Neuropathy is a collection of disorders that occurs when nerves of the peripheral nervous system are damaged. Neuropathy results from damage associated with nutrient deficiencies, traumatic injuries, infections, exposure to toxins and, more commonly, diabetes. The symptoms of neuropathy are pain, tingling, and numbness in the hands and feet. While there are several medications that treat neuropathy, changing your diet can have a positive effect on your neuropathy with no side effects from medication. Not only will it lessen your neuropathy symptoms but it will help you regain general health. You will feel better and look better too.
A diet that includes whole grains is going to provide the nutrients and fiber necessary to maintain good health and they may also help patients lose weight. Whole grains have a lesser impact on blood sugar levels and may delay hunger cues, making it easier to lose weight. Replacing refined grains, such as white flour, with whole grains, such as oats, barley, brown rice, and quinoa, may also help reduce inflammation.
In a 2004 published clinical study, patients with neuropathy were put on customized diet and exercise plans aimed at shedding at least 7 percent of their body weight. Within six months, patients lost an average of 3 lbs. Participants who lost weight experienced significant improvements in neuropathy pain. While researchers are still unsure why, they suggested that the weight loss reduced pain and depression associated with neuropathy.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Fruits and vegetables have a positive impact on blood sugar levels and contain relatively few calories per serving. They are also top sources of antioxidants, which protect the body from infections and disease.
According to one expert in neuropathy, the antioxidant vitamin C may help reduce neuropathy pain by decreasing the manifestation of a protein in the peripheral nerves. Foods that are rich in vitamin C include bell peppers, citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, leafy greens and tomatoes. Try to include a variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet for the broadest nutrient benefits.
IMPORTANCE OF VITAMIN B12 AND B6
Research has shown that vitamin B-12 deficiency is a leading nutrient-related cause of neuropathy. Fish and seafood particularly high in vitamin B-12 include mollusks, clams, oysters, trout, salmon and mackerel. Try to include seafood to your diet. There are also other good sources of vitamin B-12 that include red meat, poultry, one hundred percent fortified breakfast cereals. Milk, yogurt and cheese can be used in modest amounts.
The nervous system also requires vitamin B-6, which is another water-soluble nutrient, to function properly. If alcoholism caused your neuropathy symptoms, you may have a deficiency of vitamin B-6 because of limited dietary variety and because alcohol promotes the loss and destruction of the nutrient. Foods high in vitamin B-6 include one hundred percent fortified cereals, baked potatoes, bananas, garbanzo beans, chicken breasts, and lean pork loin.
Although most people who try to lose weight are very conscious of fat in their diet, there are actually good fats that the body requires to perform processes efficiently. Plant-derived fats provide heart-healthy properties and are great alternatives to animal-derived sources. Fats help your body absorb fat-soluble nutrients, such as vitamins A, K and D. Therefore, try to incorporate nuts, seeds and vegetable oils into nutritious meals and snacks for added benefits. Patients with neuropathy should consume fats like wheat germ oil, almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts and peanut butter to provide significant amounts of the antioxidant vitamin E. Vitamin E deficiency is a cause of neuropathy.
Protein allows the body to build lean muscle tissue and contributes to tissue repair. Lean-protein foods, like poultry and low-fat dairy products, are important elements of a healthy diet for those with peripheral neuropathy. Include a variety of lean protein sources into your diet like skinless white-meat poultry, legumes, low-fat milk, yogurt, tofu and fish for optimum results. If you have diabetes in addition to neuropathy, lean protein foods are especially valuable. They have a mild effect on blood sugar levels. If you have to consume foods high in fat, limit your portion size and do your best to make such consumption once in a while.
Neuropathy is a debilitating condition that greatly affects the quality of life. There are many causes of neuropathy and certain deficiencies have been linked to neuropathy. Maintaining a balanced diet may help reduce symptoms. Incorporate a good diet and include exercise to help increase your chances for life free of neuropathic pain.
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