According to one study, shifting to a diet based on plants might ease the nerve pain in those with diabetes which may occur due to the condition, and might lower the risk of losing a limb. In fact, more than half of people with T2D may have diabetic neuropathy.
This is nerve damage that occurs due to high levels of sugar in the blood and poor circulation of the blood.
This condition happens due to peripheral nerve damage and it might impact the whole body. However, it usually impacts the feet and hands, leading to weakness, numbness, and pain.
Diabetes is believed to lead to neuropathy since it inhibits the ability of the body to convey messages about pain and temperature correctly. Read on, to find out more about the diet that can help relieve this type of nerve pain.
According to this study, a vegan, plant-based diet might help in the treatment of diabetes.
In this study, the scientists placed 17 adults who have diabetic neuropathy and are overweight on a low-fat diet that emphasized fresh vegetables and complex, high-fiber carbs like whole grains and beans.
Also, the participants took a vitamin B12 supplement and attended nutrition classes on a weekly basis. When it comes to vitamin B12, we should know that this is a nutrient that is vital for the suitable function of the nerves but it is only found naturally in animal products.
In this diet, we need to eliminate all animal products such as fish, dairy, and meat while substituting foods high in GI, i.e. glycemic index. Such foods are sugar, cold cereals, and white potatoes.
Low GI are sweet potatoes, oats, and lentils. The participants were also asked to limit their intake of high-fat foods and to eat 40 g of fiber on a daily basis, through the consumption of legumes, fruits, vegetables, and grains.
There was also a control group of approximately 17 adults who got the B12 supplement, but they maintained their non-vegan, current diet.
In comparison to the control group, the group who followed a vegan diet had notable improvements when it comes to pain relief. Also, the tests revealed improved nerve function and circulation, and the participants lost around 14 pounds.
Furthermore, many participants in the intervention group saw improvements when it comes to their ability to control sugar levels which allowed them to lower the dose of the diabetes drug.
Another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2001 by scientists at George Washington was done on this topic.
This study came to the discovery that simple lifestyle changes such as exercise and diet, are twice more efficient at controlling the condition. This is in comparison to the leading medication, metformin.
Many of the participants said that they were impressed by how rapidly they improved their glycemic control and lost weight thanks to this plant-based diet.
According to Well, it is rewarding to see the reactions of the patients, since it indicates that they are doing something which works.
But, this study was limited since the scientists couldn’t determine which element of the plant-based, low-fat diet led to the improvements.
It might be that getting in shape- which is no easy task for most people- led to a reduction of neuropathy pain. Based on the estimation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the annual direct cost of treatment for diabetes is around $175 billion.
The scientists noted that the cost of a plant-based diet is within reach of most budgets.