Discover the transformative impact of a special diet for Multiple Sclerosis patients. Uncover dietary strategies that may support symptom management and overall well-being. Explore nutrition choices tailored to address specific needs, potentially enhancing quality of life. From anti-inflammatory foods to personalized meal plans, delve into dietary approaches that align with MS management. Empower yourself or your loved ones with insights into the role of nutrition in Multiple Sclerosis. Navigate the complexities of dietary choices to optimize health and well-being in the journey with MS. Elevate your understanding of a special diet’s potential benefits for individuals navigating Multiple Sclerosis.
Multiple Sclerosis is a long-lasting autoimmune disease that attacks the nervous system, causing numbness, weakness, and tingling. While there is no cure for MS, diet can play an important role in managing its symptoms. Many people with MS find that specific foods help them feel better and have less difficulty dealing with their condition.
The right diet with multiple sclerosis can also help prevent the chances of relapse from increasing. This diet includes avoiding certain foods altogether or limiting them to certain times weekly.
What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic disease that causes the immune system to attack the body’s nerve cells and affects the spinal cord, responsible for sending signals from your brain to your body. The symptoms of MS vary from person to person, but they often include the following:
- Sensitivity to light touch or noise
- Limping on one side (this can be mild or severe)
- Seizures that come with dizziness, blurred vision
- Numbness in parts of your face (including lips)
MS is a very complicated disease, and each person’s experience is unique. Although doctors aren’t entirely sure of the exact cause and treatment for MS, immunological, environmental, and genetic variables are said to have a crucial role.
How Does Nutrition Impact MS?
Although nutrition cannot treat MS, some studies indicate that changing one’s diet may aid those with the disease in better managing their symptoms. So ultimately, the right diet for multiple sclerosis can enhance their standard of living.
Nutrition is important to everyone, but it’s especially critical for people with multiple sclerosis. If you’re wondering how nutrition impacts MS, the answer is simple: a good diet can help prevent or control its progression, manage symptoms and reduce flares. This, along with adjusted multiple sclerosis exercise, can help people with the condition live more comfortably.
Special Diets For Multiple Sclerosis
Several dietary methods have been established for multiple sclerosis, aiming to meet the body’s nutritional needs while avoiding substances that can aggravate inflammation. Still, no exact diet is universally advised for persons with MS. The Swank diet and various iterations of the Wahls diet are specifically designed to aid in slowing the progression and preventing MS flare-ups. Within the MS community, these diets are well-liked.
Here are some of the recommended diets for people with MS:
1. Swank Diet
The Swank Diet helps in preventing and treating multiple sclerosis. This diet restricts saturated fat, cholesterol, and total calories as they can make your body more vulnerable to the effects of MS. The Swank Diet also advises using vitamin E and selenium supplements to help reduce oxidative stress on the central nervous system (CNS).
Some claim that by sticking to this diet, they have felt better and experienced fewer relapses. However, there isn’t enough published research that shows undeniable proof that this diet can lower relapse rates.
Another option is the low-fat vegan diet – the McDougall diet. Mcdougall diet was modeled after the Swank diet but completely excluded dairy, meat, and fish. The meal plans contain a lot of whole grains, fruit, and vegetables and are heavy in carbs. This is helpful since weight loss is one of the goals of managing the condition.
It has been demonstrated to improve MS-related fatigue and aid in weight loss in patients, although further conclusive study is still needed.
Another manageable diet for multiple sclerosis is the Mediterranean diet which emphasizes consuming fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. The Mediterranean diet is also low in meat and dairy products, so it suits people with multiple sclerosis. However, it does include lots of monounsaturated fat from olive oil or nuts.
This type of fat has been shown to reduce inflammation in the brain (as well as other parts of your body).
The Mediterranean-style diet also consists of omega-3 fatty acids from fish or flaxseeds; fiber from wheat bran; vitamin C from citrus fruit; and vitamin D through sun exposure. Also includes calcium through dairy products like yogurt (a great source of calcium); and iron from red meat but not chicken because they contain too much sodium (which can increase uric acid levels).
This diet has a well-established positive impact on cardiovascular health. Giving it a try could have some important benefits for those with MS. Studies have shown that a diet high in healthy fats, low in salt and saturated fats, and high in fruits and vegetables may be beneficial for brain health, which may also affect MS patients’ neurodegeneration.
If you have interest in following a more restrictive diet than the paleo diet, then Dr. Wahls’ modified paleo protocol might be right for you. This alternative paleo diet involves eating foods high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Supplements, meditation, and exercise are all included in the Wahls protocol.
The plan consists of eating:
- high-quality protein every day (such as eggs or meat)
- lots of vegetables, including leafy greens like kale or spinach,
- healthy fats such as avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), extra virgin coconut oil, or
- raw cacao nibs instead of sugar whenever possible
This diet focuses on food that comes from hunting. Eating meals that are supposed to be comparable to those that early humans consumed before the development of farming and agriculture are part of the Paleolithic or Paleo diet. The diet mostly consists of the following:
However, processed foods, grains, beans, potatoes, cereals, dairy products, and eggs are prohibited.
There is proof that a Paleo diet can help reduce tiredness and improve the quality of life in patients. However, because the diet cuts out many large food groups, it may develop the risk of nutritional insufficiencies. MS patients must work with their healthcare team to ensure that their nutritional needs are adequately met.
Diet Rich In Fiber
Fiber is important for every person, especially those with multiple sclerosis, as it helps to nourish gut bacteria and can help manage cholesterol levels. Fiber also helps maintain regular bowel movements, reducing constipation and increasing your energy level by increasing the speed of food digestion.
When planning the perfect diet for multiple sclerosis patients, remember that the best type of fiber for you is “insoluble.” You can find this in whole wheat bread, brown rice, other whole grains, and prunes or juice. Your body doesn’t completely digest this fiber; thus, it passes through.
Most people should strive to ingest at least 25 grams of fiber each day as it helps avoid constipation, a major symptom for people with MS. Make sure to drink enough fluids every day since they absorb water.
Fish oil is a supplement that may help reduce inflammation and improve symptoms in people with MS. A fish oil is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, essential fatty acids that must be obtained through diet. Omega-3s not only have anti-inflammatory properties but also help reduce pain and fatigue associated with MS.
Vitamin D Rich Diet
Osteoporosis, a disorder that makes your bones brittle and more likely to break, is a risk if you have MS. Research shows that vitamin D may have a protective effect from MS, as well as reduce the severity of MS symptoms.
Oily fish like salmon, yogurt, eggs, cereals, and fortified orange juice are wonderful food sources of Vitamin D. Sunlight aids in the production of Vitamin D nutrients by your skin.
Vitamin D supplements can also be an option if you cannot get enough from food sources or sun exposure. However, some risks are associated with taking these supplements, including hypercalcemia (excess calcium in the blood), which causes kidney stones and calcification of soft tissues like muscles and fat cells.
Antioxidants are a form of food or supplement that helps to prevent free radicals from damaging cells. Free radicals are molecules that can be harmful to your body, so antioxidants help to neutralize them.
Antioxidants are found in fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries and spinach; beans; nuts (almonds, hazelnuts); seeds (sunflower seeds); whole grains, such as brown rice; seafood like salmon; legumes (lentils).
Research has shown that eating foods rich in antioxidants may help slow the progression of multiple sclerosis.
Probiotics are microorganisms that have been found to affect health positively. They can be found in yogurt, kefir, and kombucha. These help the digestive system by increasing the number of good bacteria in your gut and reducing inflammation in the body.
A probiotic supplement contains live cultures of beneficial bacteria that help keep your immune system strong against harmful organisms like viruses and other germs that cause disease. These supplements are also useful for people who don’t get enough probiotics through their diets because they’re easy to take once or twice daily without side effects.
Foods People With MS Should Avoid
Avoid processed foods. They are high in sugar and sodium, increasing your risk of developing MS-related complications such as nerve damage and inflammation. You should avoid foods with saturated fats, such as butter and coconut oil, which raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the bloodstream, increasing your risk for heart disease.
Following a diet with multiple sclerosis means cutting out sugar, as it can make you gain weight, especially if it’s consumed in the form of sweets. You don’t want to gain weight because it will make it more difficult for you to move around and carry out daily activities.
Wheat, barley, and rye are among the grains that contain the protein known as gluten. Many other people without celiac disease also discover that they feel better overall when they cut out gluten from their diet. However, those with celiac disease, characterized by gluten intolerance, must avoid gluten completely to prevent intestinal damage.
For A Healthier You
Remember that finding the right diet for multiple sclerosis is a big part of managing the condition, along with multiple sclerosis exercises. So the next time you look for a diet to help with your multiple sclerosis, remember these tips and start eating well. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to find what works best for your condition but experiment until you find what works for you. Take advantage of your free 7-day pass at one of our branches near you!