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Tips for living with MS - nutritional needs

The link between MS and diet has not been proven but it is generally accepted that people with MS are well advised to follow a balanced, healthy diet. Some people find that dietary modification, in terms of taking specific supplements or avoiding particular foods, can be helpful:

  • Follow general advice for a balanced diet. Include items from all five food groups: carbohydrates (bread, cereals and potatoes); fruit and vegetables; dairy products; meat, fish and alternatives; fat and sugar
  • Reduce intake of saturated fats
  • Maintain an intake of linoleic acid (present in sunflower and soya oils, beans, peas and lentils) and alpha linolenic acid (found in dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, green pepper and oily fish)
  • Consider taking supplements such as evening primrose oil or starflower oil. If necessary, consult a qualified nutritionist for advice on dosage
  • Drink plenty of water
  • To optimise nutritional value, eat fresh food wherever possible and cook vegetables lightly or eat them raw
  • Avoid excessive tea or coffee, particularly if you experience bladder problems, and replace with cranberry juice
  • Some people find ginger and mint to be helpful at relieving nausea
  • Limit intake of sugary food but if temptation is too much, try the rule, 'A cake a day keeps cravings at bay'
  • A certain amount of trial and error may be needed to determine which foods you can or can't tolerate. Keeping a food and symptom diary for a short time will help you to identify culprits
  • Some people find that tonic water can help to relieve spasms
  • Seek advice from a doctor or qualified dietician if you follow a restrictive diet. For example, if you cut out dairy foods, you will need to ensure that you obtain calcium from other sources
  • Try to follow other general healthy lifestyle advice such as keeping your weight down and taking exercise

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