Many treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS) are targeted at reducing inflammation, thereby slowing progression of the autoimmune disease. An anti-inflammatory diet also may slow disease progression, as well as enhance the positive effects of anti-inflammatory medications.
In MS, the immune system mistakenly attacks the protein coat that surrounds nerve fibers. That coating protects the nerves and facilitates the propagation of nervous signals.
Appropriate exercise and healthy eating habits are important for all people with MS.
What is an anti-inflammatory diet?
An anti-inflammatory diet is a plan for healthy eating that does not contain foods that are high in saturated fats, refined carbohydrates — found in white bread — sugary desserts, soda, and red meat.
Foods that are part of an anti-inflammatory diet include tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, nuts such as almonds and walnuts, fatty fish — including salmon, tuna, and sardines — and fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges.
How can an anti-inflammatory diet help me?
It has been proposed that an anti-inflammatory diet may be able to help slow disease progression in autoimmune disorders. Clinical trials are underway to test this hypothesis in patients with different types of MS.
Although several studies have been conducted, it is difficult for many reasons to draw broad conclusions as to the benefits of diet. For example, many studies have not included good controls and have relied on patient-reported information.
What has been shown, however, is that diets with inflammatory potential may be involved in the physiological processes associated with neurodegenerative diseases.
How should I start an anti-inflammatory diet?
Before making any big changes, it’s always a good idea to talk to your physician and a registered dietitian. They can help you figure out foods to include and avoid, while making sure you are getting the nutrition and vitamins you need.
Last updated: Oct. 21, 2019
Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.