Healthy living can make a big difference when you have a chronic and progressive disease like multiple sclerosis. Start here
Because multiple sclerosis (MS) affects the central nervous system, it can cause symptoms throughout the body, including numbness, fatigue, and problems with balance. But taking good care of your body — in addition to sticking to your multiple sclerosis treatment plan — can help you manage your MS symptoms.
“We are beginning to better understand the importance of these additional measures,” says Lisa Billars, MD, chief of neurology for Kaiser Permanente of Georgia in Atlanta. “The focus is not only on treating the disease, but also about optimizing the health of patients in light of their medical condition.”
From keeping your cool — literally — to staying mentally engaged and physically active, following these lifestyle tips can help you stay healthy and live your best life with multiple sclerosis
1Eat More Nutritious Foods to Feel Your Best
There’s no special MS diet, but an overall healthy eating plan can give you more energy and help stave off chronic conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
“The general approach many neurologists take in patients with MS is recommending a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and omega-3 fatty acids,” Dr. Billars says.
Consuming enough fiber is important, too, for preventing constipation, a common problem among people with MS. Many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, along with dried beans and lentils, are good sources of fiber. If you increase your fiber intake, be sure to also increase the amount of fluids in your diet. Not doing so can result in worsened constipation.
If MS has diminished your sense of taste, try using more herbs and spices, hot sauce, or citrus juices in your foods to give them more flavor. Warm foods also tend to have stronger flavors than cold foods.