So, I’ve been trying to research a good diet to get into the habit of following because it seems that dieting is a big thing in the world of multiple sclerosis. I am currently studying the anti-inflammatory diet, but of course like any other diet I’ve researched, no one breaks it down in plaintext or any kind of easy to follow guide. In this article I will attempt to compile all the information I have found regarding this diet in an easy-to-follow guide, but remember I have no medical degree of any kind, I’m not a dietitian nor is dieting my specialty. This information is meant to be more of an aid, you should always talk to a doctor or dietitian before following any kind of diet to make sure it is safe and in the best interest for your health.
As always if you read any mistaken or false information please contact me at Mattalleng@yahoo.com, my goal is to spread beneficiary knowledge, not false information.
Also, as I continue to research this diet I may make changes to this article over time whether I am adding, removing, or modifying what I’ve written so if you are interested in this diet be sure to check in every once in awhile to see if I’ve made any changes.
The Anti-Inflammatory Diet:
How is Inflammation and MS Related?
Looking back at one of my first articles,“So what is MS”, I explained that the symptoms of MS are caused by the demyelination of nerves resulting in a loss of conductivity, much like a copper wire would short-circuit if you removed the protective insulation. But what causes demyelination? The leading theory is inflammation. Basically, white blood cells inflame around the myelin sheath which damages the myelin stripping it away from the nerves. The inflammation of these white blood cells also damages and kills Oligodendrocytes, which are in charge of creating and repairing myelin. As of right now most MS therapies are based on this concept of inflammation, so the goal is to reduce inflammation which is where the anti-inflammatory diet comes into play.
What is the anti-inflammatory diet?
We live in a world full of processed foods jampacked with fats, sugar, and many other chemicals that cause inflammation. The anti-inflammatory diet focuses on reducing or eliminating products that cause inflammation which can be bad for our bodies and is known to cause many illnesses such as heart diseases, Alzheimer’s, even cancer! It can also cause things as simple as joint pains, a much less serious but more common issue dealt with by many people of all ages. So really, this diet is something we should all keep in mind, it can benefit anyone because it simply reduces chemicals from our diet that we don’t really need and that are bad for everyone healthy or not.
What Should I Avoid on an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?
For starters, you pretty much want to eliminate any kind of processed foods and refined sugars. So you should might want to start by eliminating fast foods and soda, something we should all do anyways.
Saturated fats: Meat and dairy products
Red meats such as fatty beef, pork, and lamb should be reduced, maybe to once a week… When you do eat red meats, try to stick to a lean cut or game animals such as bison, prefer ably grass fed animals. You want to reduce animal proteins and add vegetable proteins.
Also avoid processed meats such as lunch meats.
Poultry should be eaten without the skin.
Avoid cream butter and cheese that is made from whole or reduce fat milk, look for low-fat instead.
No fried foods! Even some baked goods are high in saturated fats!
Refined sugars: Pretty Much Everything…
If it doesn’t come naturally then it’s probably not good for you… fruits are full of sugar but it’s the good kind, refined sugars are found in products like Froot Loops and soda which should be avoided or reduced anyways. This may be the most difficult thing to avoid because nowadays refined sugar is in everything! Time to conquer that sweet tooth!
Candy, sweet cereals, soda, white sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, the list goes on and on! If it’s sweet and doesn’t grow on a tree then it’s probably not good for you…
Avoid regular safflower and sunflower oils, corn oil, mixed vegetable oils, cottonseed oils, and products made with palm kernel oil.
What Should I Eat in my Anti-Inflammatory Diet?
Fruits and Veggies: The one thing I always hear is lots of fruits and veggies! At least five servings a day! Fresh is always better!
Bell Peppers, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Broccoli Sprouts, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chard, Collards, Fennel Bulb, Garlic, Green Beans, Green Onions/Spring Onions, Kale, Leeks, Olives, Spinach, Sweet potatoes, Turnip Greens, etc.
Acerola (West Indian) Cherries, Apples, Avocados, Black Currants, Blueberries, Fresh Pineapple, Guavas, Kiwifruit, Kumquats, Lemons, Limes, Mulberries, Oranges, Papaya, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Strawberries, Tomatoes, etc.
Nuts such as cashews, almonds, and nut butters, Flaxseed/Linseed Hazelnuts Sunflower Seeds Walnuts
Herbs and Spices:
Basil ,Cayenne Peppers/Chilli Peppers, Cinnamon, Cloves, Cocoa (at least 70% cocoa chocolate), Licorice, Mint, Oregano ,Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme, Turmeric, etc.
Protein: as mentioned above, reduce animal proteins and instead focus on veggie proteins such as beans and soy products. You especially want to cut down on animal proteins if you have kidney problems or an autoimmune disease such as multiple sclerosis…
You should also try to get your putting from lean poultry, fish, other seafoods, nuts, and seeds.
Fiber: you should be eating at least 40 grams of fiber a day, you will get this from your fruit and also things like ready-made cereals.
Antioxidants: Blueberries and strawberries are great antioxidants!
Carbs: try to focus on whole grain products and again your fruits and veggies.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, try to include things like oily fish (such as salmon,Cod, Halibut, Herring, Oysters, Rainbow Trout, Snapper Fish, Striped Bass, Tuna, Whitefish, black cod, butter fish, or sardines packaged in either water or olive oil), flaxseed, hemp seeds and pumpkin seeds in your diet.
When cooking with oil, stick to canola oil, olive oil, rice bran oil, grape seed oil, and walnut oil.
Other tips: Lots of Water!
Water, 100% fruit juices, herbal teas, vegetable juices, and low-fat milk are all good to go.
Always bake or stirfry rather than deep fry.
Dieting is all about changing habits, so you should also get in the habit of getting lots of rest, doing some light exercises and stretching along with maintaining a decent weight, this will all help with inflammation!
Vitamin Supplements: Definitely Talk to Your Doctor First!
As I said before, I have no medical degree of any kind and dieting is definitely not my specialty, but here is a list of vitamins I heard are good to include in your anti- inflammatory diet. Make sure you talk to your doctor about adding supplements to your diet so that they don’t interact with any medications you are currently taking.
Omega-3 fatty acid
Vitamin C: about 200 mg a day
Multivitamins for antioxidants (with no iron)
Calcium (for women)
Fish oil (if you’re not including fish in your diet)
You can even talk to your doctor about a low dose aspirin therapy.