Welcome to March!! As you may know March is MS Awareness Month. You may not know that March is also National Nutrition Month. Is this a coincidence? I don’t think so! True… there is no diet or nutrient that will CURE MS. But following some general guidelines will reduce your risk factors for additional chronic diseases (comorbid health conditions). This is important because having comorbid health conditions along with MS can increase the risk of disability and decrease quality of life. So living healthy wont cure MS but it can sure impact how you live with MS!
How To Savor The Flavor Of Wellness With MS
Focus on a healthy pattern of eating that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods from all food groups:
a variety of colorful (dark green,red, yellow, orange or purple) vegetables and beans.
fruits, especially whole fruits
grains, at least half of which are whole grains
fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified dairy alternatives
A Healthy Eating Pattern Limits:
Limit Empty Calories From Added Sugars In Foods And Beverages. You should get less than 10 percent of your daily calories from added sugars. That doesn’t include naturally occurring sugars, such as those in milk (lactose) or fruits. Reducing added sugars is linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
Limit Saturated Fats. Shoot for less than 10 percent of your daily calories from saturated fats. Avoid trans fats entirely. Foods high in saturated fat include butter; whole milk; meats that aren’t lean; and coconut, palm and other tropical oils. But don’t just cut out all fat: Replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats—such as olive or canola oil. It’ll be better for your heart.
Limit Sodium (Salt). Most people ages 14 and older should limit their sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per day. High sodium intake is linked to high blood pressure and may be linked to increased disease activity in people with MS. Read my article about MS and sodium here. Read my article about how to season your food with herbs here.
Limit or Avoid Alcohol.
Limit alcohol intake to one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men.
Alcohol interacts with several over-the-counter or prescription medications.
Alcohol can interrupt sleep and excessive consumption can interfere with coordination, alertness and energy metabolism.
If alcohol is not making you the best you can be, consider eliminating it.
Really, there is nothing beneficial to your health that comes from smoking.
In addition to following a healthy eating pattern, regular physical activity is one of the most important things Americans can do to improve their health. Read my article about MS and exercise here.
Self Care Is Not Selfish
Nourishing your body, sleeping enough, having supportive friendships and a community, managing stress, exercising, and participating in simple things that make you feel “good” is a necessary part of savoring life and is not selfish.
Last, but perhaps most important…. Savor the Flavor!
Food is fuel for out body and I encourage everyone to put better fuel in your tank! But food is much more than fuel! Food is often central to our family and cultural traditions. Having a chronic disease like multiple sclerosis can be isolating enough. Don’t get so swept up in the prohibitions of a specific diet that you are not able to enjoy your family traditions and special occasions. Eat a healthy balanced diet most of the time and treat yourself a guilt free indulgence to celebrate life occasionally. Eat slowly, pay attention to the your hunger and fullness cues, focus on the flavor of your food. Enjoy the experience with family and friends. Savor it.