Today, there are many anti-inflammatory drugs found in the market that promise to ease nerve and other chronic pains while calming allergic reactions. While these drugs do actually provide quick and often temporary relief, prolonged use is not advised. This is because in the long term, medications like steroids and NSAIDs weaken the body’s immunity and causes other health side effects. Hence, many doctors and nutritionists advice patients to consider an anti-inflammatory diet for nerve pain.
Inflammation is basically the immune response of the body towards toxins. It is caused when the immune system works overtime to remove toxins and purify the body. This causes pain and may trigger other chronic diseases in the long run like strokes, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids
Omega 3 is essential to the body because it helps to improve the body’s nervous system by coating nerves with myelin sheath that acts as insulators found in electric wires. Foods rich in Omega 3 include walnuts, canola oil and fish such as salmon. In addition, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, flaxseeds and fish supplements also contain Omega 3.
Other fatty acids like Omega-6 (n-6) also help reduce inflammation resulting in nerve pain. They are incorporated into the body’s cell membranes. Foods here include catfish, tilapia as well as oils from safflower, corn, cottonseed and sunflower. In addition, extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil have polyphenols that protect the heart and other blood vessels from being inflamed.
There are literally thousands of natural compounds that are found in plant foods and help prevent inflammation in the body. This helps relieve nerve pain. Broccoli and cauliflower are not only nutritious but also contain anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients like sulforaphane. They help rid the body of carcinogenic compounds.
The sweet potato is a root vegetable that has complex carbohydrates, manganese, vitamin C and B6 as well as beta-carotene — all powerful antioxidants that reduce inflammation. Another vegetable with similar nutritional elements is spinach that has additional flavonoids and carotenoids. It also has vitamin B2, B6, A, C, E and K. Furthermore, it contains calcium, iron, folate, potassium, tryptophan and magnesium.
Sea vegetables like kelp (kombu, wakame, and arame) are rich in fucoidan, an anti-inflammatory agent. It is also anti-oxidative and anti-tumor. However, only vegetables harvested from unpolluted sea areas should be consumed.
Fruits like Pineapples contain bromelain enzyme to fight inflammation. Other fruits contain flavonoids that blocks the production of prostaglandins (pro-inflammatory molecules). These fruits include apples and berries. Berries like blueberry, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries also contain phytonutrients that protect against cancer and dementia. Papaya contains papain enzyme that digests proteins, improves healing from burns and reduces inflammation.
Other Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Green tea contains flavonoids that aid in reducing inflammation. Mushrooms like shiitake, enoki, maitake and oyster have immune boosting properties. Spices like turmeric and ginger contain curcumin that is non-toxic and has anti-inflammatory effects.
Maintaining a good anti-inflammatory diet for nerve pain is the best action to take as opposed to relying on drugs and steroids. This is because, as one grows old, reliance on these healthy and natural foods eventually ease the excruciating pain that comes with nerve conditions. In addition, foods nourish the body with vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.