Sciatica is a condition where you experience pain in the back, hip and outer side of the leg. This pain can be caused by irritation, inflammation, pinching or compression of a nerve in the lower back and it can vary from person to person. Some dietary changes can reduce the inflammation in the body and help control this debilitating pain. In this article, we will discuss diet recommendations for those who suffer from sciatica.

  1. Nutrients that help with sciatica
  2. Indian diet plan for sciatica
  3. What not to eat in Sciatica
  4. Foods that ease sciatica
Doctors for Diet in Sciatica

Following are some nutrients that can help reduce the pain associated with sciatica as well as improve your overall condition:


Water plays an essential role in every process in our bodies, including the healing process. Try to drink at least 2.5-3 liters (around 10-12 glasses) of water per day. You can replace plain water with detox water by adding a few slices of ginger, parsley, lemon wedges, etc.


Sciatica also triggered by a bad diet, which causes constipation. Constipation usually occurs due to a lack of adequate fiber in your daily diet. To avoid this, try to consume more fiber-rich foods such as millets, whole legumes, psyllium husk, fruits and vegetables.

Omega 3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are also known as phytonutrients. It has shown to decrease inflammation in the body and sciatic nerve pain as well. Omega-3 fatty acids are also known to boost the immune system of the body. For total benefit, add fish such as bhangra (Indian mackerel), surmai (king mackerel), rawas (Indian salmon) and hilsa (herring) to your diet. Have these fish 2-3 times a week. If you are a vegetarian, choose plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as flaxseeds, olive oil, pumpkin seeds and walnuts in your daily diet.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is associated with better nerve health and having a deficiency of B12 is known to be a cause of sciatic nerve pain. Eating foods that are rich in vitamin B12 can help reduce this pain and improve your overall condition. Milk, dairy products, fermented foods, meat and eggs are good sources of this nutrient; add them to your regular diet.


Research has found that magnesium supplements aid functional recovery in many neurological disorders. Another research study states that taking a magnesium-rich diet can help improve neurological function and enhance nerve regeneration in sciatic nerve injury. To add this nutrient to your diet, consume cooked black beans, lima beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, tofu, almonds, cashews, flaxseed, spinach, okra, tamarind, etc.

Following is a sample diet plan for sciatica patients. You can follow this schedule or adapt it as needed for your daily diet:

  • Early morning: Warm water (1 glass) + walnuts (5-7)
  • Breakfast: Bajra porridge (1-2 bowl) + papaya smoothie (1 glass)
  • Mid meal: Orange (1)
  • Lunch: Sorghum chapati (2) + soya or fish curry (1 bowl) + mixed veg (1 bowl) + green salad (1 medium plate)
  • Evening tea: Herbal tea (1 cup) + roasted seeds and nuts (1 tablespoon)
  • Dinner: Vegetable soup (1 bowl) + pea pulao ( 1 bowl) + low-fat paneer curry (1 bowl)
  • Bedtime: Turmeric milk

Some food items can increase the pain in this condition, it’s best to try and avoid them. Following are some such foods:


A research study has shown that levels of the inflammatory marker CRP are increased in people who consumed alcohol. The more alcohol they consumed, the more their CRP levels increased. As a result, having alcohol can increase inflammation and sciatic nerve pain. Alcohol and alcoholic beverages should be avoided and replaced with non-alcoholic drinks such as aam panna, lemon water, buttermilk, fruit punch, etc.

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Packaged and processed food

Most packaged and processed food items contain a high amount of trans fat, bad quality seed oil and a high amount of sodium. This can increase inflammation and water retention in the body, which can worsen your condition. So avoid all packaged and processed food like jam, jelly, ready-to-eat foods and breakfast cereals and replace them with fresh, home-cooked meals.

Simple carbohydrates

Evidence suggests that eating too much added sugar and refined carbohydrates can cause inflammation in the body and worsen the pain caused in sciatica. So it’s best to avoid white sugar, honey, fruit juices, all-purpose flour, sweets, carbonated or energy drinks, cakes, pastries, biscuits, etc.

Certain food items have the necessary nutrients to reduce sciatic nerve pain. Following are some such foods that may help:

Green leafy vegetables

Green leafy vegetables are a good source of all the vital nutrients needed to fight sciatic nerve pain. They are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, etc. Green leafy vegetables should be an essential part of your diet. This food group not only helps with sciatica but also helps regulate weight, lipid levels and blood glucose levels to minimize the risk of many diseases.


If you are suffering from sciatica, adding ginger to your meals can have an anti-inflammatory effect. This spice contains manganese and vitamin B3, which help in the anti-inflammatory process. Add this superfood to your tea, pickle, curry or have it raw as a juice with honey.

Green tea

Green tea is a rich source of flavonoids (a strong type of antioxidant), which helps reduce inflammation in the body and fight free radicals. Research on the topic suggests that consuming green tea on a regular basis can help you control peripheral sensation and manage pain, which is very common in this disease.

Cruciferous vegetables

All cruciferous vegetables are rich in nutrients like beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, etc. A daily dose of cruciferous vegetables is known to reduce inflammation in the body and help control the pain associated with this condition. To gain these benefits, have seasonal cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, radish, turnips, etc in your daily diet.


Onion is one of the most powerful foods that can help in sciatica due to its high quercetin content (a strong antioxidant), which has many health benefits such as cardiovascular protection and anti-inflammatory effects. Adding onions to your daily diet could help reduce sciatic nerve pain as well. You can have it in your salads, soups and curries.

If you are uncomfortable about the bad breath associated with onions, have a spoon of fennel seeds with rock sugar afterwards to avoid this problem.


Turmeric has an active ingredient called curcumin, which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent to help relieve sciatica pain and swelling by reducing levels of certain inflammation-stimulating enzymes. To add this active ingredient to your daily diet, have it with milk or add it to your curries, lentils or tea.

Dr. Dhanamjaya D

Dr. Dhanamjaya D

16 Years of Experience

Dt. Surbhi Upadhyay

Dt. Surbhi Upadhyay

3 Years of Experience

Dt. Manjari Purwar

Dt. Manjari Purwar

11 Years of Experience

Dt. Akanksha Mishra

Dt. Akanksha Mishra

8 Years of Experience


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