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The anti-inflammatory diet and multiple sclerosis

We have all seen inflammation on the surface of our bodies. Redness, heat, swelling or pain after a cut or sprain are examples of this process at work. In these cases, inflammation benefits the body by bringing more nutrients and immune activity to the injured or infected area, helping it to heal.

When inflammation occurs without purpose or is persistent, it can cause damage and illness. This type of abnormal inflammation is the root of many chronic diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS).

Many factors contribute to chronic inflammation including stress, exposure to toxins such as cigarette smoke and dietary choices. We have control over some of the causes of inflammation. Learning what foods have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body may be beneficial in reducing long-term disease risk.

The anti-inflammatory diet is a balanced, sensible way of eating. It not only influences inflammation but also provides your body with adequate energy, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and fiber. Here are a few recommendations for eating to reduce and prevent inflammation:

Easy make-ahead meals to beat MS fatigue

In my last post about eating well with multiple sclerosis (MS), we discussed meal planning and prep to help enable you to eat nutritiously through the week.

Maybe you’ve decided to carve out some time to make a list and prep some food for the week. Good for you! Need some inspiration?

Here are a few recipes that will produce left overs that hold up well and can be packed up for healthy lunches. Don’t forget to include plenty of extra fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grain cereals and non-fat dairy products to be eaten as breakfast and snacks.

Meal 1: Chilled peanut noodles with grilled chicken breast and steamed broccoli

Click here for the recipe.

The whole-wheat noodles give you a good dose of fiber to help keep you regular and the protein from the peanuts will help you feel full longer than other vegetarian pasta dishes. Cook enough chicken for you and your family to have a 4 oz. portion both for dinner lunch the next day, plus an extra pound for another recipe later in the week.

This noodle dish can be served room temperature right after it is made. It is also great eaten cold the next day. If you are sensitive to heat and don’t want to heat up you kitchen re-heating food then you will love this dish.

Meal 2: Slow-cooker vegetarian chili with a whole grain roll

Click here for the recipe.

This dish is ...

Advocating for Children with Severe Food Allergies

Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders (“EGIDs”) are a severe form of gastrointestinal inflammation that results from food allergy.  Children and adults in the U.S. are increasingly being diagnosed with this condition that unfortunately requires strict elimination diets, and many times, a life-long inability to eat foods that most of us take for granted each day, including dairy, wheat, soy, and eggs. 

For children requiring such restrictive diets, pediatric gastroenterologists like me work hard to find adequate alternate sources of nutrition.  For my patients with EGIDs, I often prescribe special “elemental formulas” as a treatment to both heal the intestinal inflammation and prevent further harm.  These formulas are completely allergen-free while meeting 100% of a child’s nutritional needs. 

However, in the state of Washington, most ....

Stocking a Fatigue-Fighting Pantry for Multiple Sclerosis

Most people have experienced feeling too tired to prepare a meal, or the comfortable convenience of fast food options. For many people with multiple sclerosis (MS), fatigue can be a persistent issue that leaves them feeling without a choice.

However, a little planning can make preparing healthy, fatigue-fighting meals possible. A small amount of preparation every week can go a long way in saving you time and energy and allow you to eat healthfully all week long. Start by sitting down each week and make a meal plan.

Here are some nutritious, easily prepared food ideas to consider to putting on your shopping list:

Nutrition for MS fatigue: Tips for planning and preparing healthy meals

Planning and preparing healthy meals can be challenging for anyone. When you have multiple sclerosis (MS), fatigue can be another obstacle preventing you from packing healthy snacks or fixing a home-cooked dinner.

Eating healthy foods can help you fight fatigue and avoid the crash you may experience after eating fast food and sugary drinks. Here are a few tips to make food shopping and cooking more efficient and manageable so that a healthy diet can fit into your lifestyle:

  1. Make a game plan

    Take a few minutes every week to map out some easy dinners for the week. Choose recipes that can be prepared ahead of time, will store well and will produce leftovers that can be packed for the following day’s lunch or repurposed for another meal.

    Brainstorm ....

What is celiac sprue or celiac disease?

An estimated 1.6 million Americans are currently following a gluten free diet, though many have never been diagnosed with celiac sprue (also known as celiac disease).  Patients commonly ask me about celiac sprue and gluten free diets, so I will try to answer some of these questions. The first question I get is what is celiac sprue or celiac disease.

What is celiac sprue?

In celiac sprue, the ingestion of gluten causes inflammatory damage to the lining of the small intestine.   Gluten is a protein, very common in our diet, found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats. (Ed. note - see this chart from the NIDDK that shows other ingredients and items that may contain gluten.)  In people with celiac sprue, the usually large absorptive surface of the small intestine is flattened from damage, significantly limiting its ability to absorb nutrients. 

Though celiac sprue is estimated to affect approximately 1.8 million Americans, many are unaware they have the disease. 

What are the symptoms of celiac sprue?

Celiac sprue causes a variety of symptoms.  They can range in intensity from very mild to debilitating.  Some of the most common signs and symptoms are:.

Ketogenic diet as a treatment for seizures

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that has proven to be effective in the treatment of seizures. In fact, the ketogenic diet is one of the oldest and most effective treatments available for patients with seizures regardless of age, from infancy through adulthood. The ketogenic diet must only be started under direct medical supervision.

Here are some frequently asked questions about the ketogenic diet:

What is the ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet is a special high-fat diet that often includes heavy cream, butter and vegetable oils to provide the necessary fat. The diet eliminates carbohydrate rich foods such as bread, rice, cereals, pasta, cookies, and cakes.

How effective is the diet at controlling or eliminating seizures?
Studies that have followed children on the diet for long periods reveal that at least 2/3 of all children on the diet have a significant reduction in seizures by over half. 1/3 of children on the diet will have a greater than 90% reduction in seizures, with half of these children ....

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