Good nutrition is often the first line of defense to avoid many diseases, including peripheral neuropathy. The best way to prevent peripheral neuropathy is to carefully manage any medical condition that puts you at risk. That means controlling your blood sugar level if you have diabetes or talking to your doctor about safe and effective treatments if you think you may have a problem with alcohol. Whether or not you have a medical condition, eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. Keep a food diary so you are aware of what you're eating and to make sure you get all the nutrients you need each day to stay as healthy as possible.
Foods that Aggravate Peripheral Neuropathy
Contributing factors to PN include vitamin deficiencies, traumautic injuries, diabetes, alcoholism, and others. Treatment may include managing underlying causes, physical therapy, medications and dietary changes. For best results seek guidance from your doctor.
Gluten: If you have a gluten allergy, 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'.
Refined grains are highly glycemic meaning they have a dramatic impact on your blood sugar. Being able to control your blood sugar is the number one strategy to prevent neuropathy associated with diabetes. To improve the glyceminc impact of your diet, replace refined grains with whole grains.
Added sugars add flavor but few nutrients. Nutritional deficiencies can lead to neuropathy symptoms. Choose nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Saturated fat, prevalent in fatty meats and dairy products, can cause inflammation and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes. For enhanced wellness, replace fatty protein sources with lean alternatives and eat moderate amounts of healthy fat sources.
Healthy Eating and Shopping
To help you keep track of your food and water intake, plus your activity levels, we have created a food and activity log for you. Click here to download a printable copy of a weekly food diary.
A shopping guide may help you plan your meals and make good selections at the grocery store. Plan ahead and buy only what's on your list to avoid impulse buying Click here to download a printable copy of a shopping list.
The first group of vitamins that may help people with peripheral neuropathy are the B group of vitamins. One common cause of PN is deficiency of B vitamins, particularly B-12. And, if a B-12 deficiency isn't treated in a timely manner, the nerve damage can be permanent. The best food sources of vitamin B-12 are meats, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy foods and fortified cereals. If you're a strict vegetarian, fortified cereals are a good source of vitamin B-12 for you, but you may also want to talk to your doctor about B-12 supplements.
Another vitamin that may be helpful for PN is vitamin E though a deficiency is uncommon except in cases of intestinal malabsorption or malnutrition.
Resarch has recently named some antioxidants as beneficial in the treatment of various types on peripheral neuropathy: Learn more about Alpha lipoic acid for diabetic neuropathy and Acetyl-L-Carnitine for HIV sensory neuropathy.
At our Living Well patient seminar, Anne Leavell, RD, presented basic information about supplements and how they might apply to chemo-induced PN. Learn more.
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Disclaimer: Please check with your doctor before beginning any supplement regimens.