Can diet help reduce disability, symptoms of multiple sclerosis?

For people with multiple sclerosis (MS), eating a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains may be linked to having less disability and fewer symptoms than people whose diet is less healthy, according to a study published in the December 6, 2017, online issue of Neurology.

The study involved 6,989 people with all types of MS who completed questionnaires about their diet as part of the North American Research Committee (NARCOMS) registry. The definition of a healthy diet focused on eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains and less sugar from desserts and sweetened beverages and less red meat and processed meat. The participants were divided into five groups based on how healthy their diet was.

Researchers also assessed whether participants had an overall healthy lifestyle, which was defined as having a healthy weight, getting regular physical activity, eating a better than average diet and not smoking.

The participants were also asked whether they had a relapse of MS symptoms or a gradual worsening of symptoms in the past six months and reported their level of disability and how severe their symptoms were in areas such as fatigue, mobility, pain and depression.

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