salt in your body can cause your blood vessels to constrict, thus reducing blood flow and causing your nerves to tingle, burn, or go numb.
Always try to choose lean meats and vegetables over processed meats, cold cuts, fast food, and other foods high in sodium.
While it is widely accepted that added sugar has adverse health effects, this is particularly true regarding peripheral neuropathy.
Eating foods that have a lot of sugar can spike your blood sugar levels and cause inflammation, which can damage your nerves and the blood vessels that feed your nerves.
Eating too much sugar too often can speed up the onset of diabetic neuropathy in people with diabetes.
If you wish to prevent diabetes and diabetic neuropathy from happening in the first place, you must take steps to stop eating sweets.
And keep in mind that even if you substitute your sweets for fruits, the natural sugars found in fruits is still sugar, so you’ll still need to make sure to consume in moderation.