Multiple sclerosis is categorised as an autoimmune disorder. It destroys the myelin sheaths that protect the nerve fibres. As the disease progresses, it will begin to damage your nerves permanently, impacting the ability of your brain to communicate with your body.
It affects over 2.1 million people across the world, making it one of the more common neurological disorders. It is also probable that women will be diagnosed with the disorder than men. The progression of multiple sclerosis differs from person to person, and researchers are yet to determine what causes it as well as how to cure it. While a diet may not cure the disease, it can help people suffering from the disease better manage their symptoms and improve the quality of their lives.
The Symptoms Of Multiple Sclerosis
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis can include the following:
- Tingling and numbness
- Movement difficulties and spasticity
- Learning and memory difficulties
- Bladder and bowel dysfunction
- Impaired vision
Using A Diet To Manage The Symptoms Of Multiple Sclerosis
When it comes to a diet that’s multiple sclerosis friendly, foods rich in antioxidants, high in fibre and that is packed with calcium and vitamin D are a good place to start. Finding ways to supplement nutritional deficiencies, more specifically, vitamins A, B12, and D3 can also help to reduce symptoms.
Ongoing research has found that ketogenic diets can lessen the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, although this needs to be further investigated. Another study has also found that following a palaeolithic diet can assist in reducing fatigue in multiple sclerosis.
Foods to include in a multiple sclerosis diet are:
- Fresh vegetables and fruit: They’re rich in vitamins, minerals, fluids, and fibre as well as antioxidants to protect the body’s cells.
- Rice, oats, and quinoa – although most grains will be beneficial
- Seeds and nuts
- Fish, specifically those rich in omega 3 and vitamin D as it can reduce inflammation and help keep bones strong.
- Dairy products
- Healthy fats, for example, olive and avocado oils
- Foods rich in probiotics, such as yoghurt
- Water and herbal teas
- Fresh herbs and spices
Celiac disease is common in people suffering from multiple sclerosis, so it’s best to avoid gluten whenever possible. If you have multiple sclerosis and begin to experience discomfort when eating bread, pasta, or any other gluten-based products, please notify your doctor.
Other foods to avoid include processed meats, junk food, refined carbs, sugary beverages, fried foods, and alcohol. Essentially, you want to give your body all the vitamins and nutrients it needs to battle the disease, and this means eliminating any unhealthy dietary options.
When it all boils down to it, there’s no real dietary guideline when it comes to living with multiple sclerosis. However, certain dietary changes can assist in reducing fatigue and bridging any nutritional deficiency gaps. In doing so, you will improve your quality of life by making the symptoms a bit more manageable.
If you’re unsure about what foods you should be eating, or if you’re looking to try a new diet, please speak to your doctor.
Diet has loads of benefits for your health and wellness. Learn about these when you do our Health and Wellness Coach course. Read more here.