For patients with familial amyloid polyneuropathy, the pain, tingling, and numbness associated with peripheral neuropathy symptoms may be exacerbated by what they eat. Patients and caregivers must be conscientious of foods that may help to alleviate peripheral neuropathy symptoms, as well as the foods that may increase these symptoms. Knowing how the body responds to certain foods may be key to reducing peripheral pain.
Following are some foods that patients should avoid to reduce neuropathy symptoms.
How a balanced diet fights pain
My wife’s family comes from a strong Midwestern background. Family gatherings usually involve soft drinks, salty meat dishes, and starchy foods. These foods are familiar to my mother-in-law, and she will continue to eat them. She is unwilling to try another diet, and this presents an obstacle when trying to reduce her peripheral neuropathy symptoms.
As her caregivers, it’s tricky to monitor her intake of salty foods, soft drinks, and carbohydrates. These foods are quickly digested, increasing blood sugar levels and contributing to increased inflammation in the body. Extra sodium in the bloodstream can lead to elevated blood pressure, which can slow blood flow and lead to peripheral nerve damage.
Caregivers should focus on incorporating foods with anti-inflammatory properties into a balanced diet. These foods include whole grains, lean meats, vegetables, nuts, and fish. Lean meats such as poultry and fish are high in vitamin B12, which helps to keep blood cells and nerves healthy.
Foods to avoid
Starchy foods such as white bread, pasta, and pizza are high in gluten. Even boxed mashed potatoes may contain gluten. Recent research suggests an association between gluten sensitivity and nerve pain. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity include pins and needles, itchy skin, digestion issues, and headaches. Neuropathy patients might also experience worsening of preexisting skin conditions.
As high levels of blood sugar can contribute to nerve damage in peripheral neuropathy, patients should avoid foods such as candy, ice cream, soft drinks, fruit juices, and pastries.
Salty foods such as potato chips, processed meals, cold cuts, and fast food can also be problematic for neuropathy patients, as high levels of salt may restrict blood flow, which can contribute to numbness, as mentioned above.
Patients should focus on maintaining a well-balanced diet rich in vitamin B12 and antioxidants to control their peripheral neuropathy symptoms and manage their overall well-being. By avoiding sugary and salty foods, they can help to improve their quality of life and make their caregiver’s job much easier.
Note: FAP News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of FAP News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to familial amyloid polyneuropathy.