Is There A Connection Between Food and Multiple Sclerosis?
"Health food may be good for the conscience but Oreos taste a hell of a lot better." ~Robert Redford
I never make New Year’s Resolutions, but instead make goals for myself to reach in the coming year. This year my first one is to lose weight, which will, in turn, help me feel healthier.
Trying to reach these goals when you have a disease like Multiple Sclerosis always seems as if the deck is stacked against you.
While thinking about food, I came across an article about a possible relationship between what you put into your mouth and how it may affect your MS.
While visiting The Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis in New York City for my regular MS checkup, I picked up their free “MS Interactions” magazine. Their lead article talked about a small study they are conducting on whether the intestinal micro biome (microorganisms) in our gastrointestinal system (and how they are influenced by diet) might be important in the development of MS as well as its course, severity and responses to treatment. (Click here for more details)
Up until now there haven’t been any rigorous studies conducted on whether changes in the diet could be beneficial to MS. With the help of a grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the preliminary data gathered from this small study can be carried over into a larger one to find answers about the correlation between diet and MS.
When I was diagnosed in 1987 I immediately started reading books by Dr. Andrew Weil, a medical doctor and naturopath who founded the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. He believed that a diet rich in high fiber, whole foods and “good” fats paved the way toward optimal health, and counteracted chronic inflammation. Over the years, I’ve tried to follow his anti-inflammatory diet as best as I can. (See Dr. Weil’s “Full Pyramid” for more information)
(NOTE: Since I was diagnosed in 1987 there have been many other claims as to which is the “best” diet, e.g. gluten free, vegan, McDougall Program, Swank Diet. For the purpose of this article I am only offering what I have personally followed.)
So far I’ve done well by following Dr. Weil’s advice, and while I try my best to follow it, I feel good knowing there is something that is within my control. Something I can be in charge of. As everyone with MS knows, our disease can have a mind of its own. With our diet, at least we can control what we do and don’t eat.
If someday they find a definite correlation between food and MS, and we learn what to eat and what not to eat, we will finally be in charge of our MS. Won’t that be grand?
Whenever that study finds conclusive evidence, I’m hoping they find that chocolate, ice cream and croissants are good for us. Hey, I can dream, can’t I?
Do you follow a specific food program? If so, is it helpful?
Do you celebrate your MS Anniversary?