Eat Well and Thrive When You Have MS

From the WebMD Archives

There isn't one specific diet that can treat multiple sclerosis (MS), but healthy food can help you in lots of ways. A good rule of thumb: If it's good for your heart, it's good for the rest of your body.

Go Low on Fat and High on Fiber

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society and many experts agree that if you have MS, it's smart to follow a low-fat, high-fiber diet, just as everyone else should.

Eating well is good for your overall health. It can also help control things that make MS worse, like diabetes, heart disease, or a lack of vitamin D, says Matthew McCoyd, MD, a neurologist and MS specialist at Loyola University Medical Center.

Some foods that can keep your menus low in fat and high in fiber are:

Beans. Try black bean soup, bean burritos, and bean dip.

Fruits and veggies. Apples, strawberries, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are nutritious choices.

Whole grains . Eat brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole-grain cereals.

Low-fat dairy. When you're at the grocery store, look for low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese.

What a Healthy Diet Can Do for You

"If you're eating mostly junk food and not exercising, you're not going to feel well," McCoyd says. A healthy diet makes your body feel better. It can also help you stay at a healthy weight. That can improve your mobility.

"With MS, it's all the more important to eat well because you're living with something that's already working against you," he says.

A healthy eating plan improves your fatigue. Think of food as your fuel. Your body needs vitamins and minerals to work right. Without them, you'll have less energy.

Small changes to your diet can also help your bladder and bowels run more smoothly.

Make sure you don't skip meals. You can eat three large meals or five to six small meals a day.

If you're concerned that preparing food will use up your energy, stock your pantry and fridge with healthy, ready-to-eat foods.

When you cook, use ingredients like pre-cut vegetables and pre-shredded cheese. Try making a double batch of a meal and freezing half for another day.

WebMD Feature Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on April 19, 2017

Sources

Rosalind Kalb, PhD, National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Matthew McCoyd, MD.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society: "Food for Thought," "Nutrition," "Vitamins, Minerals & Herbs in MS," "Maintain Good Nutrition!"

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