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Can your diet affect your sciatica?

Diet and Sciatica

If you have experienced sciatica symptoms, you will be all too aware of how painful it can be. You may be looking around for ideas on how to manage it, in the hope of avoiding future flare-ups. An important part of treatment which is often overlooked is your diet – what you consume can have a real effect on your condition, and a few small changes could bring big benefits.

A healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is something we should all be aiming for. But what is good for sciatica in particular? When sciatica strikes there will be higher than normal levels of inflammation around the sciatic nerve so it makes sense to adjust your diet accordingly to reduce the levels in your body. Saturated fats are known to increase inflammation, so avoid red meat, fried food, high-fat dairy products and any processed foods.

This is not to say that all fats are bad – in fact, you need healthy fats in your diet. It’s good news if you enjoy seafood, as trout, salmon and mackerel are all sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which will help your body in the healing process by promoting healthy inflammation. If fish isn’t for you, you can also get these fats from walnuts and flaxseeds.

B vitamins are important for nerve health, and if your diet is deficient in them you may struggle to heal nerve damage, so as a sciatica sufferer it makes sense to increase the amount in your diet. You can get your B vitamins from a wide range of food including salmon, eggs and mushrooms. Magnesium is vital in controlling muscle spasms and can improve the symptoms of sciatica, which you can get from fish and dairy products. A diet that is low in potassium is not favourable for sciatic symptoms, so eat dark leafy greens such as spinach, or try apricots and bananas.

Vitamin supplements can help if you are very low on one of the vitamins or minerals mentioned above. However, making some of these small changes to your diet will bring long lasting benefits, not just for your sciatic pain, but in all aspects of your life.

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