Nutrition and Multiple Sclerosis: Are We Asking the Right Question?
Over the last year or so I have written numerous articles about MS and diet. While there are certainly food choices and habit modifications that can contribute to wellness and help with individual symptom management, there is no dietary pattern has been proven to cure MS or alter the MS disease course.
Nutrition and Multiple Sclerosis, Are We Asking The Right Question?
Rather than asking how to eat specifically to address MS it might be more helpful to ask: what eating pattern is associated with optimal health and wellness? Consider this: Evidence suggests that people with MS who have one or more comorbid health conditions experience a decreased quality of life and an increase in disability. MS is a disease with a poorly understood diversity of outcomes. Comorbidity might potentially explain this diversity. Changes to diet and habits can have a big impact!
The diet and habit guidelines supported by the American Heart Association, The American Stroke Association, The American Diabetes Association and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) are linked with better health outcomes for many of the chronic health conditions common in people living with MS. By following these recommendations you are likely to improve your overall health, reduce your risk of comorbid diseases associated with MS.
Here is a brief summary of these recommendations:
- Eat a variety of nutrient dense foods including:
- Lean proteins
- Colorful vegetables and fruits
- Whole grains
- Beans and legumes
- Nuts and seeds
- Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids
- Lowfat Foods rich in calcium
- Eat less of these foods that offer few benefits:
- Foods and beverages high in calories but low in nutrients
- Limit or avoid added sugars
- Reduce sodium intake. From the salt shaker as well as from sodium contained in refined, processed convenience foods.
- Limit the amount of saturated fat that you eat. Avoid trans fats entirely.
- Don’t regularly consume more calories than you use. Doing so can lead to excess body fat which can increase your risk for comorbid diseases and contribute to systemic inflammation.
- Be physically active
- Don’t smoke