Nerve Pain and Diet: 7 Things That Can Cause It and Make It Worse

Nerve pain is a symptom of many diseases and illnesses and has multiple causes.

Inflammation makes nerve pain worse. 

In addition to keeping a healthy body weight and remaining active, eating healthy can reduce chronic inflammation and nerve pain (and pain in general). 

Let’s look at seven foods to cut down on or avoid altogether.

1. Fruits and Veggies Grown with Pesticides

For decades government agencies and experts recommended eating lots of fruits and vegetables.

Then the internet happened, and people started learning that organic or natural, non-pesticide-grown foods are healthier and safer.

Eating food grown with pesticides that leach into the soil and skin of fruits and vegetables during the growing process adds toxins to your body, increasing inflammation (among other potentially harmful things). 

How much food with toxic substances should we eat? None, if possible.

2. Refined Sugar

It can be hard to avoid eating and putting in recipes, but eating a lot of sugar can spike your blood sugar levels. 

Elevated blood sugar levels can damage your blood vessels in the long run, which, in turn, can damage your nerves. 

Try to snack on fruit and use natural sweeteners, such as stevia and sugar alcohols.

3. Trans and Saturated Fats

These are the “unhealthy fats” you can find in many meats and dairy. Eating them can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes and worsen nerve pain by increasing inflammation. 

Some healthy fats include avocados, raw sunflower seeds, chia seeds, salmon (organic or natural), and grass-fed meat.

Also, oils like extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil have no saturated fat and provide health benefits.

4. Salty Snacks and Food

Fast food and processed snacks like chips, crackers, salted nuts, jerky, in general, can damage your body in the long run.

So can processed cold cuts and most canned food.

Consuming a lot of salt can block blood flow and cause tingling and numbness in your hands and feet.

Sticking to unprocessed, unsalted, or lower-sodium snacks and natural or organic cold cuts and canned food can keep you out of the danger zone. 

5. Refined and Enriched Grains 

Refined grains include white flour, white rice, and white bread.

‘Refined’ means the nutritional value is removed, leaving your body to digest nothing but empty carbs and refined sugar. 

However, many refined grains are also enriched, a process that adds vitamins removed during refining.

But these grains still lack other essential nutrients like fiber and antioxidants — and they spike your blood sugar. 

Whole grain rice, flour, and bread have fiber and antioxidants and take longer to digest, so you won’t want to eat as much.

6. Alcohol

A drink or two is fine for most people, but too much for too long can damage your nerves. 

A neurotoxin, alcohol can cause nerve damage leading to numbness in the hands and feet when it’s abused.

7. High-Mercury Fish 

Cans and pouches of tuna are convenient, and they’re also toxic if you eat them too often.

Also, some fish on menus and in grocery stores have high mercury levels. 

Try to eat tuna only once in a while, and it may be good to avoid ever eating swordfish and mackerel, which are even higher in mercury.

Low-mercury and nutritious alternatives include salmon and sardines.