Neuropathy is nerve damage that occurs as a result of a trauma, injury, poor diet choices, or disease. In the case of diabetes the neuropathy is due to poor blood flow and increased sugar levels. As blood flow decreases the nerves react by misfiring. This usually happens over time in a gradual process but the beginning signs of diabetic neuropathy are:
- Muscular weakness
- Issues occurring in the feet like sores or joint pain
- Reoccurring bladder infections
- Dizzy spells
Paying close attention to these early warning signs will help those who have diabetes prevent any further damage to their nervous system from occurring. The affects of diabetic neuropathy can be reversed if caught early enough.
Reversing Diabetic Neuropathy
The number one way to prevent the damaging effects that sugar levels have on the nerves is through diet. Controlling the foods that are consumed is vital to controlling sugar levels. There are some other helpful ways to repair and support the nerve structures involved. Using herbal supplements has been proven highly effective in reversing diabetic neuropathy. Supplements like
Cayenne pepper, magnesium, and L-carnitine have all been used with great success in nerve repair. Here is why:
- Cayenne pepper reduces pain communication to the brain
- Magnesium is essential for calming the nervous system
- L-carnitine reduces sugar levels in the blood and regenerates nerve damage
Taking supplements to help coat the nerve ending will improve nerve function and help reduce pain.
Exercise is certainly beneficial but must be done carefully in cases of neuropathy. Consult your physician or physical therapist on which exercises will work best for the nerves that are damaged. Typically low impact is the way to go. Exercises like swimming, yoga, walking, and stationary bicycling are all great ways to get started. “No pain no gain” is not the motto here; it is more like slow and steady wins the race. Start out with 15 to 20 min per day for 5 days a week with light stretching prior to. This will get the heart rate up enough to stimulate the nerves, oxidize the blood, and detoxify the body on a regular basis which are helpful for keeping sugar levels low.
Watch What You Eat
When a person has diabetes they are given very strict diet parameters to keep their sugar levels down. There is something else that should be measured when deciding what to eat. What diabetics should look for are healing foods. Foods that will not only balance blood sugar, but will also cleanse the body and alleviate neuropathy symptoms. Foods that are rich in the vitamins and minerals that will repair nerve structure. Some foods that diabetics may want to introduce are Vitamin B-12 rich foods. B-12 has a number of benefits for the body including healthy heart, red blood cell formation as well as converting carbohydrates into energy. For those with diabetic neuropathy this is the golden vitamin as it aids the body in nerve cell formation and regenerates the myelin sheath which helps fight against nerve damage. Eat lots of B-12 rich foods. B-12 can be found in meats, fish, poultry, fortified cereals, and yogurts. Folic acid and B-6 also help repair and support the nerve structure. Good sources of folic acid can be found in beans, spinach, liver, and whole grains. Good sources of B-6 are fresh fruits, legumes, fish and whole grains. When you meal plan with these foods keep in mind that they can lose some of their vitamin benefits when being cooked. Steaming is a good way to maintain the nutritional integrity of your vegetables and so will broiling your fish, poultry, and meats.
Two Birds With One Stone
Another great benefit from incorporating these healthy choices into your life is that you are often killing two birds with one stone. Many of the suggested foods contain several nutritional benefits. Take beef for instance, beef contains high levels of L–carnitine and B-12. L-carnitine, as mentioned above in the supplements section helps the nervous system, helps the body to break down fat and sugar and turn them into energy. B-12 reverses nerve damage, that’s two birds with one stone right there. Whole grains and beans contain not only B-12 and B-6 but several of the other very important B vitamins as well. Beans and whole grains are excellent sources of protein and fiber too. Protein and fiber are important aspects to the diabetic diet as they keep glucose levels regulated and they help the digestive system run accordingly. Incorporating these foods and a small daily exercise routine will not only help fight against diabetes, but will also help support the nervous system. You can help reverse diabetic neuropathy or even prevent neuropathy from ever occurring.
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