The results of a recent study of nearly 7,000 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) show that a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle can reduce disease-related disability and the occurrence of symptoms.
Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains for multiple sclerosis
The NARCOMS study conducted in the United States since 2015 (North American Research Committee on MS) has made it possible, through a questionnaire, to list and estimate the intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, added sugars, red meat and processed meat to some 7,000 people with MS. And establish a diet quality score. The higher the score, the better the diet, i.e. healthier.
Based on this extensive questionnaire, the researcher, Katryn C. Fitzgerald (School of Medicine, Baltimore) sought to find out if a diet can have an impact on the symptoms of MS, by cross-referencing the data. To do this, she asked patients about the evolution of their symptoms (more or less symptoms) and the frequency of flare episodes (relapses) over the past 6 months, while taking into account their lifestyle, weight, level of physical activity and their smoking habits.
20% reduction in severe disability
Patients with higher quality diet scores show lower level of physical disability and lower depression scores. And patients enjoying a healthy lifestyle have a lower risk of fatigue and cognitive impairment.
In conclusion, this large-scale study suggests that a healthy diet and lifestyle appear to be associated with better control of MS symptoms and disability.
Fitzgerald KCet al.Diet quality is associated with disability and symptom severity in multiple sclerosis. Neurology, First. 2017.