Chances are high that sciatica will affect you at some point in your life. It can happen at any given moment. But, knowing that you are reading this, odds are high you already suffer from this condition. Yes, there are various treatments but a proper sciatica diet can be a worthy ally and something that will have a huge effect on your condition. Below, we will discuss all the main points you need to know regarding this topic.
Sciatica Diet: At A Glance
Sadly, there is no complete sciatica diet that you can use and get the perks needed. What this means is that you cannot get meal plans and use them accordingly. You will need to look at the variables and specifics so you can create the best diet for you. Sadly, there are millions of foods and beverages out there so listing all the good and all the bad is impossible. Instead, we are going to teach you how to tell a difference all by yourself.
The goal of this diet is to consume foods that will help you with sciatica pain. This should be done in two ways. First, you need foods that will fight inflammation. Sciatica causes large spine-related inflammation and all the foods that can decrease it are beneficial. Secondly, you need foods that will speed up recovery by providing essential nutrients your body craves for. Last but not least are all the foods that will protect you from another sciatica pain!
All foods and beverages that offer one, two, or all three benefits mentioned above are desirable and just right. Yes, we will still mention the best foods for this purpose, but now you know how to tell a difference and decide if a particular food suitable for you and your condition.
According to experts from all over the world, people suffering from sciatica need to consume foods that contain vitamin B12 and help fight inflammation. Some examples include lamb and cheese. Foods rich in magnesium should be considered as well. Fish, brown rice, and seafood are all rich in magnesium so they should be included in your diet in large amounts. Vitamins B is essential for nerve recovery, while magnesium is mandatory for proper muscle health.
Some patients will consider supplements that are designed for inflammation-related conditions. You can see remedies such as St. John’s Wort, curcumin, or bromelain. They are all beneficial and should be consumed alongside any diet. We prefer a proper food-based diet rather than supplements. By eating the right foods, you will get all the perks and all additional nutrients that your body needs. With supplements, you get one thing only.
Suggested article: Magnesium For Sciatica Pain – Is It Worth It?
Best foods for sciatica
The best and the most effective way how we can explain the sciatica diet is to tell you a few best foods you should consume. All of these met the criteria we have presented above. This means that they are safe, they are anti-inflammatory foods and these also offer additional health-related benefits. Yes, you will see that all of the foods on the list are healthy and commonly featured in many diets around the world.
Pineapple is one of the best foods you can get when looking for an additional way to fight sciatica. The reason for that is an enzyme called bromelain. It is a wonderful ingredient when it comes to fighting inflammation. Bromelain can also speed up muscle recovery, fight arthritis, swelling, sore throat and so much more. It is a healthy nutrient that was proven to work well against various conditions and disorders by countless surveys.
The best way to eat pineapple is raw. By using this option, you are getting the most nutrients and the best ingredients that are fresh, strong, and capable. You can add it in salads or eat it in any other way, but fresh pineapple is still the best.
Sometimes, the best food can be the least appealing. This is definitely the case with Broccoli. It has been the least-desirable, superfood you can think of. This vegetable comes from a cruciferous family and it is closely related to cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. We can see high levels of nutrients and also fiber, minerals, and countless vitamins.
For sciatica, we are more interested in Sulforaphane, a compound that is found in this vegetable. It fights inflammation and also offers protection against cancer. These are just some of the health benefits broccoli has to offer. The full list is very long.
Parsley is important thanks to flavonoids. These compounds are found in almost all nuts, plants, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Apigenin is one of them and it is especially high in parsley. This is extremely effective in fighting inflammation. It can help you with sciatica pain and speed up the recovery. In addition, some studies have shown that this compound can fight off inflammation seen in arthritis and lupus.
Sadly, this isn’t a type of food all of you will like, but it is extremely effective and should be included in your diet. In general, it is healthy and comes with many additional benefits and nutrients that can help you lead a better and healthier life.
Anthocyanins are found in grapes and most other plants. These are color pigments and they give blue and red color to the plants such as grapes. But, these are also responsible for helping your body fight inflammation. There are two ways how these compounds work. First of all, they will increase the count of molecules that your body uses to fight inflammation. Secondly, they will also decrease the cells that promote inflammation. As you can see, this is powerful food for all people with sciatica or any other inflammation disorder.
Adding grapes to your diet is as simple as it gets. During the summer, you can add them to smoothies. You can eat them raw or incorporate them in some other meal. Just make sure you eat fresh grapes. After 2 days, they are far from fresh and they won’t taste good.
Soybean isn’t a very popular type of food. As a matter of fact, we can add that only a handful of people consume it frequently. Now you will see why this is a mistake. The main explanation is closely related to Genistein, a compound found in this food. It fights inflammation, as you may know already. But, it is so powerful that it can be effective in helping people with arthritis, metabolic disorders, diabetes, chronic pain and so much more. In other terms, it can help you with sciatica pain. There are all kinds of recipes on the web that use soybeans and almost all of them are very easy to make.
Celery contains Apigenin as well. We are not going to explain the effects on sciatica again. But, it also contains vitamin B and it is mandatory for all people with sciatica due to the fact it helps the body recover nerve damage. Celery is loaded with vitamins A, C, folate, and potassium. As you may know already, it is a powerful food that should be consumed in large amounts.
Green and black teas are great allies for fighting all kinds of inflammation. White tea can be consumed as well. All of them will load your bloodstream with polyphenol and many other ingredients that will decrease inflammation across the body. All herbal teas have extremely high levels of antioxidants so you also get additional health benefits. The best thing here is the ability to choose the tea you like the most and use it on a daily basis. Of course, not all teas will be suitable for all people.
Onions are probably featured food on any health-based diet or one of the foods humans need to eat more. They are essential for sciatica as well. The compound that will affect inflammation and help you recover is quercetin. It is very potent and has been confirmed in almost countless studies conducted all over the globe.
One advantage here is the ability to easily add onions to your diet. There are countless recipes that require onions and will even taste better with this ingredient. Some individuals prepare almost all of their meals using opinions so you can get a better idea of how popular and desirable this food is.
Blueberries have been consumed by people suffering from inflammatory diseases for years. They contain anthocyanin and phytochemical which are both useful when fighting inflammation. More blueberries, the better. You should try to eat them fresh as long as you can. But, during the winter you can consume frozen blueberries. They are still able to provide these compounds which is the main reason you will consume blueberries in the first place unless you really like the taste.
10. Leafy greens
Leafy greens are especially beneficial for sciatica patients thanks to high levels of magnesium. It can promote the recovery of the sciatic nerve and also decrease the inflammation significantly. The best examples here are collard greens, Swiss chard, baby spinach, and kale. You can eat as much as you like and add these to all kinds of foods and meals. Be free to experiment as well. There is nothing wrong you can make. All you can get are benefits.
Those of you who are interested in food or even a beverage that isn’t on the list should use the previous section where we have discussed all the factors these foods must meet. While good food will help you with sciatica, bad foods will have a negative effect.
Foods to avoid with sciatica
There is a different side of the story. While all of the foods above are healthy, they affect sciatica in a positive way, and can help you recover in less time, bad foods will do precisely the opposite. Those foods are known to promote inflammation or affect the damaged sciatic nerve. As such, you can expect symptoms worsening, more pain, and a much longer recovery time.
Sadly, there are countless examples you can see. Some of those foods are also our favorite food we have been consuming for years. This is even worse. Regular and consuming these in large amounts will have a huge side effect on sciatica and can even cause it! The worst foods for people with sciatica are:
- Processed meats
- Vegetable oil
- Fried foods
These are the worst of the worst but there are many more. Keep in mind that all the foods that can promote inflammation, contain artificial chemicals or large amounts of sugar must be avoided. Artificial colors and sweeteners are extremely bad. Not only these can promote sciatica pain but can also cause cancer and countless other health issues and diseases. Avoiding them is the best thing you can do, period.
Best diet plans for sciatica
If you recall, we mentioned that there is no sciatica diet. That being said, many people believe that they can get the best results using some, pre-made diet that is available online. Below you can see complete diet plans that are well-known and popular. Most of these have been with us for years or even decades. We will try to explain the links between diets and sciatica so you know which ones can be used by you. Without further ado, let’s begin.
1. Mediterranean Diet
Mediterranean Diet is commonly known as the healthiest diet in the world. It has been considered a masterpiece and extremely popular. During the diet, you should eat fish, fruits, vegetables, use olive oil and so much more. The diet is based on foods that actually have anti-inflammatory properties and they also have other benefits.
Although this diet isn’t developed for people with sciatica, it is very effective and can be considered as the best for all people suffering from this condition. It is easy to follow and provides plenty of variations and tastes great. It is slightly expensive and preparing the meals is time-consuming.
2. DASH Diet
This diet is appealing for sciatica sufferers and it can be worthy of your attention. There are a few reasons for that. First of all, it teaches you to avoid processed meat and replace more meals with vegetables. Adding fruits is essential as well. But, it also requires from you to consume more herbs and use more spices. Adding more nuts to the diet is implemented here as well, which is always beneficial. In addition, according to the diet, flour should be replaced with whole wheat flour which is a good thing. Flour isn’t recombined to people with sciatica.
One thing we must mention is that according to the diet, you will need 15-minutes’ walk after a meal. Slow and frequent walking can be more than just important to all people with sciatica. In a nutshell, this is a healthy and appealing diet that can be used by all sciatica patients.
3. Flexitarian Diet
Flexitarian Diet is focused on fruits and vegetables. If you take another look at the list above where we have discussed good foods for sciatica, you can see that most of them are precisely this, plants and vegetables. Thanks to this fact, Flexitarian Diet can be a worthy ally. The diet teaches you how to get the most out of all kinds of fruits and vegetables. It is extremely flexible so you can still make some exceptions or eat what you like when you want it. There are countless recipes out there so you can always prepare something you will actually want to eat.
4. Weight Watchers Diet
Explaining the Weight Watchers Diet is slightly more complicated. First of all, you can eat what you like and when you want. It sounds like a good thing, but not completely. The issue here is that a person can consume foods that will promote inflammation and make his symptoms even worse. This isn’t a diet plan you will want to use if you suffer from sciatica. You should pair it to the points we have mentioned here if you really want to try it.
The only exception is for people who are obese but suffer from sciatica. The Weight Watchers Diet is superb when it comes to weight loss. It is very effective, easy to follow, and comes with all the perks and benefits you can imagine. You must know that being obese or overweight is a huge issue for sciatica. Your body will support more weight, which will affect the nerves and spine negatively.
The best sciatica diet is the one that works best for you. In order to get that you need a diet that will prevent and decrease inflammation, help you with your recovery and protect you from sciatica in general. All of the foods we have listed and explained here are beneficial and will help you achieve that. Take your time and analyze the foods you want to eat. Keep in mind that while good food can help you, bad foods can make your pain much worse.
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