If you’re living with nerve pain, there is a definite benefit to eating healthy, low-inflammatory foods. A plant-based diet offers abundant opportunities for healthier nerves and less pain.
What’s also great, is how easy it is to prepare simple meals at home, where you control the ingredients that go into your meals. The convenience of eating out doesn’t outweigh the risk of relying on restaurant kitchens to use foods or ingredients that will relieve rather than aggravate your nerve pain.
During National Nutrition Month and beyond, eat more of these six plant-based foods that are great for your health and help reduce nerve pain. Incorporate these into your diet every day in half or full cup servings, fresh or frozen. Eat them separately or mix up some appetizing salads. Bon appetit!
- Green and leafy vegetables. Broccoli, spinach and asparagus all contain vitamin B, a nutrient important for nerve regeneration and nerve function. Spinach, broccoli and kale also contain a micronutrient called alpha-lipoic acid that prevents nerve damage and improves nerve function.
- Fruits. Eat at least one fruit daily to help heal damaged nerves. Berries, peaches, cherries, red grapes, oranges and watermelon, among others, are loaded with antioxidants, which help to decrease inflammation and reduce nerve damage. Plus, grapes, blueberries and cranberries have been found to be full of a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called resveratrol.
- Zucchini. A type of summer squash, zucchini is actually a fruit. Like other fruits, it’s rich in antioxidants and, therefore, good for nerve cells. It’s also a good source of potassium, which promotes effective nerve transmission, and magnesium, which calms excited nerves.
- Sweet potato. This root vegetable offers several nerve health benefits: An abundance of vitamins A and C, which provides antioxidant protection for cells. Sweet potatoes also have natural anti-inflammatory compounds. Animal research has demonstrated that nerve and brain tissue has shown reduced inflammation after eating purple sweet potato extract. And the high fiber content of a sweet potato won’t spike your blood sugar because it causes starch to burn slowly.
- Quinoa. Although it’s commonly considered to be a grain, quinoa is actually a flowering plant that produces edible seeds. Once a staple food grown in the Andes Mountains for native people of Peru, Bolivia and Chile, quinoa has become a worldwide favorite, grown in more than 70 countries. Quinoa is a great source of potassium, which aids effective conduction of messages through nerves. It’s an excellent source of magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and folate. This superfood also contains protein, fiber, iron, copper and vitamin B6.
- Avocado. This unique fruit is full of healthy fats. Like quinoa, it has a healthy dose of potassium, which promotes effective nerve conduction. Avocados also help increase your body’s absorption of antioxidants.