Sciatica Diet Nutrition For Irritated and Inflamed Nerves

Sciatica diet to decrease inflammation

The term “sciatica diet” can be confusing, because there is no magic diet that can cure the disorder. There are changes, however, that you can make in how and what you eat to help you feel better more quickly.

In sciatica, the largest nerve in the body becomes inflamed. This can cause a tremendous amount of low back, hip, buttocks, and/or leg pain. This shooting pain due to nerve inflammation is often accompanied by numbness or tingling. If the inflammation can be reduced by a sciatica diet, symptoms may improve.

Food to include on a sciatica diet

food, pyramid, balance

You can help reduce inflammation by including anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory fatty acids in your sciatica diet. To help fight inflammation, try to increase these foods in your sciatica diet:

  • Fiber-rich foods: Vegetables and fruits, (especially fresh), and whole grains. Legumes, seeds, and nuts are also rich in fiber.
  • Oily fish: This includes mackerel, sardines, halibut, herrings, and salmon. These are rich in omega-3s and help reduce inflammation in a sciatica diet.
  • Green tea: This has anti-inflammatory properties and should be included in a sciatica diet. Try drinking green tea hot or iced; 2 or 3 cups per day.
  • Spices: Certain spices have been shown to have anti-inflammatory potential. Ones to try on your sciatica diet include garlic, turmeric, and ginger.
  • Pineapple: This fruit is rich in anti-oxidants and should be included in a sciatica diet.

Vitamins for a Sciatica Diet

All vitamins are needed to maintain health, but the vitamins listed below may be especially helpful in controlling inflammation as part of a sciatica diet.

  • Vitamin A: This vitamin is an anti-oxidant. Vitamin A itself isn’t naturally found in food, but beta-carotene is, and the body transforms beta-carotene into vitamin A. To increase this anti-oxidant in your body, increase the amount of beta-carotene in your sciatica diet by eating more:
    • Mangoes and apricots
    • Carrots and sweet potatoes
    • Green, leafy vegetables and broccoli
    • Dairy products, cheese, and yogurt
    • Oily fish and eggs
  •  B vitamins: These vitamins fight inflammation when included in your sciatica diet. They are found in:
    • Green peas and spinach
    • Whole grains and unpolished rice
    • Navy beans, pinto beans, and legumes
    • Spinach and sweet potatoes
    • Bananas
    • Fortified cereals and breads
  • Vitamin C: This is an anti-oxidant. You can increase vitamin C in your sciatica diet by eating plenty of:
    • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
    • Citrus fruits
    • Broccoli, spinach, and cabbage
    • Tomatoes
    • Yellow vegetables and green vegetables.
  • Vitamin K: Good sources of vitamin K to include in a sciatica diet include:
    • Broccoli
    • Vegetable oils
    • Alfalfa sprouts
    • Dark green vegetables


As part of your healthy eating plan to fight inflammation, don’t forget to hydrate. You need to add at least eight tall glasses of water to your sciatica diet. Water flushes out toxins that are produced by the inflammatory process and it keeps all your body's systems functioning in the correct balance. 

man, water, park

What to avoid on a sciatica diet

  • Animal products: The first two weeks of a sciatica diet are especially important. For just these two weeks, while starting the sciatica diet, avoid all animal products except fatty fish.
  • Vegetable shortening and partially hydrogenated oils: These products should be avoided on a sciatica diet as they increase the body’s production of hormones that are linked to increased inflammation.This includes margarine and the following oils:
    • sunflower
    • safflower
    • sesame    
  • Stressors: Many substances in the diet can increase inflammation because they elevate the body’s stress hormones. They include:
    • Alcohol
    • Caffeine

Changing your eating habits to follow a sciatic diet requires commitment. Your symptoms of inflammation will not disappear overnight. Try to be patient when you do not experience immediate pain relief.

Stick to your sciatica diet and try to wait at least 14 days before re-assessing your pain. Then assess whether or not your symptoms have improved. Consistency is the key to success on any diet, including a diet to reduce inflammation. When you experience relief from your symptoms, you will be glad you tried the sciatica diet.

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