A type of nerve damage affecting the legs and feet, diabetic neuropathy cases increase by 200,000 in the U.S. annually. Brought about by high blood sugar levels, the condition can be debilitating and even fatal. The most common symptoms are pain and numbness in the legs, but the condition can also impact digestive and cardiovascular systems. Since the best treatment is to control blood sugar levels (and ongoing diabetic treatment), here are some foods recommended for diabetic neuropathy patients:

1. Bell peppers
Considered to be a high-fiber food, bell peppers are excellent for diabetics in that they slow down the process of sugar getting absorbed into the bloodstream. This is especially important for people with type 1 diabetes. However, these peppers can also help people with type 2 diabetes, since their high content of vitamin C helps reduce high blood sugar levels.

2. Salmon
Eating salmon is excellent for people who not only have diabetic neuropathy, but also for those who suffer from peripheral neuropathy that was brought on by either diabetes or from an injury or infection. Since it is full of omega-3 fatty acids, it can help regulate blood sugar as well as reduce inflammation throughout the body. Through protective molecules known as resolvins, neuropathy symptoms can sometimes be greatly improved.

3. Brown rice

Full of vitamins, fiber, minerals, and antioxidants, brown rice is considered to be one of the very best foods for combating neuropathy. However, since it is also filled with high levels of carbohydrates, this whole grain will need to be eaten in moderation by diabetics and peripheral neuropathy patients. As to why it is so helpful against neuropathy, researchers have found that many of the compounds that help the growth of rice seed gain strength as the rice is placed into water and cooked. As a result, it is very effective at reducing vascular and nerve damage from diabetes.

4. Organ meats
For diabetics who like to eat meat as part of their meal, organ meats can be very beneficial. Excellent sources of protein, they also have very high levels of vitamin B-12, which is crucial for nerve and red blood cell development. Specifically, vitamin B-12 helps create sheaths that guard nerve fibers, ultimately helping to reduce nerve damage. As for which of these meats should be eaten, look to lamb, beef liver, or kidney.

5. Yams
While many people often eat yams primarily during Thanksgiving, diabetics and others who suffer from neuropathy should consider adding this food to their diet much more often. Like other foods such as potatoes, spinach, and broccoli, this food is very high in lipoic acid, which is a very potent antioxidant. Lipoic acid helps to reduce free radicals, which if left unchecked can do great harm to healthy tissue. By eating this food regularly, diabetics can ensure their bodies don’t have an imbalance of free radicals, while also ensuring their bodies have the ability to fight them.

Since eating a healthy diet is extremely important for those who suffer from diabetes and neuropathy, incorporating these five foods into a daily diet may bring about significant improvements. Whether it’s the fish, meat, whole grains, or vegetables mentioned here, putting these foods on the menu in place of fried foods or processed foods may be the start to neutralizing the damage brought about by neuropathy.