Healthy Living

Do Fruits and Vegetables Really Reduce MS Symptoms?

Eating Fruits and Vegetables to Reduce Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms: Is It Really That Simple?

Do Fruits and Vegetables Really Reduce MS Symptoms?

A recent study has shown that eating fruits and vegetables may be of assistance when fighting against MS symptoms.

The importance of eating healthy

We are told time and time again beginning when we are very young that it is important to eat healthily, with a well-rounded diet. Of course, such a diet includes a tremendous amount of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. While normally this advice is simply intended to promote a healthy lifestyle and diet that anyone can benefit from, researchers have recently found that such a diet can actually assist those with multiple sclerosis in alleviating their symptoms. In fact, it can even lower disability in certain circumstances.

The study has been published in the journal Neurology.

MS symptoms that are affected by a healthy diet

Those with multiple sclerosis suffer from their immune system attacking the protective cover of the nerves, which results in a wide array of symptoms. These can include fatigue, pain, vision loss, and decreased levels of coordination. Unfortunately, there is no cure to the condition and it can be difficult for those with MS to find a way to suppress their symptoms. While some patients try crazy tactics to alleviate their symptoms, it may be that one of the most effective methods is also the simplest.

The study

The study was conducted by involving 6,989 participants, all who had various types of multiple sclerosis. Throughout the process, they completed questionnaires about their diet and symptoms.

The study showed that the participants who were eating a healthy diet were approximately 20 percent less likely to have more of a physical disability, 30 percent less likely to experience severe fatigue, 40 percent less likely to have pain, and almost 50 percent less likely to experience depression. These differences are tremendous, and speak to the effect that a healthy diet can have.

While this may seem like a simple fix, it can sometimes be difficult to navigate what exactly constitutes a healthy lifestyle and diet. In the study, a healthy lifestyle was described as maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet that includes a heightened amount of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, and not smoking or consuming a lot of sugar. Red meats and processed meats should also be largely avoided.

Kathryn C. Fitzgerald of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore explains, "people with MS often ask if there is anything they can do to delay or avoid disability, and many want to know if their diet can play a role. While this study does not determine whether a healthy lifestyle reduces MS symptoms or whether having severe symptoms makes it harder for people to engage in a healthy lifestyle, it proves evidence for the link between the two."

Promising results

The results of the study were strong, and remained accurate even after being adjusted for various factors that could impact disability, like age or the length of time that the individual had had multiple sclerosis.

Read on to learn more about this link and what it means for people living with MS.