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Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

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Does Your Diet Affect Your MS?

By Melinda Wenner Moyer
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Neil Lava, MD

It’s natural to want to do anything you can to help tame your multiple sclerosis symptoms. You take your medicine and keep up with your doctor visits. Would it also make a difference to change what you eat?

Although no diet is proven to give you relief, some nutrients may make a difference for better or worse.

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There is no such thing as a special “MS diet” that has been proven to improve symptoms.  Most doctors recommend you eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet similar to the one recommended for the general public by major medical organizations.

Go for a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts, and legumes. Avoid items that are highly processed and high in saturated fat.

Gluten-Free May Not Help

Ditching gluten is popular, and for people who have celiac disease, it’s a must. But no research shows that it improves MS symptoms.

Several studies have found that people with MS aren’t more likely than anyone else to be sensitive to gluten. So if you decide to go gluten-free, MS probably is not the reason to do so.

Should You Go Paleo?

These plans favor lean meats, nuts, and berries. The approach stems from the idea that your body can process these ancient staples better than modern items, such as dairy products and processed carbohydrates.

There isn’t much research on Paleo diets and multiple sclerosis. In one small study, people with MS who followed the diet for a year said they were less tired than people who didn’t. But that might not just be about their diet, since they also exercised, stretched, and meditated during the study.

Mediterranean Diet

This traditional diet is one of the healthiest in the world. Although it’s not specific to MS, it’s good for you in general.

You’ll eat a lot of fish, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes, and olive oil. There’s no research on how this diet affects MS in particular. But many studies show that it’s good for you overall and may help lower inflammation.

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