What Is Neuropathy and How to Slow it Down

Neuropathy is a disease affecting the peripheral nerves (nerves beyond the brain and spinal cord). Neuropathy affects motor, sensory, or autonomic nerves result in different symptoms. Neuropathy may be acute, with sudden onset and fast progress, or chronic with symptoms that begin and progress slowly.

Common causes include systemic diseases, vitamin deficiency, medication, traumatic injury, including ischemia, radiation therapy, excessive alcohol consumption, immune system disease, coeliac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or viral infection. It can also be genetic.

Sensory nerves receive sensations from the skin, such as temperature, pain, vibration or touch. If sensory nerves are affected, you may experience sharp or burning pain, extreme sensitivity to touch or numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.

Foods that Slow Neuropathy

  • Five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily
  • Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, and millet
  • Legumes such as black beans, chickpeas, and fava beans
  • Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like fish, flax seeds and chia seeds
  • Lean proteins like chicken and turkey
  • Low-fat or nonfat dairy, such as milk and yogurt

Foods to Avoid for Neuropathy

  • Alcohol (can have a toxic effect on nerve tissue).
  • Sodium (less than 2,300 milligrams per day), according to the Dietary Guidelines.
  • Any foods with added sugars and saturated fats. Choose instead monounsaturated (olive oil, avocados and certain nuts) and polyunsaturated fats (soybean, corn, sunflower, walnut and flaxseed oils).

Nutrients for Neuropathy

  • B vitamins, which include B1 and B12 (B1 sources include asparagus, sunflower seeds, green peas, flaxseeds, and Brussels sprouts; B12 sources include salmon, trout, canned tuna, sardines, yogurt, and 100 percent fortified breakfast cereal).
  • Folic acid, which includes citrus fruits, bananas, peas, beans, romaine lettuce, cucumber, spinach, asparagus, and broccoli.
  • Antioxidants, which include colorful fruits and vegetables, including berries, cherries, oranges, grapefruit, red grapes, kiwi, watermelon, tomatoes, spinach, kale, broccoli, onions, and bell peppers.
  • Additional nutrients include vitamin B6, vitamin E, and copper

Watch caloric intake

Finally, to reduce the effects of neuropathy, you need to watch your caloric intake. The USDA recommends filling half your plate with vegetables and fruits, one-fourth with whole grains and one-fourth with lean protein.Ā