- Patient Education
Eating plenty of vegetables and fruits can support optimal health, especially if you have MS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found fewer than 15% of Americans met the minimum daily recommendation for fruit intake (1.5-2 cups per day), and almost 9% met the minimal recommendation for vegetable intake (2-3 cups per day). These numbers are disturbingly low, particularly because vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices are nature’s richest sources of protective antioxidants, necessary vitamins, and detoxifying fiber.
Many people with MS are motivated to do everything possible to optimize their health, and this should include eating a plant-based diet. This doesn’t mean a vegetarian diet, but it does mean that the majority of your food should come from nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables. How many bright and colorful servings of fruits and vegetables do you eat in a day? If you are like the vast majority of Americans who eat too few, take this opportunity to become motivated to do better!
The best approach to filling your body with cell protective antioxidants is to fill your plate with a variety of brightly colored vegetables and fruits. Try to eat a rainbow of colors every day: something red, orange, yellow, green, and especially bluish-purple. Bluish-purple foods get their color from the natural pigment anthocyanin, which is an especially good antioxidant for the brain. The clue is in the color, and most bluish-purple foods are rich sources of anthocyanins. This includes blueberries, blackberries, eggplant, and even black beans and black rice.
While a plant-based diet is beneficial for almost everyone, there are a few exceptions, like people with chronic kidney disease, or those who take the medication Coumadin. Due to this and other factors, it’s always best to work with a doctor who knows your personal medical history before making major dietary changes. To work with an expert on diet and multiple sclerosis, contact the IMSMP to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bates our Naturopathic Doctor.