Following an MS friendly diet which is well-balanced and planned is extremely necessary for MS patients as it helps with their general good health. Healthy meal planning is very important but it can take a lot of time, energy and effort to go to the grocery store, experiment new recipes and change your eating habits. However, if you want to live a better life with MS, it is important that you know which foods to take with MS and which ones to avoid.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or expert, and I do not know your situation. This diet plan is something which I am following and sharing my experience with you. Before making any drastic changes to your diet, please make sure you consult with your health physician.
MS patients can follow this diet plan given below:
Only fruits. Take any seasonal fruits for breakfast like apple, banana, papaya, cheeko, strawberries, peaches, mango etc. Patients can take 5 – 7 almonds and walnuts in breakfast with the fruits + 1-3 dates + 1-2 dried figs. Then take a mug of milk daily for bone strength in breakfast (only 1 mug, not more, because milk has the highest inflammatory properties). Avoid tea as it causes frequent urination.
Bone strength is very important because the use of steroids weakens the bones over time which can lead to fractures. So taking a Vitamin D supplement like Indrop D is very very important with MS.
The typical Pakistani lunch menu is roti and gravy. You can take 1 – 2 rotis according to your hunger level with salan or gravy, whatever is cooked at home. Try to use whole wheat aata instead of white flour / aata which is available in the market. Wheat also has a high gluten level, so try to use gluten-free flour if possible.
Avoid junk foods like burgers, pizzas, patties, pastries, rolls, pasta, sandwiches, fried foods like chips and fries, pakoras etc. Choose a gluten-free diet if possible. Avoid naan and ‘maiday’ wali cheezain like samosas and bakery items, cakes, biscuits etc. Just go for healthy foods, no junk and processed foods like tinned and canned foods, ice cream etc. Also avoid ‘bazaar ka khana’ at all costs, especially bazaar ki roti because it contains a lot of gluten/starch which is not good for MS patients. Naan and bazar ki roti have very high gluten levels.
Use of butter, lard, margarine, and cheese should be restricted as well as the use of saturated fats in the diet. A low saturated fat diet high in Omega-3 supplementation is helpful for MS patients.
Extra virgin olive oil should be used for cooking.
4 pm snack
MS patients can take a glass of yogurt smoothie at 4 or 5 pm. (Homemade yogurt blended with Apple, banana, mango or strawberry in a blender). Don’t take milkshake if milk was taken in breakfast. Use yogurt instead of milk. Yogurt is very healthy.
You can also drink fresh juices, carrot juice, apple juice, pomegranate juice or orange juice. Make sure this is fresh juice which you make at home. Do not buy the juices available in the market like Nestle or Shezan juice and fizzy drinks like Coke, 7up etc. because they are only flavoured water with additives. Energy drinks should also be avoided.
Also add nuts to your daily diet, like almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pine nuts and mixed dry fruit, especially in winters.
Nuts are also helpful in lifting brain fog issues and will help you think clearly. Don’t use roasted nuts, use raw or dehydrated nuts instead. Popcorn is also a good snack.
Rice with any salan. It is best to take a combination of roti and rice daily. Don’t eat only roti or only rice every day. Take roti in the afternoon and rice in the evening.
MS patients can eat fish and chicken but should avoid red meat, especially beef. Fish intake should be increased. Generally a healthy diet plan should be followed which has lots of fruits and green leafy vegetables.
Follow these small changes in your diet for a couple of weeks and you will feel a significant improvement in your MS condition. If it is possible, go for a completely gluten free diet for 1 month and you will see drastic results. In case that is not possible, just avoid all kinds of processed foods, and ‘bazaar ka khana’, and add more fruits and vegetables to your diet.
Sugar intake should be kept to minimum because high sugar levels will lead to a flare up of your MS symptoms. Salt intake should also be kept in check as high salt intake can affect your MS.
Also, the patient should avoid catching fever or cold because the chances of having a relapse increase during fever and flu and MS symptoms also worsen during fever and flu. Infections in the body can also flare up your MS symptoms, so patients should not let infections live in their body.
Lastly, as already mentioned above, Vitamin D is very important for MS patients. MS patients should get their Vitamin D levels checked and start regular intake of Vitamin D supplements after consulting with a physician.
Managing your disease and understanding it is very important to live a normal, healthy and active life with MS. Exercise and physiotherapy can also help you live an active life with MS.