Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disabling disease of the central nervous system that includes the brain and spinal cord. The immune system attacks the myelin, which is the protective sheath that covers the nerve fibers. This causes communication issues between the brain and the body. The disease can cause permanent nerve deterioration. The multiple sclerosis symptoms include weakness or numbness in the limbs, electric shock sensations with neck movement, lack of coordination, tremors, and unsteady gait.
People with MS should avoid certain foods:
1. Butter and other full fat dairy products
Foods that are high in saturated fats like red meat, cheese, butter, and other dairy should be eliminated from a healthy Multiple Sclerosis diet because they can worsen the MS symptoms. Opting for unsaturated fats and non dairy products is also a healthy way for MS prevention.
2. Refined sugar
Processed and refined sugar is highly inflammatory, and should be avoided by those with Multiple Sclerosis. Eliminating it from the diet will also help maintain a healthy weight which is essential for MS patients because extra weight can increase fatigue related to MS which is one of the early warning signs of MS. Extra weight can also contribute to mobility problems, and it can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
3. Caffeine and alcohol
Alcohol and caffeine should be used moderately by people who have MS. Most alcoholic beverages are made with barley and rye which contain the protein Gluten. Some people with MS are gluten intolerant, and may have a high incidence of celiac disease which is an autoimmune disease caused by gluten intolerance. This could cause intestinal damage. Alcohol is also a depressant for the central nervous system. Caffeine exhibits urinary and bladder issues.
4. Refined grains
Foods such as white rice, bread, potatoes, and all refined grains contribute to high blood sugar levels, and they increase the risk of diabetes and obesity.
5. Monosodium glutamate
Popularly known as MSG, this substance is called an excitotoxin. It can cause more damage to the myelin sheath. MS patients should avoid any foods that contain MSG. It is suggested that food labels be read before purchasing foods that may contain it. This includes eating in restaurants and fast food establishments.
6. MS and vitamin D
Vitamin D supplements seem to be safe for people with Multiple Sclerosis, but high levels can result in changes in the body’s calcium levels. It is also a concern that reduced levels of vitamin D in the blood could be a risk factor for MS.
Multiple Sclerosis has no cure as yet. The treatments are focused on speeding the recovery from attacks, managing the symptoms of the disease, and slowing down the progression of the disease. Most people with MS are on a rigid drug program to help reduce as many of the symptoms as possible, and improve the quality of life and well being of the patients. The symptoms may appear to indicate other disorders, but doctors can do tests to determine the presence of the disease if the symptoms lead in that direction.