Question:

Are there certain types of foods that should be eliminated from the diet if someone has multiple sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis Diet

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the central nervous system. Lesions (plaques) of inflammation build up in the white matter of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. These lesions cause a loss of the myelin sheath. The myelin sheath is an insulation for axons. Axons are responsible for speeding up the movement of the nerve impulses in the brain and spinal cord.

A diet designed for multiple sclerosis patients allows the patients to manage some of the common problems associated with multiple sclerosis. These problems include constipation, incontinence and fatigue. It is hypothesized that the cause of multiple sclerosis is diet-based: an excess or deficiency in a particular food, an allergic reaction to a particular food and the toxic effects of a food.

The general rules of a multiple sclerosis diet are:

Eat a diet high in protein and anti-inflammatory oils (such as found in nuts, seeds and cold water fish)

Eat orange, yellow and dark green vegetables

Eat whole grains (whole wheat, brown rice, oats, whole-grain corn)

People living with multiple sclerosis should avoid food allergens such as dairy, eggs, soy, citrus, tomatoes and chocolate. There are also other food allergens that belong in the list above: wheat, corn and peanuts. Also foods that contain gluten may cause problems. Refined foods, alcohol, caffeine and saturated fats should be removed from the diet.

Once all of the above-listed foods have been removed from the diet, the patient can add one type of food back into the diet. If that particular food does not negatively affect the patient, he or she can continue eating that type of food (i.e. wheat). If he or she notices negative affects, remove that food from the diet. When the body re-adjusts, he or she can try adding another food.

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