For many with multiple sclerosis, diet does not seem to be the obvious thing to manage their symptoms. Multiple sclerosis affects the central nervous system. The body’s immune system begins to attack the central nervous system. A person will start experiencing symptoms such as tingling, weakness, and pain. There might be mood swings, trembling, and fatigue. These symptoms may flare or relapse. To manage these symptoms better, a person needs to undergo therapy and medication along with exercise and a healthy diet. Eating certain foods may alleviate the symptoms. Also, avoiding certain foods may help in avoiding triggers that cause symptom flare-ups.
Foods that will help
Foods rich in antioxidants, biotin, probiotics, and vitamin D can help strengthen the immune system. This can help in avoiding flare ups and alleviating some of the discomfort associated with MS.
Gut health is extremely important for those with progressive relapsing multiple sclerosis. The gut contains bacteria that break down food and help with digestion. A good gut health is therefore essential since it also gives a boost to the immune system. Probiotic foods such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut contain beneficial bacteria. These strengthen the immune system, which helps to alleviate the symptoms of MS.
Probiotic foods bring in good bacteria in the body. To help these bacteria do their work, it is essential to eat prebiotic foods as well. Prebiotic foods are often rich in fiber. These include asparagus, leeks, onions, garlic, and chicory.
People who have MS often experience constipation. Eating foods rich in fiber will keep the bowel movements smooth. Foods such as whole grains, lentils, kidney beans, and split peas can give relief from constipation. Also, add fresh vegetables such as carrots, beets, sprouts, broccoli, artichoke, and fresh fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, apples, avocados, and pears to the MS diet.
People with low vitamin D have a weak immune system. This increases the probability of flare ups. Also, multiple sclerosis symptoms become severe with a weak immune system. The lack of vitamin also brings about low calcium levels and other illnesses such as common cold, cough, and so on. Adding vitamin D enriched foods will help to strengthen the immune system. Although there are not many foods rich in vitamin D, adding vitamin D fortified drinks such as orange juice and milk can be helpful. Additionally, increase the intake of lean protein such as skinless chicken, lean meats without visible fat, and turkey along with fish such as trout, herring, tuna, salmon, sardine, and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
A form of vitamin B, biotin is also known as vitamin H. For those with progressive multiple sclerosis, where the symptoms gradually become severe, foods rich in biotin can be helpful. Biotin is usually found in spinach, almonds, whole-wheat bread, sunflower seeds, and broccoli.
Avoid these foods
While eating nutritious food to tackle MS, it is essential to stay away from certain other foods as well. Foods that contain are known to aggravate MS symptoms and cause flare-ups.
Ready-made meals and packaged foods have high levels of hydrogenated oils, trans fats, and saturated fats. Moreover, these have added sodium and sugar. Processed foods such as packaged chips, cookies, instant noodles, and instant pastas can be detrimental to health and trigger MS symptoms.
A diet rich in sodium or salt can cause a relapse in MS symptoms. A moderate to high intake of sodium can lead to the development of newer symptoms of progressive relapsing MS. It is recommended to watch salt intake. Instead of salt, fresh herbs and spices rich in antioxidants can be used to season all meals.
People who have multiple sclerosis are at a high risk of cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. These diseases worsen the symptoms of MS. The risk of this becomes higher if the diet contains red meat such as beef, veal, pork, lamb, and mutton. It is also recommended to avoid processed meat such as hot dogs, ham, sausages, corned beef, canned meat, and beef jerky.
With constipation being one of the common issues faced by most MS patients, foods with low-fiber will only make it worse. Limit the intake of foods such as white bread, white pasta, white rice, and dairy products.
About 80 percent of patients with progressive relapsing multiple sclerosis have bladder-control issues. Artificial sweeteners and additives irritate the bladder and aggravate bladder issues. Foods such as sugary beverages, store-bought cookies, and other baked goods, and candy bars should be avoided as far as possible.
Beverages high in caffeine and alcoholic drinks can make it difficult to sleep. A high intake of these can be detrimental for those with MS since multiple sclerosis often causes insomnia. A cup of coffee or a glass of wine won’t cause much harm, it’s better to avoid piling on with these. Herbal and soothing teas can be a good substitute.
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