Tips to Reduce Inflammation in MS Patients
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive disease that damages nerve cells in the spine and brain, affecting speech, vision and coordination. Those who have MS must be vigilant about inflammation, which can exacerbate symptoms and create more discomfort and distress. Tips to reduce inflammation in MS patients and ways to engage in good self-care are outlined below.
Pay Attention to Body Signals
The busy, modern lifestyle has led to people not being in tune with their bodies. Paying attention to signs of distress is very important for those with MS. Some aspects to consider are:
• Are symptoms improved while on holiday or socializing?
• Do symptoms worsen with lack of proper sleep?
• Are symptoms better or worse after eating certain foods?
• Are symptoms affected by the time of day or weather conditions?
Knowing how the body responds in different situations will help the MS patient avoid inflammation and seek the proper care if it does happen.
Eat a Healthy Diet
While no two MS patients are alike, the following dietary guidelines generally work well.
• Eat whole foods. This means organic fruits and vegetables, fish caught in the ocean and eggs from free-range chickens.
• Include healthful fats. Foods such as avocados, nuts and olive oil contain monosaturated fats, which are not only anti-inflammatory but also heart healthy. Flaxseeds, sardines and salmon are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which control inflammatory responses in the body.
• Say no to processed foods. Sugar, gluten and trans fat are all problematic, as are artificial sweetners.
Supplementation can be helpful to MS patients by either preventing or reducing an inflammatory response. Any patient wishing to use supplements should always first check with a doctor. Some supplements to consider:
• Probiotics to balance gut flora.
• Fish oil to check inflammatory reactions.
• Bioflavonoids to act as antioxidants.
Get Enough Sleep
Most adults require eight hours of sleep each night to restore the body’s energy, and those with MS may require even more. It is important to practice proper sleep hygiene in order to help the body relax and reduce the chance of inflammation.
• Use a supportive and comfortable mattress and pillows.
• Remove all computers and televisions from the bedroom. Do not use the bed for anything except sleep or sex.
• Utilize a white noise machine to block out distracting sounds.
• Use black-out curtains if necessary.
The stronger a body is, the healthier it is. Exercise is one of the best things an MS patient can do to control the disease and inflammation. Some recommended exercises:
• Pilates and yoga. Both keep muscles strong and supple, and teach effective breathing techniques.
• Walking. It is an easy exercise that requires only 10 minutes per day to be beneficial.
• Dancing. A fun, easy way to keep a body in shape and inflammation under control.
Having a progressive disease like multiple sclerosis is a daily challenge. Following the tips above will help the MS patient achieve balance and reduce the risk of painful inflammation.
Thanks for the Guest Blog from Derek at MS Living Symptom Free
Derek is blogging for MS Living Symptom Free, a site that provides multiple sclerosis advice and recipes for a gluten free diet for MS. When he is not blogging, he enjoys relaxing with his girlfriend and catching up on their favorite TV shows.