What Foods are Bad for Neuropathy? 6 Types of Food to Avoid

Last Updated on May, 2024

Have you been diagnosed with neuropathy? Or feel like you may have some of its symptoms?

It can be terrifying to think about which food you might be eating that is causing an increase in your nerve pain. Neuropathy becomes a debilitating disease when you are not careful with the meals you consume. 

Don’t fret. This article will cover the foods to avoid with neuropathy and what food might be good for you.

Quick Summary

Foods to avoid neuropathy include alcohol, foods high in sugar, glutenous products, foods with saturated fats, salty foods, and caffeinated products.

The leading cause of neuropathy is diabetes, followed by alcohol and nutrient deficiencies.

Good foods to consume for neuropathy include leafy green vegetables, sprouted grain bread, whole grains, nuts/seeds, decaffeinated products, alternative dairy products, and natural sugars.

What are the Foods to Avoid if You Have Neuropathy?

Sugar foods in the plate
Foods With Saturated Fats
salty food
coffee on the table

It can be nerve-racking to sort out the food you can or cannot eat. Once you know what food to eliminate from your diet, setting up good meal plans becomes easy. The list given below is the foods to avoid with neuropathy. 

1. Alcohol

One type of neuropathy is alcoholic neuropathy which results from excessive drinking. 

It is a type of peripheral neuropathy where chronic alcohol consumption causes nerve damage, which activates the immune system, specifically cells called spinal cord microglia, that promote the burning pain you feel. 

The best solution is to reduce your alcohol intake to prevent nerve inflammation. 

2. Sugars and Carbohydrates 

Foods high with a high glycemic index are the main cause of neuropathy worse than alcohol.

Weight and sugar intake plays a major role in damaging nerve function. Once the nerve cells are damaged, there is no efficient nerve impulse transmission that can lead to loss of feeling and muscle weakness. 

To preserve your nervous system function and prevent peripheral neuropathy, avoid raising your blood sugar levels and opt for natural sugars.

3. Glutenous Products and Grains

Glutenous products are especially dangerous for neuropathy if you have gluten allergies. The first step is to acknowledge gluten allergies. You know what that means: no refined carbs like pizzas and white bread. 

Living with Celiac disease and neuropathy can be frustrating, but those tasty meals aren’t worth it if it means staying in the toilet for hours with nerve pain to boot. 

Peripheral axonal neuropathy is caused by gluten sensitivity; therefore, avoiding refined carbohydrates can improve your nerve health.

4. Foods With Saturated Fats

These are the worst kinds of food to eat as they are unhealthy for not just neuropathy but your overall health. Fired or processed foods can worsen neuropathic symptoms.

Foods with saturated fats can also cause additional inflammation and digestive issues as the body cannot properly digest them.

5. Salty Food

Salty foods cause high blood pressure, which can, in turn, restrict blood flow. Additionally, high levels of sodium cause fluid retention, which can lead to swelling and worsening of neuropathy symptoms. 

However, sodium is important for the body in aiding nerve function. Therefore, the solution isn’t to completely cut out salt from your diet but eliminate items such as potato chips and fast foods.

6. Caffeinated Products

Caffeinated products are bad since they can worsen neuropathy symptoms such as tingling and muscle spasms if taken in excess.

Although caffeine might not damage your nerves unless taken in large doses, it can cause unnecessary stress and worsen peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

How Does Food Affect Neuropathy?

a human's Neuropathy Leg

Food affects neuropathy in a variety of ways. Some food can act as aggressors and worsen symptoms such as pain or cause more nerve damage. 

Especially food with excess sodium can lead to more nerve damage by causing high blood pressure that restricts blood flow. Avoiding inflammatory foods is the best way to be safe 

What is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is generally the first stage of neuropathy. This is when the nerves in the peripheral nervous system (arms and legs) are damaged.

What are the Neuropathy Symptoms?

The symptoms commonly experienced are muscle weakness, burning pain, numbness, and loss of sensation. However, the symptoms come in stages. 

Since the first place to be affected is your peripheral nervous system, pain, and numbness in your extremities are what you will experience. As neuropathy progresses, it will affect your muscles, and you might start losing sensation and balance.

What is the Leading Cause of Neuropathy?

The leading cause of neuropathy is diabetes, followed by alcohol and nutrient deficiencies.

With a growing population of diabetic patients, diabetic neuropathy is rising due to the high sugar intake across the world.

What are Some of the Good Foods to Consume for Neuropathy?

Leafy green vegetables and fruits

We have discussed certain foods to cut out of your diet, but what can you eat?

Neuropathy patients should eat foods high in anti inflammatory properties. If you are battling neuropathy, here is a list of some anti inflammatory foods to take.

  • Leafy green vegetables – full of fiber, minerals, and vitamins especially vitamin B
  • Sprouted grain breads/ whole grains or any gluten-free products
  • Drink decaffeinated products and alternative dairy products.
  • Nuts/seeds – contains healthy fats and make good snacks. 
  • Natural sugars – fruits

These foods might not give you the heavenly bliss of processed food or fatty meats, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make enjoyable healthy meals.


Battling neuropathy is exhausting as it is; the last thing you want is to turn it into a debilitating condition due to the food you eat. Neuropathy can be dangerous as it starts with just a few symptoms and progresses to the point you can’t move.

Most of the food in this list is already bad for your health, such as fried foods, starchy foods, and alcohol. Dietary restrictions can be annoying, especially when you get those late-night cravings for processed foods. But a healthy diet can keep your nerves healthy. 

Now that you know the types of inflammatory foods to avoid, the best thing to do is make a healthy meal plan!


Diabetic Neuropathy affects patients by causing peripheral neuropathy, resulting in nerve damage to hands and feet, leading to symptoms such as nerve pain, numbness, and complications in the urinary tract, blood vessels, and heart.

Food that is high in sugar or carbohydrates can worsen diabetic neuropathy, while fatty food and alcohol can generally exacerbate nerve pain symptoms.

Was this article helpful?

Photo of author
Milner Bradley
Milner Bradley has had over 15 years of experience in Health, Nutrition, research, and Journalism. His articles are extemely researched and experience and all the posts are verified by scientific findings. He shares his knowledge Here at Extreme Health Guides. Read more about us.

Leave a Comment