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Can Certain Foods Heal Nerve Damage?

by
author image Jon Williams
Jon Williams is a clinical psychologist and freelance writer. He has performed, presented and published research on a variety of psychological and physical health issues.
Can Certain Foods Heal Nerve Damage?
Salmon provides vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids, which can help heal damaged nerves. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Nerve damage results from physical trauma or from a wide variety of illnesses, diseases and medical conditions. Common causes of nerve damage, also referred to as neuropathy, include alcoholism, metabolic disorders such as diabetes or celiac disease, autoimmune disorders such as arthritis, cancer treatments, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic kidney failure, vitamin deficiencies, toxins and infectious diseases. Physical trauma to nerves from injury, herniated disks, prolonged compression and surgery, as well as certain medications and infections that block oxygen to cells can also cause neuropathy. Symptoms include chronic or recurrent numbness, tingling, sensitivity to touch, weakness, pricking sensations, burning pain or sharp pain. Foods can play an integral role in the comprehensive treatment of neuropathic pain.

Vitamin B12 Foods

Nerve damage occurs when the myelin sheath that covers and protects nerves—much like the rubber encasing surrounding electrical wires—deteriorates. The nerves misfire, triggering other nerve cells, which in turn contribute to further excessive nerve cell activity. Vitamin B12 foods can help heal damaged nerves. Foods with vitamin B12 contribute to the repair and maintenance of nerve cells, and particularly the myelin sheath. Foods that contain high levels of vitamin B12 include calf’s liver, sardines, snapper, venison, Chinook salmon, lean beef tenderloin, lamb loin, scallops, shrimp and halibut, according to the George Mateljan Foundation for the World's Healthiest Foods.

Antioxidant Foods

Nerve damage occurs when atoms, often called free radicals, interact with cell tissues and cause deterioration of the cells. Free radicals that are synthesized from oxygen are especially egregious. They not only interact with cells tissues, but also create more radicals. Antioxidants are compounds that neutralize free radicals. Various “superfoods” contain high levels of antioxidants. These foods not only heal damaged nerves, but also may help reduce the risk of cancer and immune diseases, and slow the effects of aging. Foods that contain high levels of antioxidants include blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, tomatoes, broccoli, red grapes, garlic, spinach, carrots, pomegranates, dark chocolate and green tea, according to Clemson University Cooperative Extension, located in Clemson, South Carolina.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Inflammation results when the body’s immune system attempts to protect itself against invading foreign organisms such as bacteria and viruses. White blood cells and other chemicals attack the invaders and destroy them. Sometimes, however, the body’s immune response is misguided, and the immune system attacks and destroys its own tissues. Inflammation causes damage to nerves and causes pain to you. Certain foods reduce inflammation. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties. High omega-3 foods include flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans, shrimp and tofu as well as coldwater fish such as snapper, sardines, salmon, trout, halibut, tuna and cod.

Water

Water comprises two-thirds of your body. Dehydration contributes to sundry problems, including muscle spasms and increased viscosity or thickness of the blood, which in turn disrupts healing and worsens inflammation. The Town Center Wellness Chiropractic and Nutrition, of Sugar Land, Texas, recommends drinking enough water so that you urinate at least three to four times a day.

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