Studies show that eating a healthy diet which includes fruits, vegetables and whole grains may lower disability and reduce symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS). In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibres and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body.
Multiple sclerosis signs and symptoms may differ from person to person. They may include: Numbness or weakness, vision loss prolonged double vision, tingling or pain in slurred speech, fatigue, dizziness and impaired coordination.
The definition of a healthy diet focused on eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains and less sugar from desserts and sweetened beverages and less red meat and processed meat. The participants were divided into five groups based on how healthy their diet was.
The findings showed that people who took the healthy diet were 20 per cent less likely to have more severe physical disability, nearly 50 per cent less likely to have depression, 30 per cent less likely to suffer severe fatigue and more than 40 per cent less likely to have pain. A healthy lifestyle was defined as having a healthy weight, getting regular physical activity, not smoking eating a healthy diet with more fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains and less sugar from desserts and sweetened beverages and less red meat and processed meat.
Researchers also assessed whether participants had an overall healthy lifestyle, which includes having a healthy weight, getting regular physical activity, eating a better than average diet and not smoking.
People with the healthiest diet were 20 percent less likely to have the more severe physical disability than people with the least healthy diet. Those with the best diet ate an average of 1.7 servings of whole grains per day, compared to 0.3 servings per day for those with the least healthy diet. For fruits, vegetables, and legumes the top group had 3.3 servings per day while the bottom group had 1.7 servings per day.
The study also looked at whether people followed a specific diet, including popular diets such as Paleo, weight-loss plans or diets that have been touted in self-help books and websites as beneficial for people with MS, such as the Wahls' diet. The researchers found that overall, past or current use of these diets was associated with modestly reduced risk of increased disability.