By Heli Rostoker a certified dietician.
There are a number of diets that have been researched in the context of multiple sclerosis, among them:
The Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet consists of high consumption of fruits, vegetables and grains. Olive oil is a major source of fat in this diet, as well as its moderate consumption of fish and products and low consumption of red meat. The Mediterranean diet reduces inflammation and helps regulate the gut microbiome. Both fruits and vegetables have a beneficial effect for those dealing with MS.
The Paleolithic diet
Or in its other (and perhaps more familiar) names: Paleo, The Ancient Man Diet, or Dr. Terry Wals’ Protocol.
This diet is characterized by the consumption of green leafy vegetables, meat, eggs and fish (preferably organic from locally grown), vegetables (besides root vegetables), olives and olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, (cold pressed).
Avoid processed foods, including industrial and refined oils (soybean oil, cotton, sunflower, etc.), sugar, grains, soy and legumes. Studies report that this diet may improve the fatigue of MS patients.
Two other completely different diets in essence can both have benefits in the context of MS:
The diet focuses on the very low consumption of saturated fat, and focuses on eating starches, fruits and vegetables. In this diet one avoids eating meat, fish or fatty dairy products. People with MS who followed the Swank diet showed a lower risk of recurrence, disease progression, and reduced mortality. Although the mechanism of action is not yet known, it has been suggested that a reduction in fat intake may protect against inflammation and demyelination.
The ketogenic diet is very low in carbohydrates and high in fat. Because the amount of carbohydrates in the diet is very small, the body uses fat for energy source and produces antibodies that are released into the bloodstream and probably have anti-inflammatory effects. Studies have shown that a ketogenic diet may improve measures of fatigue, depression and quality of life in people with multiple sclerosis.
For further details:
Stoiloudis, P. Kesidou, E. Bakirtzis, C. Sintila, S.-A. Konstantinidou, N. Boziki, M. Grigoriadis, N. The Role of Diet and Interventions on Multiple Sclerosis: A Review. Nutrients 2022, 14, 1150. https://doi.org/10.3390/ nu14061150
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