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Healthy Living May Ease Some MS Symptoms

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One limitation of the study is that no dietary information on lean meats or fish was provided, Fitzgerald said.

The study participants were placed into five groups, based on how healthy their diets were.

The group with the healthiest diets was about 20 percent less likely to have severe physical disability or severe depression, the study found. Severe disability was defined as needing some type of support — a cane, wheelchair or scooter — to walk 25 feet, Fitzgerald said.

People with the highest-quality diets consumed 1.7 servings of whole grains and 3.3 servings of fruits, vegetables or legumes daily. Diets of those on the lowest end contained 0.3 servings of whole grains and 1.7 servings of fruits.

Those with an overall healthy lifestyle were about half as likely to experience depression, 30 percent less likely to have severe fatigue, 40 percent less likely to have pain and one-third less likely to have thinking and memory troubles.

Fitzgerald said there are a number of theories as to how a healthy lifestyle, particularly a healthy diet, might help people with MS. “However, because of the design of the study, we can’t say for certain how diet impacts MS disability,” she said.

Samantha Heller, a registered dietitian with the NYU Langone Health System in New York City, said, “MS is a disease that creates inflammation, so if you eat a diet that decreases inflammation, it makes sense that disability and pain would improve.”

The study also looked at the effect of a number of popular diet plans, such as the paleo diet, Wahl’s diet, Swank, gluten-free and more. It generally found a slightly positive effect from these diets on the risk for disability.

Both Heller and Riley said this was likely due to weight loss from these diets.

“When you lose weight, you also decrease inflammation and give your joints a break,” said Heller, who wasn’t involved with the study. “For every pound lost, you lose 4 pounds of pressure on your joints.”

The study didn’t ask for specifics on how much people exercised, but for most people with MS, it’s fine to exercise.

Article source: https://www.webmd.com/multiple-sclerosis/news/20171206/healthy-living-may-ease-some-ms-symptoms