8 Foods That Fight Chronic Pain in Type 2 Diabetes

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Diabetics fight chronic pain. It is a familiar problem because neuropathy is the number one complaint for a long term diabetic. So anything that will help us fight chronic pain is going to get our attention.

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What foods can diabetics eat freely?

Diabetes Superfoods Diet

Here is a list of eight foods that fight chronic pain in a type 2 diabetic, and why they work so well.

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.

Whole Grains

Whole grains like whole wheat and quinoa have lots of fiber. That fiber helps you lose weight and buffers the high carbohydrates that raise blood sugar and trigger an inflammatory response. Fiber levels out insulin production too.

And whole grains are full of vitamins and minerals that are missing from processed grains. Take magnesium for example. Whole grains have an abundance of it. Magnesium reduces muscle pain, making whole grain one of the foods that 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. Low levels of vitamin D create chronic pain in joints and muscles.

Most 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 too.

As type 2 diabetics, most of us avoid drinking milk. 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 do 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 added sugars, and try a good Greek yogurt for higher protein counts.

Turmeric and Ginger

Turmeric is used in Indian and Thai cooking, and 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. So it is one of the foods that fight chronic pain.


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.


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 in berries that make them superfoods for a diabetic, so add some strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, whatever you like, to your diet every day. Your joints will thank you.


Cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage are common cruciferous vegetables. All of them 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 these vegetables also can make goiters worse.

The same thing that makes these vegetables good for fighting pain also produces a strong smell and taste. Some people can’t get past that, but if you like them, they are great diabetic foods.

Fighting 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. It’s a vicious cycle.

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 improves diabetic complications and makes blood sugar easier to control.

Being overweight puts more 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.

There are also foods that diabetics with chronic pain need to avoid completely. The list includes 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.”

Keep these foods 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.

Everyone Is Different

It is important to find the things that trigger chronic pain in you and avoid them. Having a personal list will be a powerful tool to fight chronic 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 me may not work for you.

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

That’s why it is so important for a diabetic to fight chronic pain. Staying active needs to be a priority at any age, and that goes double for a type 2 diabetic. I wish you the best.

“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

Martha Zimmer invites you to visit her website and learn more about type 2 diabetes, its complications and how you can deal with them, as well as great tips for eating healthy that will make living with diabetes less painful.

Go to [] and find out what you can do to avoid many of the pitfalls of this life-changing condition, like paying for cures that don’t work and spending money for things you could have gotten free. Martha has made the mistakes and done the research so you don’t have to.

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