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True Diet Tips That MS People Swear By

Tried-and-True Diet Tips That People With MS Swear By

BEST OF TIPPI: These MSers have figured out how their eating habits affect their condition. Here are their top foods to eat and avoid, plus kitchen hacks to make healthy eating easier.

Making adjustments to your eating habits may help you better manage MS .Shutterstock

Let’s face it — eating a healthy diet is important to your overall wellness. And many people with multiple sclerosis (MS) say that making the right food choices helps them live better with the disease, too.

In fact, on TIPPI MS, a social tool for sharing your go-to tips for living with MS, food is one of the most popular topics that people are talking about.

While an exact MS diet doesn’t exist, “clean eating” and eliminating certain trigger foods can provide benefits like improving your energy level and reducing the impact of other symptoms. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), diet could even play a role in disease progression.

But don’t just take it from us. You can read hundreds of real-life tips in the words of people who have tried it all on TIPPI MS. Here are just a few of their best diet tips.

TIP #1: Start With “Clean Eating”

Because there’s no specific diet for MS, navigating diet advice might seem confusing. But quite simply, the best diet for MS may be to follow the same healthy eating guidelines as everyone else. The NMSS recommends eating a low-fat, high-fiber diet that focuses on real food (like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein) as opposed to processed foods that are high in salt, sugar, and other additives.

Eat “real” food. If there are more than 10 ingredients on the label…is it real food?
— Trevis Gleason, age 52, author and blogger, living with Secondary-Progressive MS (SPMS)
There are so many recommendations about diets that help MS, it’s hard to know what to choose. To decrease inflammation (which is problematic for people with MS), it is best to eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Two of the best are the Mediterranean and DASH diet, because both encourage lifelong healthy eating. However, the reality is to find a healthy way of eating that you like so you will stick to it.
— Barbara, age 56, living with Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS)
Keep your diet clean. Reduce chemicals and sugar: Processed food depletes nutrients from your body. Eat as many organic foods as you can. I take this seriously because there is plenty of evidence that it’s the better option.
— Jill, 48, living with SPMS
As much as possible, eat clean – that means, eat whole foods like fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats – and live a healthy lifestyle. These things can’t cure MS but will help how you feel from day to day.
— Christina, age 28, living with RRMS

TIP #2: Discover Your Trigger Foods

Which foods are off-limits for MS? That depends who you are as foods can affect people differently. While some people who have MS say that avoiding certain foods like sugar and dairy improved their symptoms, what works for them may not work for you.

To learn which foods may be troublesome for you, experiment with an elimination diet.  The idea behind an “elimination diet” is to stop eating foods that may be triggering an adverse reaction in your body, then slowly reintroduce them, one by one, to identify how each food makes you feel.

I try to avoid foods that are considered inflammatory (like sugar).
— Janice Dean, Senior Meteorologist Fox News, age 49, living with RRMS
Look into functional medicine and guides such as the Wahls Protocol to identify underlying causes of inflammation. I recently found out I was sensitive to some everyday foods like coffee and apples. Who would guess that without having a test done? I’m currently working on eliminating a long list of foods to see if I can feel better and reduce inflammation.
— Stefanie Cowley, age 45, living with SPMS
I had amazingly positive results by giving up dairy! 20 days after stopping dairy milk and yogurt, I noticed increased speed in four functions: walking, movement, talking, and thinking!
— Donna M, living with RRMS
I eat a plant-based diet with no gluten, refined sugar, animal products, corn, or soy. I refrain from alcohol, too. I noticed a correlation with eating those foods and having attacks where I could not stand-up straight or walk unassisted.
— Krysia Hepatica, age 45, living with RRMS

TIP #3: Simplify It With MS-Approved Food Hacks

Now that you know what to eat, sometimes the trickier question can be how to stick with it — especially when you’re dealing with fatigue and other MS symptoms. Here are strategies to help you stay on track no matter what life throws your way.

If you cook, keep your knives sharp. You’ll save energy, and cuts are less common with a sharp knife. Why? You don’t need to exert as much pressure, so the knife is less likely to slip.
— Trevis Gleason, age 52, author and blogger, living with SPMS
When I am feeling well enough to cook, I make extra portions and put them in the freezer. Then I have already-made meals on days I can’t or don’t want to cook. And whenever I bake a cake, I make two and freeze one!
— Theresa Bagenski, age 71, living with RRMS
Focus on making things simple and practical. For a client who has MS, we used smoothies for her morning nutrition. Even if she had a rough day, the smoothies were easy enough to stick to — and they kept her feeling strong and healthy.
— Dani Singer, personal trainer
When you travel and stay at a hotel, buy healthy, clean snacks and place them in your mini bar straight away so you don’t snack on the unhealthy foods that are already in there.
— Mez Gallifuoco, age 32, living with RRMS
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