Food is more than just energy. Diets have a profound effect on everything in an individual’s life. Some foods can help the body heal or interfere with the recovery/healing process from injury/s and/or conditions that include sciatica. Making changes to a diet plays a significant factor in the recovery/rehabilitation phase, and adding certain foods will improve and expedite the healing process. A fully functional sciatic nerve nutrition diet plan must be personalized to each individual’s needs.
Sciatic Nerve Nutrition
Sciatica can cause numbness, tingling, electrical shock-type pain, or a combination in the back, hip, outer side of the leg, and foot. Clinical nutrition is a powerful tool when combating sciatica. Enzymes in certain foods can help reduce the inflammation associated with sciatica. A high percentage of individuals dealing with sciatica can enhance pain relief by adjusting their diets. Quick recommendations include:
- Oily fish like salmon and halibut are rich in omega-three fatty acids that decrease inflammation in the body and the sciatic nerve.
- Fresh pineapples and berries are anti-inflammatories that aid in healing and increase immune system function.
- 2-3 cups of green tea contain antioxidants that help control peripheral sensations and help manage pain.
- Turmeric, ginger, and garlic contain anti-inflammatory agents that relieve swelling by reducing levels of inflammation-stimulating enzymes.
- B-Vitamins are essential to maintain normal nerve function and can be found in green peas, spinach, navy beans, nuts, and bananas.
- Magnesium-rich foods can ensure the body is not deficient and help control muscle spasms.
- Foods rich in Vitamin A
- Foods rich in Vitamin C
- Vitamin K sources
- Proper body hydration
Sciatica can also be triggered by a poor diet that causes constipation that can place pressure on the nerve. Therefore it is recommended to incorporate fiber-rich foods that include plenty of fruits and vegetables to prevent constipation.
Foods That Make Sciatica Worse
Inflammatory foods to avoid:
- Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
- Trans fats include margarine and any hydrogenated/solidified or partially hydrogenated oils.
- Refined vegetable oils – These are vegetable, nut, or seed oils that have been highly processed. Cut down on french fries, chips, or other foods fried in these oils.
- Refined carbohydrates – Carbohydrates that have fiber removed increase the growth of inflammatory gut bacteria. These include white flour, refined corn products, white rice, and various commercial cereals and sugars.
- Excessive alcohol – Moderate amounts of alcohol can provide health benefits, but higher amounts increase inflammation.
- Processed meats – are often processed at high temperatures, creating chemicals/substances associated with inflammation.
Spinal Decompression Can Get Rid Of Sciatic Nerve Pain
Davis D, Maini K, Vasudevan A. Sciatica. [Updated 2022 Feb 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507908/
Garfin, SR et al. “Spinal nerve root compression.” Spine vol. 20,16 (1995): 1810-20. doi:10.1097/00007632-199508150-00012
Kumar, M. Epidemiology, pathophysiology and symptomatic treatment of sciatica: A review. nt. J. Pharm. Bio. Arch. 2011, 2.
Safari, Mir Bahram, et al. “Efficacy of a Short-Term Low-Calorie Diet in Overweight and Obese Patients with Chronic Sciatica: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.) vol. 26,6 (2020): 508-514. doi:10.1089/acm.2019.0360
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