Author/Guest Blogger: Rebecca Janeson
When it comes to alleviating peripheral neuropathy, you must think about your health in the long term. There is no known cure, meaning most treatments focus on slowing the condition’s progression and easing its symptoms. You can take advantage of anti-inflammatory drugs like Motrin or Aleve or try physical therapy, cold laser therapy, acupuncture, or whatever your health provider recommends. As for the day-to-day, self-care is a must, and you’ll want to take proactive steps to maintain your well-being and give you a sense of control over your physical and mental health. One of the best ways to do that is to get a handle on your nutrition.
Read on to find out how nutrition can improve peripheral neuropathy.
It manages your blood sugar
One of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes. Prolonged exposure to high blood sugar can harm the blood vessels, which carry oxygen and nutrients to your nerves. In turn, this damages your nerves. This is why customizing your diet and nutrition to lower your blood sugar is imperative to protect your body from further damage. Try eating foods with a low glycemic index, like barley or lentils, as those with a lower level are shown to reduce blood sugar levels.
It helps you lose weight
Nutrition can also help you lose excess body weight that may be exacerbating your condition: a 2021 paper confirms that dietary weight loss stabilizes peripheral neuropathy and improves its symptoms. To implement your own nutritious and weight loss-friendly diet, take into account the complex nutritional factors of the foods you eat—like fiber, protein, and fats. The most effective weight loss plans consider these nutritional factors, as doing so is far more effective than counting calories or restricting specific food groups. For example, eating more fiber-rich foods like whole grains and legumes can naturally lessen your appetite to aid both weight loss and peripheral neuropathy. You can try tracking what you eat to become more aware of the nutrients you consume.
It eases your anxiety
Physical symptoms aren’t the only things you have to worry about when you have peripheral neuropathy. A 2022 article from the Journal of the Peripheral Nervous System found that 36.3% of those with small fiber neuropathy also reported having symptoms of anxiety and depression. While they likely won’t cause further damage to your nerves, these can elicit symptoms like hyperventilation, nerve firing, joint pain, and fatigue. That’s where nutrition can help. Eating an anti-anxiety diet comprising grains, greens, and probiotic foods can help reset your gut microbiome, repair your gastrointestinal tract, and balance your micronutrients and neurotransmitters. Together, these effects can ease the above symptoms and prevent them from worsening peripheral neuropathy. What’s more, you don’t have to fully shift to an anti-anxiety diet overnight—even just gradually starting to eat some of the foods it recommends can help.
It gives you more energy to exercise
Patients suffering from peripheral neuropathy may find it difficult to move due to pain and numbness. However, staying immobile can cause additional problems like muscular atrophy and a decreased metabolism. This makes movement even more difficult and puts you at risk of weight gain, which can worsen your symptoms. In contrast, exercise and movement can enhance pain tolerance and blood circulation, strengthening your nerve tissues. Nutrition can aid you in performing physical activity by giving you the energy boost you need. Consuming unprocessed foods, fresh fruits and proteins, and lean carbs is a natural way to rejuvenate yourself, while eating spinach and blueberries can aid in muscle recovery between workout sessions. These foods grant you the fuel for your efforts to ease your neuropathy symptoms.
Improving your nutrition can improve peripheral neuropathy symptoms in various ways. With the above insights, you can build yourself a healthy diet and attain the above benefits as soon as possible.