Eight Foods That Fight Chronic Pain for Diabetics

Diabetics fight chronic pain every day. It is their number one complaint. But you can actually fight pain by what you eat. Here are eight known pain fighters.

These will help you in the battle against neuropathies and nerve pain. All of them are natural and available at your grocery store.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is the number one condiment in the Mediterranean diet.

This oil has been tested down to its smallest molecules, and its benefits are proven.

It is full of antioxidants that specifically inhibit the mechanism of pain.

Olive oil may be one of the biggest reasons the Mediterranean diet is so good for diabetics.

The saturated fats in the Western diet are known to incite inflammation, so switching to olive oil will reduce your chronic diabetic pain.

Want to learn more of the benefits of olive oil and other superfoods for a diabetic?

Whole Grains

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Whole grains like whole wheat and quinoa have lots of fiber. That fiber does not just help you lose weight.

It also buffers the high carbohydrates that raise blood sugar and trigger an inflammatory response. Fiber levels out insulin production too.

Also, whole grains are full of the vitamins and minerals that are missing from processed grains. Take magnesium for example.

Whole grains have an abundance of this wonderful mineral.

Magnesium reduces muscle pain, which is one reason whole grain is on the list of foods fight chronic pain.


The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon and some other cold water fish help fight chronic pain.

They also have vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. Not getting enough vitamin D causes chronic pain in joints and muscles.

Many of us don't get enough sunshine, so any source of vitamin D will help reduce neuropathy.

There is enough vitamin D in three ounces of salmon to take care of half the recommended daily dose. That makes it a chronic pain fighter.


The high levels of calcium and vitamin D in dairy foods create stronger bones, and that reduces the chances of skeletal problems.

But dairy products are known for inflammatory effects and allergic reactions like lactose intolerance. That makes them problematic.

As type 2 diabetics, most of us avoid drinking milk and eating dairy products. Lactose is a kind of sugar, and cheese is packed with calories.

Besides the calories and insulin problems, milk products can make chronic pain worse by increasing inflammation.

What can you do? One solution is yogurt. It has enzymes that make milk easier to digest.

This reduces the inflammatory effects. So you can have the calcium and vitamin D you need as well as all the other good things that are in yogurt.

Read labels and watch for the added sugars in most yogurt products. You could try a true Greek yogurt for higher protein counts, but look for one that has less sugar added.

Turmeric and Ginger

Turmeric is a spice used in Indian and Thai cooking. It has been proven to lower the inflammation of arthritis.

It performed better than an anti-inflammatory medication and better than ginger in research studies.

Ginger has analgesic action similar to aspirin. People take it as a supplement for nausea and dizziness, but it also works to reduce the pain of arthritis.

These spices added to foods will fight chronic pain. They are anti-inflammatory and have none of the bad side effects of medications.

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

Spinach and arugula are full of vitamin K that promotes strong bones and healthy joints. It also lowers pain.

One cup of raw spinach has more than 100% of the daily requirement of vitamin K.

Be aware that vitamin K is a natural blood thinner as well. That means you need to talk to your doctor if you are already taking a blood thinner like warfarin or daily aspirin.

Let him know if you are eating vitamin K rich spinach or arugula every day. He may want to adjust your blood thinners dosage.


There is a lot of vitamin C in strawberries and blueberries. Add to that all the antioxidants in berries of all kinds, and you have a powerful aid to fight chronic pain.

Eating berries slows the loss of cartilage in joints, one of the major causes of chronic pain in arthritis.

There is so much good stuff in berries that they are on all of the superfoods lists for diabetics.

Add some strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, or whatever berries you like best to your diet every day. Your joint pain will improve.


Cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage are common cruciferous vegetables. All of these contain sulforaphane. This substance reduces inflammation in arteries.

Added to the antioxidants and vitamins they contain, this makes broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage a good addition to your diet.

But if you have any thyroid problems, be aware that sulforaphane can make goiters worse.

Another problem is the substance that makes these vegetables good for fighting pain also produces a strong smell and taste.

Some people cannot get past the smell, but if you can do it, add them to your eating plan. They are great low glycemic diabetic foods.

Other Ways to Fight Chronic Pain

Besides adding these foods, there are some other things you can do to help fight chronic pain. Those who do not sleep well have worsened pain. But chronic pain makes sleep worse, which leads to more pain.

If you smoke you are promoting pain and adding to poor sleep. So when you stop smoking you will improve your pain and sleep better.

There are good sleep strategies that will help. Better sleep will improve all of your diabetic complications.

An overweight body puts extra stress on joints and skeletal muscles, so if you lose weight your pain will improve.

Of course all kinds of stress will worsen pain. So finding ways to lower your stress, both physical and mental, will improve pain levels.

Avoid These Foods and Lower Your Pain

There are also foods that diabetics with chronic pain need to avoid completely. On the list you find simple sugar, including the hidden sugar in processed foods.

Avoid cooking oils that are high in omega-6 with little or no omega-3. Especially avoid trans fats.

You will find them in deep fried foods, fast foods and store bought baked goods. Read labels and look for the words "partially hydrogenated" and "vegetable shortening."

Here is a list of foods you should keep to a minimum if you have chronic pain: dairy products, red meat, processed meats, alcohol, refined grain, and artificial food additives like MSG and aspartame.

Remember, Everyone Is Different

It is important to find the things that trigger chronic pain for you and avoid them. Having a personal list will be a powerful tool to fight your pain.

Try the foods that are supposed to help, find the ones that work for you and use them every day. Some will not help you at all. That's because you are unique. What works for others may not work for you.

But one thing is universal. If you will keep exercising in spite of chronic pain, your type 2 diabetes will improve. So will weight control. In the end your pain will improve too.

The diabetic cure of exercise is the reason you need to fight chronic pain. Staying active must be a priority if you want to keep diabetes from becoming your life.

  • "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own and you know what you know. And You are the one who'll decide where you go." Dr. Seuss

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