We all know we’re supposed to eat well — but what does a healthy diet look like if you have peripheral neuropathy? If you’ve ever wondered what foods are good for neuropathy or if there are certain things you need to avoid, then you’ve come to the right place! Below, you’ll find some of the most important dos and don’ts for your diabetic neuropathy diet.
Peripheral neuropathy diet tips
Did you know that one of the common causes of peripheral neuropathy is a nutrient deficiency? That’s right — just like the rest of your body, your nerves need the proper nutrition to function at their best. So adhering to a healthy diet and steering clear of certain foods can give you better control over your neuropathy, help prevent neuropathy from progressing, and make your life just a little bit easier.
What foods to eat when you have neuropathy
If you think that neuropathy limits your dietary choices, think again! There are so many healthy, delicious foods you can incorporate into your diet — there’s no way we could list them all here. So instead, here are a few healthy foods you can include in your peripheral neuropathy diet.
- Whole grains and high-fiber foods — Whole grains and other high-fiber foods are necessary for a well-balanced peripheral neuropathy diet. Remember, stick to whole grains and avoid refined grains like white bread and white rice, as these can make neuropathy symptoms worse.
- Vegetables — Vegetables are an excellent source of fiber and can help keep blood sugar levels under control. Fibrous vegetables can also help make you feel more satiated and decrease the risk of overeating. Some good vegetable options are carrots, broccoli, celery, spinach, peppers, and cauliflower.
- Fruits — Fruits are a great way to get a sweet treat without consuming loads of sugar. In addition to tasting amazing, fruits also add plenty of health benefits to your diet, including fiber and antioxidants.
- Low-fat dairy products — High-fat dairy products contain trans and saturated fats, which can exacerbate neuropathy symptoms. When shopping, choose low-fat or nonfat cheeses, yogurts, and milk.
- Lean protein or plant-based proteins — A little meat now and then won’t hurt you, but you should opt for lean protein options more often than not. For meat-based protein, go for skinless chicken breast, turkey, or fish. For plant-based proteins, you can choose from things like lentils, beans, legumes, and nuts.
Additionally, your doctor may recommend that you take certain supplements, such as vitamin B12 supplements. This is because vitamin B12 deficiencies have been linked to nerve damage.
What foods to stay away from with neuropathy
Moderation is one of the most important concepts in a diabetic or neuropathic diet — but there are some foods that you should still be wary of, even if you are consuming them in moderation. If you’re wondering, “What foods should I avoid with neuropathy?” here are three to steer clear of.
- Added sugars — If you have diabetes or diabetic neuropathy, added sugars are not your friend. A diet high in sugar can increase your blood glucose levels and exacerbate neuropathic symptoms. Try to limit sweets, sugary drinks, and high-carb and starchy foods as much as possible.
- B6 supplements — A lack of vitamin B12 may increase your risk of developing neuropathy, and so can too much vitamin B6. An excess of vitamin B6 can be toxic, so you must watch how much you consume. If you take B6 supplements, have regular blood checks to ensure your B6 levels are not too high.
- Alcohol — This is one of the most important foods to avoid with neuropathy. Keep your alcohol intake as limited as possible, as too much alcohol makes it more difficult for your body to absorb nutrients.
Other neuropathy diet dos and don’ts
Choosing the right foods is a big part of a great diabetic neuropathy diet, but you can also do so much more! Following these tips can help ensure that you get the most benefit from your new diet.
DO monitor your blood sugar levels. Track your blood glucose levels every day and watch out for trends or patterns. If your glucose levels aren’t within an acceptable range, you may need to adjust your diet accordingly.
DO consider portions. Even if you’re eating nothing but the best foods for peripheral neuropathy, portion control is still important. Overeating or undereating can negatively affect your blood glucose levels and overall health.
DON’T starve yourself or skip meals. Even if you’re trying to lose weight, skipping meals every day is not the answer; it’s still important to consume the correct number of calories. Instead of not eating, opt for healthy meals and snacks.
DO drink lots of water. Part of a healthy diabetic neuropathy diet is drinking enough water every day. Staying hydrated can help reduce inflammation and keep pain at bay, so aim to have approximately 2 liters of water each day.
DON’T consume lots of gluten. Some research suggests that high-gluten diets may aggravate neuropathy pain, especially if you are already gluten-intolerant or have a gluten sensitivity. Try to avoid consuming lots of food made from white and wheat flour.
DON’T eat lots of salt. Easier said than done, right? Unfortunately, too many ready-to-eat foods contain high sodium levels, which can reduce blood flow and make neuropathy symptoms worse. Limit salty foods whenever possible.
Embrace a holistic approach to your health
Of course, changing your diet isn’t the only way to help with neuropathy pain or other foot problems. Things like medications, increasing your physical activity, and investing in a quality pair of compression socks can also make a world of difference.
Here at Viasox, we’re proud to offer some of the world’s best diabetic socks. Designed specially to protect and comfort diabetic and neuropathic feet, our socks are:
- Made from soft, durable, and high-quality materials.
- Designed with moisture-wicking technology to increase comfort and safety.
- Made from antibacterial products to help reduce odors and infections.
- Designed to apply gentle pressure to help increase blood flow.