Diet for MS

Current recommendations suggest that Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients should eat a varied and balanced diet, as every person should, to ensure getting all the nutrients that the body needs.

It has not been shown scientifically that following a special diet helps with MS, nor that any diets are effective long term.

Current recommendations suggest that MS patients should eat a varied and balanced diet, as every person should. Following this kind of diet is the best way to ensure that you are getting all the nutrients that your body needs.

You should avoid constipation and being overweight, two factors that can generate disorders.

 1. Vitamins for Multiple Sclerosis

The best way to ensure that you are getting all your vitamins is to eat a balanced and varied diet, rich in fruits and raw vegetables.

People who experience a high level of stress and smokers who have not been able to quit will need additional vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamins B, B6 and E. Women who take birth-control pills will need additional vitamin supplements.

It is best to consume vitamins directly by eating fresh food. The act of preparing and processing foods, as well as the cooking process, destroys a good portion of the original vitamins. In addition, self-medication and taking synthetic vitamins carries the risk of vitamin overdose. As a result, you should educate yourself and follow your doctor’s advice.

In order to preserve the vitamins in food it is recommendable to:

  • Purchase vegetables frequently and in small quantities.
  • Keep vegetables in the refrigerator.
  • Wash vegetables thoroughly, but do not leave them soaking in water.
  • Abstain as much as possible from peeling fruits and vegetables, as the majority of the vitamins are found in the skin. Cook potatoes with their skins on, preferably.
  • Cook food in as little water as possible, to avoid losing vitamins through dilution.
  • Short cooking times at elevated temperatures preserve vitamins better than long cooking times under moderate heat.
  • Do not prepare vegetables ahead of time (for two meals for example).
  • If you would like to peel carrots or make orange juice, you should do so just before drinking/eating them. Vitamin C is destroyed upon contact with air.

2. Proteins

To achieve a balanced diet for MS, consuming equal portions of animal and vegetable proteins is recommended.

A blend of different cereals like barley, wheat flakes and whole-grain oats (“muesli”), which constitute a rich source of protein, is very appropriate for breakfast.

Consuming bread and dried legumes (cooked in little fat, and if possible, with oil instead of with sausages) is recommended.

Try to limit your consumption of meats and meat products.

3. Fats

Limit your consumption of fats (they constitute the largest source of calories and are a major cause of obesity) and substitute animal fats for vegetable fats.

Use olive oil for cooking instead of other types of oils, as olive oil better resists the heat of cooking. Avoid consuming margarine and vegetable fats.

4. Carbohydrates and sugars

Decrease your consumption of sugar as well as sugary items (cakes, ice cream and refreshing drinks).

Consumption of bread, potatoes, dried beans, rice and a mix of cereals is recommended as these are a good source of energy, vitamins, minerals and fiber.

5. Minerals

Decrease your daily consumption of salt with meals.

Our bodies absorb iron from animal sources better than from vegetable sources. Iron is also absorbed better in the presence of vitamin C (e.g., citrus products, kiwi, etc.). On the other hand, coffee has the opposite effect.

6. Water

Water is, above all, the most indispensable element for your hydration and metabolic balance. Consume a minimum of 2 liters of water per day.

7. Fiber

Consumption of fiber is the best treatment for constipation. It is found in fruits, vegetables, bread, whole-grain cereals, dried legumes…

General recommendations

In order to ensure a balanced diet for MS, you will find a series of general recommendations below:

  • Eliminate all obvious fat (the fat on meats) and skin before cooking meats and poultry.
  • Use techniques like steaming and cooking using a microwave, which reduce the fat content of foods.
  • Animal fats (butter) should be substituted with vegetable oils (olive oil, sunflower oil, etc.).
  • Consume at least two pieces of fruit and two portions of vegetables (one raw and another cooked) each day.
  • Increase your consumption of legumes, cereals, bread, pasta and brown rice.

Alcoholic beverages aggravate fatigue, weakness and balance problems. As a result, their consumption should be avoided.

References:

1. US National Multiple Sclerosis Society: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/
2. Drs. M. Murie and E. Moral (2011): Espasticidad en Esclerosis Múltiple, ISBN: 978-84-15198-27-7, Luzán 5, S.A., Madrid, Spain

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Disclaimer

This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. You should consult with your health care professional for specific advice relating to your medical questions or condition. Only your practitioner can completely and appropriately assess your situation and make conclusive decisions regarding your care.