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Multiple Sclerosis Diet


Multiple sclerosis is a nervous system disorder that affects the spinal cord and the brain. It essentially damages the myelin sheath in the body. The myelin sheath is a thin material that protects the nerve cells. This damage hinders the transfer of messages between the body and the brain, which eventually leads to multiple sclerosis. This disease is more common in women than in men, and it usually occurs between the age of 20 and 40. People suffering from osteoporosis are more prone to multiple sclerosis.

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Diet for Multiple Sclerosis


Maintaining good health is very essential for people suffering from multiple sclerosis. A balanced diet that is carefully planned will help in keeping healthy. Specialists and consultants recommend patients of multiple sclerosis to stick to a low fat diet, but a high fiber, diet.

Foods to Include


Not all diets have shown great effects. However, it has been proved that foods low in saturated fats, are good for patients of multiple sclerosis. Foods for multiple sclerosis must include the right amount of nutrition along with supplements. Foods supplemented with Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids show good results. Less consumption of red and fatty meats may be helpful. Some of the foods for multiple sclerosis patients are as follows:

  • Skimmed milk
  • Nonfat buttermilk
  • Nonfat cottage cheese
  • Nonfat sour cream and yogurt
  • Cooking sprays
  • White bread, sourdough bread and whole wheat bread
  • Shredded wheat
  • Puffed rice
  • Whole grain pastas are preferred over refined pastas
  • Condiments, except mayonnaise
  • Trimmed white chicken and turkey

Whole grain products must be taken in good amounts daily. This is because refined products have very little amount of vitamins in it, and vitamins are very essential for multiple sclerosis patients. All types of breads are permissible. Cold and hot cereals are considered good therapy for multiple sclerosis. Condiments such as relish, taco sauce, herbs, spices, mustard, etc. are permissible, but mayonnaise is to be avoided. Unsaturated oils are very essential to keep the skin and hair nourished. Foods for multiple sclerosis must comprise of proteins, which is essential for tissue growth and repair, carbohydrates and sugar, which is necessary for energy, fats that are required to absorb certain vitamins, fiber for good digestion, vitamins and minerals for bone strength and tissue repair, and fluids for the optimum working of the body.

Foods to Avoid


Since it is clear that low fat foods are preferred, foods that should be avoided by patients for multiple sclerosis are those that have a high fat content. Foods to avoid include:

  • Margarine
  • Lard
  • Butter
  • Hydrogenated oils
  • Dairy products
  • Cocoa butter
  • Yolk of the egg
  • Mayonnaise
  • Processed meat products
  • Red meat

Items such as pastries, muffins, cakes and pies must be avoided since they contain hydrogenated oils that are harmful for people suffering from multiple sclerosis. Foods containing more than one gram of saturated fat must be avoided as well. Intake of caffeine and alcohol must be limited as it increases the urge to urinate and also causes insomnia. A maximum of three cups of beverages containing caffeine can be consumed, but in extreme cases, it should be avoided completely.

Multiple Sclerosis Health Tips


If you’ve been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, some of the health tips to fight the symptoms and facilitate therapy are as follows:

  • Opt for speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy
  • You could use of assistive devices like wheelchairs, walkers, bed lifts, etc.
  • Engage in a proper exercise program
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle with good amount of rest and nutrition
  • Make sure to avoid stress, fatigue and illness
  • Change eating habits and consult a doctor if swallowing problems persists
  • Make sure to refrigerate unsealed oils to avoid rancidity

Additional Info

Causes

  • Genetics
  • Environmental factors like stress and smoking
  • Infectious factors
  • Vascular problems

Symptoms

  • Weakness in the muscles and fatigue
  • Problems in balance and coordination
  • Memory and thinking problems
  • Loss of sensations like numbness and prickling
  • Bowel problems
  • Hearing loss
  • Low blood pressure
  • Blood does not clot readily

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing multiple sclerosis is quite difficult since its symptoms and signs are quite similar to other disorders. Some of the diagnostic tools for diagnosis include neuroimaging, magnetic resonance imaging, and analysis of cerebrospinal fluid. While there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, some of the following therapies have shown to be helpful:

  • High dose of intravenous corticosteroids
  • Plasmapheresis
  • Treatment with interferon
  • Hyperbaric oxygenation
  • Herbal medicines, example, cannabis
  • Fingolimod

Prevention

  • Avoid consumption of alcohol
  • Limit consumption of caffeine
  • Olives and avocado must be eaten on daily basis
  • Vegetables rich in minerals and vitamins must be taken

References:

Submitted on January 16, 2014
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