Best (and Worst) Foods for Nerve Pain

If you struggle with nerve pain / neuropathy, you may be familiar with treatments like OTC pain relievers, nerve blocks, and nerve ablation. But, did you know that changing your diet could also help provide relief? There are many foods with what are considered “anti-inflammatory” properties that can work to calm and soothe oversensitive nerves. Conversely, there are also foods that can intensify inflammation and your neuropathy symptoms.

Here are some specific food choices to avoid, better alternatives to consider, and other lifestyle changes that can also help manage your nerve pain.

What to Avoid

Highly Processed Foods Fried foods, chips, cold cuts, and frozen prepared meals are often high in sodium, which can restrict blood flow, causing a potential flare-up of symptoms. They also tend to be less nutritionally dense than whole, fresh foods.

Added Sugar – Foods high in sugar – especially added sugar – can intensify nerve damage and pain, and can lead to weight gain and inflammation.

Dairy Many people are more sensitive to dairy than they may realize. Products like cheese and butter are also rich in saturated fats and can fuel inflammation.

Gluten  Flour, especially refined white flour, refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, pizza, crackers, and other snacks can be difficult for many people to digest, especially if you have gastrointestinal issues or celiac disease. Recent studies have shown a link between gluten sensitivity and nerve pain.

Excessive Alcohol Chronic, excessive alcohol intake can usher in alcoholic neuropathy and nerve deterioration. It can especially impact the autonomic nerves overseeing bodily functions. Additionally, many chronic alcohol users have nutritional issues that can further nerve damage.

All of these foods can exacerbate neuropathy symptoms by inducing inflammation and spiking blood sugar levels. These inflammatory foods can put extra stress on damaged nerves – heightening pain and irritation.

The Best Foods for Nerve Pain | The Worst Foods for Nerve Pain | The PainSmith

What to Enjoy

Lean Protein lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, tofu, and beans can keep blood cells and nerves healthy because they are high in vitamin B12. B12 helps support the nervous systems and ensures efficient nerve-impulse transmission.

Fish salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel are great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory and can assist with nerve regeneration.

Vegetables Leafy green vegetables are full of fiber and other nutrients. They also contain magnesium, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C and Vitamin E – vital nutrients for proper nervous system function. Magnesium has been shown to calm nerves, which may be helpful for those suffering with neuropathy.

Fruits Especially low-glycemic fruits, such as apples, apricots, pears, oranges, strawberries, grapes, and plums are smarter choices for your sweet tooth.

Nuts Cashews, almonds, and walnuts are all rich in Vitamin B, which supports healthy nerve function. Nuts also contain healthy fats, which can make you feel fuller for longer and help prevent overeating.

Whole Grains Brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, and whole wheat or sprouted grain breads are excellent choices. They are high in fiber, which can help with inflammation.

Other Lifestyle Changes

In addition to a healthy diet, lifestyle adjustments such as regular exercise, quitting smoking, and controlling your blood sugar can also help manage your nerve pain.

Nerve pain can be a symptom of a number of different issues, such as infection, diabetes, acute injury, and more. While sticking to certain foods and maintaining a healthy diet overall may help address the cause or prevent exacerbation of your nerve pain, they are only one part of a treatment plan for neuropathy. Talk to your physician about the best options for treating your pain, and always consult with your healthcare provider about your dietary restrictions before implementing any changes.

If you have back pain, joint pain, neck pain, or any other type of pain, give us a call or you can request a consultation and we’ll discuss your options.

*The PainSmith team has reviewed this information. It is intended for informational purposes only, not to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. Please discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.

Our Team of Pain Management
Specialists Are Here For You