Diet is considered a complementary aspect of treating multiple sclerosis. This means that changing one’s diet has not been scientifically proven to actually modify the disease, but experts do believe that certain foods may play a role in symptom management and may help people live healthier lives.
Foods to include in your diet
General nutrition guidelines for people with MS typically include adhering to a low-fat, high fiber diet, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Below is a list of foods that may be beneficial:
- Soy, rice or almond milk : Some studies have suggested that animal fat found in dairy products is linked to the development of MS. If you use dairy milk, choose low fat. Or substitute dairy milk with unsweetened soy, rice or almond milk.
- Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids: These are considered “good” fats, which may benefit people with relapsing-remitting MS. Sources include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel, plant-based oils, walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds.
- Egg whites: To get the protein without the saturated fat (found in egg yolks), opt for egg whites or a natural egg substitute.
- Broccoli: Broccoli is a good source of fiber, which experts recommend for people with MS. The vegetable also contains a flavonoid called kaempferol, which has been shown to fight inflammation, as well as vitamin B and C and beta-carotene.
- Brown rice: Whole grains provide fiber, which may improve bowel health. Brown rice, oatmeal and whole wheat bread with 2 to 3 grams of fiber per slice are good options.
- In-season fruits: Fruits containing antioxidants may help fight inflammation. Antioxidant-rich fruits include blueberries, cranberries, strawberries and red apples.
Here are some ** more good food choices for MS**.** Foods to eliminate from your diet**
Just as certain foods may help manage MS symptoms, other foods may worsen them. Here are foods that people with MS should consider eliminating eliminate from their diets.
- Coffee: People with MS may drink coffee in part to fight fatigue. But some experts say that caffeine can actually do more harm than good by worsening some symptoms, such as stress and fatigue.
- Dessert: If you have a sweet tooth, choose fruit instead of baked goods or other pastries. Experts usually recommend that people with MS reduce their intake of refined sugar by eliminating from their diet any food containing sugar or sugar derivatives (such as corn syrup).
- Alcohol: Alcohol suppresses the central nervous system and should not be combined with certain MS medications. People with MS have reported that drinking alcohol has resulted in worsening of symptoms, especially those related to balance and coordination.
- French fries: Experts typically recommend that people with MS follow a low-fat diet, so deep-fried foods containing large amounts of saturated fat should be eliminated. Small amounts of olive oil, however, have been shown to be beneficial and help fight inflammation.
- Animal products: Because many animal products contain saturated fat, people with MS should be wary of consuming too much animal-based food . Examples include red meat, butter, ice cream and cheese.
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“Foods to Enjoy.” Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis. Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis, n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2014. <http://www.overcomingmultiplesclerosis.org/Recovery-Program/Diet/Foods-to-Enjoy/>.
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Multimedia journalist with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a master’s in Broadcast Journalism and Public Affairs