For people with multiple sclerosis (MS), eating a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may be related to having less disability and fewer symptoms than people whose diet is less healthy , according to a study published in the December 6, 2017 issue of Neurology ® the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
"People with MS often ask if there is anything that can delay or prevent disability, and many people want to know if their diet can play a role, but there have been few studies investigating this," said the study's author Kathryn C. Fitzgerald, ScD, of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md., And member of the American Academy of Neurology. "While this study does not determine whether a healthy lifestyle reduces the symptoms of MS or if having severe symptoms makes it harder for people to participate in a healthy lifestyle, it provides evidence of the link between the two."
The study involved 6,989 people with all types of MS who completed questionnaires about their diet as part of the registry of the North American Research Committee (NARCOMS). The definition of a healthy diet focused on eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains and less sugar from desserts and sweetened drinks and less red meat and processed meat. The participants were divided into five groups according to how healthy their diet was.
The researchers also evaluated whether the participants had a healthy lifestyle in general, which was defined as having a healthy weight, performing regular physical activity, eating a better than average diet and not smoking.
Participants were also asked if they had a relapse of MS symptoms or a gradual worsening of symptoms in the last six months and reported their level of disability and the severity of their symptoms in areas such as fatigue, mobility, pain and depression
People in the healthiest diet group were 20 percent less likely to have a more severe physical disability than people in the less healthy diet group. The results were true even after the researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect disability, such as age and length of MS. People with the healthiest diets also had about 20% less depression more severe than people with the least healthy diet.
People with the best diet ate an average of 1.7 servings of whole grains per day, compared to 0.3 servings per day for those with the least healthy diet. For fruits, vegetables and legumes (not including French fries), the upper group had 3.3 servings per day, while the lower group had 1.7 servings per day.
People with a general healthy lifestyle were almost 50 percent less likely to have depression, 30 percent less likely to have severe fatigue and more than 40 percent less likely to have pain than people who were They did not have a healthy lifestyle.
The study also looked at whether people followed a specific diet, including popular diets such as Paleo, weight loss plans or diets that are promoted in self-help books and websites as beneficial for people with MS, such as diet. Wahls. The researchers found that, in general, past or current use of these diets was associated with a moderately reduced risk of increased disability.
Fitzgerald said that one limitation of the study is that due to the design of the study, it can not be known if healthy diets predict changes in symptoms of MS in the future. Another limitation was that the participants used to be older, mainly white and had been diagnosed with MS for an average of almost 20 years, so the results may not be applicable to all people with MS.