Emotional Effects of Multiple Sclerosis

Using Food to Combat the Emotional Effects of MS

It is no secret that multiple sclerosis can have profound emotional consequences. Stress, anxiety and depression are merely the tip of the iceberg when dealing with this disease. Those who are unsuccessful in managing their MS, whether by conventional methods or through positive lifestyle changes, will often experience extreme mood swings, periods of inappropriate sexual aggressiveness and even the pseudobulbar effect, which is characterized by uncontrollable bouts of laughter or tears. The good news is that certain dietary decisions can have a remarkable impact on these symptoms.

The Vitamin D Issue

One of the most well-known, diet-related facts concerning MS is that this disease tends to be most prevalent in areas in which exposure to natural sunlight is nominal and where Vitamin D deficiency is common. Vitamin D deficiency is not only associated with a high prevalence of MS, but it is also believed to exacerbate both physical and emotional symptoms. The major issue that most MS sufferers have with Vitamin D, however, is simply finding the best method for getting more of it.

Supplements have been shown to have a number of benefits for the body, however, these are not always readily absorbed. Thus, extreme doses can have unpleasant side effects while providing very nominal benefits. Although exposure to sunlight remains vital, supplementary efforts should be food-based, given that people have the greatest opportunity to process, absorb and benefit from Vitamin D that is naturally found in their food sources. Best of all, enhancing the diet with foods rich in Vitamin D is often an effective way to stave off depression and anxiety.

Salmon is rich with Vitamin D and loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. This should be added to the diet in moderation, with consumption of no more than two to three servings per week. Moreover, people should take care to only purchase salmon that has been caught in the wild, rather than salmon that has been farm-raised. A special red algae that is highly beneficial to human health is what gives salmon its natural, pinkish hue. Farm-raised salmon, however, have white flesh and any red tint that consumers find is the result of artificial dyes. Ultimately, food quality is just as important as food type, when eating as a method of disease management. Tuna, sardines and eggs should also be incorporated into the meal plan.

Getting the Right Oils

There are many natural oils and fats that are absolutely vital for good brain functioning and overall health. Many of these beneficial oils are found in the same foods that are consumed for boosting Vitamin D levels. One of the top dietary additions to make in terms of beneficial fats, however, is coconut oil. This is a highly stable oil and thus, it is far more suitable for heating and cooking with than olive oil, which should always be consumed at room temperature. Best of all coconut oil has a wealth of anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that help to balance the body and promote mood balance.

Incorporating coconut oil into the diet is not as tricky as it might seem. For instance, this oil can be added to soups, stews, sauces and gravies. It can also be stirred into coffee, tea and oatmeal or used as a substitute for butter when baking.

Eating to alleviate the physical and emotional symptoms of MS necessitates a deeper look at food quality. In addition to finding the best foods to add to the diet, consumers should also determine the best foods to eliminate. Ultimately, a nature-based eating plan will prove far more beneficial than one that includes preservatives, artificial colors, flavor enhancers and other highly refined or unnatural additions.