Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a brain disease that deteriorates the brain’s myelin sheath, a protective fatty layer that insulates your brain’s nerve fibers. MS is a result of the immune system attacking this sheath and damaging the nerve fibers it protects. This disrupts the brain’s ability to properly communicate with the rest of your body. Multiple sclerosis affects the central nervous system, spinal cord, and optical nerve.
While the effects of the disease vary from person to person, multiple sclerosis symptoms may include vision loss, balance issues, coordination problems, fatigue, and pain. Knowing how to control the disease is important in preventing symptoms that may occur. In addition to taking doctor prescribed medications, such as Ocrevus, Vumerity, Kesimpta, Aubagio, Mayzent, and Zeposiato, the foods we eat directly affect our health. For people who suffer from multiple sclerosis, the food they eat can be helpful, while other foods can exacerbate symptoms. It is important to know common trigger foods for MS to help prevent flare-ups. Establishing a multiple sclerosis diet optimized with your health in mind, can be beneficial, and lend a hand in preventing debilitating multiple sclerosis symptoms from arising as frequently or as severely.
Let review some trigger foods for MS so they can be avoided when creating a multiple sclerosis diet:
Avoiding sodium and foods that contain a high level of sodium should be a priority. A study published in 2015 found that those with diets that contained high levels of sodium were at a greater risk for relapses and development of new lesions. Sodium also leads to high blood pressure which reduces the life expectancy of people who suffer from MS. Checking sodium levels in the foods you consume is integral to the start of a healthy diet. Avoid using additional salt and opt for seasoning mixes that are sodium-free as a healthier option.
2. Saturated fats and trans fats
People with multiple sclerosis are at a greater risk for cardiovascular diseases and hypertension which makes MS worse. Saturated fats can be found in foods like animal products like beef and dairy, and certain oils like coconut or palm. Trans fats can be found in some of our favorite snacks like cookies, pies, and cakes. Replace these fats with healthier fats like omega 3s found in salmon, or the vitamin-rich fats found in avocados. Doing so will reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease which greatly impacts MS.
Sugar is an inflammatory food that can exacerbate symptoms of MS having a negative impact on your health. Additionally, sugar can cause fatigue, a symptom that many people with MS already suffer from. Sugar may increase these feelings of fatigue. Reducing the amount of sugar can decrease symptoms of fatigue for those who suffer from MS.
4. Refined carbs
Foods like pasta, white rice, and white bread can increase blood sugar. This may lead to diabetes and or weight gain, both of which can result in negative effects for people who have MS.
Creating a diet to help support the body when suffering from MS can be beneficial. Incorporating healthy foods like whole grains that support heart health, omega 3s that support cognitive functioning, and fruits and vegetables that provide necessary supportive vitamins, can serve as a preventative measure against ms flare-ups. Eliminating foods that work against prevention can have a positive impact on your daily life.