Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune condition where the immune cells start eating away the myelin sheath around neurons. In the absence of this outer covering, nerve cells progressively lose the ability to conduct impulses to muscles and organs. This leads to symptoms like difficulty in walking, bowel and bladder movements, blurred vision, tingling sensation, pain, depression, and dementia.
Over the years, several scientific studies have found that if the body is encouraged to repair myelin sheath, MS can be prevented from progressing. There’s no sure-shot diet that you can follow for this purpose but including certain foods can help cope with the disease better.
5 Dietary Changes To Be Made In Multiple Sclerosis
The Swank, ketogenic, fasting mimicking and paleo diets garnered a lot of attention for being beneficial for multiple sclerosis. However, due to the lack of solid scientific evidence in their support, it’s alright to adopt any diet as long they have the following.
1. Go For Healthy Fats
Studies have revealed that people with MS have a higher risk of developing heart disease. Good fats increase good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol levels. This prevents atherosclerotic changes in blood vessels that can cause cardiovascular diseases.1
2. Increase Your Fiber Intake Through Whole Grains
People affected with MS are already vulnerable to issues with digestion. Therefore, it’s important for them to have foods that don’t irritate the gut or affect bowel movements. Make it a point to have whole grains
If you are already sensitive to gluten, it can worsen with MS. In that case, avoid gluten grains like wheat and choose gluten-free ones like amaranth, buckwheat, rice (brown, white, wild), millet, quinoa, sorghum and teff.
3. Have Lots Of Fresh Fruits And Veggies
A plant-based diet with lots of citrus fruits, berries, leafy greens, and legumes have found to be excellent at reducing inflammation in the body. Antioxidants, vitamin B12, C, and D have the ability to avoid free-radical damage to body cells.
Researchers have found that vitamin D can particularly help in the regeneration of myelin sheath around nerve cells. Individuals with MS, therefore, should get daily exposure to the sun to prevent any deficiency.3
4. Choose Lean Protein
Having lean proteins in the form of white meat from chicken and turkey, low-fat dairy, fish, quinoa, beans, eggs, and legumes can provide the body with essential proteins. Adequate protein intake is necessary for building muscle and strengthening bones.
Many individuals with multiple sclerosis experience muscle wastage with disease progression for which high proteins and daily exercise are mandatory.
5. Limit Sugar And Salt Intake
Refined sugar and high-sodium in salt are a strict no-no for people with MS. Long-term studies have revealed that high intake of sodium and refined sugar can worsen the symptoms of MS.
Junk and processed foods are high in both sodium and refined sugar. It’s advised to cut back
Ultimately, eating right and having a daily exercise regimen is crucial for preventing any chronic disorder including multiple sclerosis. In the absence of any special diet for MS, it’s best to keep your food choices as nutritious as possible. This will help you manage the symptoms better without allowing the disease to intensify and affect your quality of life.5
|↑1||Jadidi, Elham, Mohammad Mohammadi, and Tahereh Moradi. “High risk of cardiovascular diseases after diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.” Multiple Sclerosis Journal 19, no. 10 (2013): 1336-1340.|
|↑2||Bowel Problems. National Multiple Sclerosis Society|
|↑3||Yadav, Vijayshree, Gail Marracci, Edward Kim, Rebecca Spain, Michelle Cameron, Shannon Overs, Andrew Riddehough et al. “Low-fat,
|↑4||Zostawa, Jacek, Jowita Adamczyk, Paweł Sowa, and Monika Adamczyk-Sowa. “The influence of sodium on pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis.” Neurological Sciences (2017): 1-10.|
|↑5||Diet & Nutrition. National Multiple Sclerosis Society|