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Foods for Bell's Palsy

by
author image Krista Sheehan
Krista Sheehan is a registered nurse and professional writer. She works in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and her previous nursing experience includes geriatrics, pulmonary disorders and home health care. Her professional writing works focus mainly on the subjects of physical health, fitness, nutrition and positive lifestyle changes.
Foods for Bell's Palsy
A healthy diet encourages faster healing with Bell's palsy. Photo Credit mathieu boivin/iStock/Getty Images

Affecting one or both sides of the face, Bell's palsy is a neurological disorder that affects the facial nerves. Often causing facial muscle weakness or paralysis, the condition can make talking, laughing, eating and swallowing a difficult task. Although diet does not have a direct impact on Bell's palsy, eating a healthy diet with appropriate textures can encourage quicker healing and prevent choking.

Identification

Foods for Bell's Palsy
Bells palsy is most commonly caused by the herpes simplex virus. Photo Credit JOHN GOMEZ/iStock/Getty Images

Bell's palsy occurs when one of the facial nerves becomes damaged, resulting in temporary paralysis of the facial muscles. Typically, the condition only affects one side of the face. However, it can affect both sides of the face in some cases. Symptoms of Bell's palsy can vary from moderate facial weakness to complete paralysis. Along with muscle weakness or paralysis, symptoms might include facial twitching, drooping eyelids, drooping corner of the mouth, excessive saliva, impaired sense of taste, dry mouth, dry eyes or watery eyes. Bell's palsy is most commonly caused by the herpes simplex virus. However, it can be caused by other types of viral infections or physical trauma.

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Diet Considerations

Foods for Bell's Palsy
Eating softer foods may be necessary if your mouth has been affected. Photo Credit Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images

If Bell's palsy affects one or both sides of your mouth, you might need to temporarily change your eating habits. Chewing on the side of the mouth affected by weakness or paralysis will likely be difficult. To prevent choking, avoid large bites of food or foods that are chewy, sticky or hard, such as caramel or thick cuts of meat. If most of the mouth is affected by weakness or paralysis, a soft diet may be necessary. A soft diet might include yogurt, pudding, ice cream, mashed potatoes, soup and soft cooked vegetables. If the entire mouth has been affected by Bell's palsy, a full liquid diet might be necessary.

Foods to Eat

Foods for Bell's Palsy
Make sure that you are eating a nutritious and balanced diet to promote quick healing. Photo Credit beti gorse/iStock/Getty Images

During a Bell's palsy episode, there are not any specific foods you should eat to help treat or correct the problem. However, as with any disease or illness, it's important to maintain a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet. Focus on eating foods high in nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. Your Bell's palsy diet should include plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, legumes, and healthy fats. If possible, avoid foods that are high in fat, sugar, refined flours, sodium and cholesterol. Although these foods might not directly make your Bell's palsy episode worse, they prevent the body from functioning at its optimal level, which could delay healing.

Vitamins and Minerals

Foods for Bell's Palsy
Seafood is high in vitamin B12, B6 and zinc. Photo Credit mpessaris/iStock/Getty Images

Consuming plenty of vitamin B12, vitamin B6 and zinc will encourage nerve repair and growth. Although supplements are available, you can also increase your intake of these beneficial nutrients through your dietary choices. Foods high in vitamin B12 include beef, cheese, seafood, eggs and milk. Excellent sources of vitamin B6 include spinach, peppers, tuna, cauliflower, bananas and broccoli. To increase your daily intake of zinc, focus on oysters, seafood, pork and zinc-fortified breakfast cereals.

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References

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