The Ultimate MS Fighter

The Ultimate MS Fighter

Another pioneer in the research of diet’s impact on Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is Dr. Roy Swank. While his approach is similar to that of Dr. Terry Wahls, there are a couple slight variations in his plan. Dr. Swank bases these recommendations on over 50 years of hands-on research with MS patients. The main component of the Swank diet is to focus on very low-fat foods (particularly low saturated fat foods, but reducing polyunsaturated fats, as well.) In addition to this guideline, he advocates low meat consumption (especially red meats), and high intake of grains, fruits and veggies. This diet, he says, is simple to follow and in many cases, alleviates chronic symptoms associated with MS.

Other lifestyle habits include getting adequate rest, reducing stress, and maintaining a positive attitude.

The General Rules

  • No more than 40 to 50 grams of total fat. The typical American diet contains approximately 150 to 175 grams.
  • No more than 15 grams of saturated fat.
  • No red meat for the first year.
  • No limit on the amount of carbohydrate from starches, vegetables, and fruits.
  • No processed foods.
  • Supplements to include: omega-3 fatty acids, a multi-vitamin, vitamin D, pea-based protein powder, vitamin B-12, and probiotics.
  • Exercise, but not to exhaustion.
  • Take a nap for at least one hour around the middle of the day.

Here’s a list of acceptable foods as per Dr. Swank’s dietary recommendations and here's an interview with Dr. Swank conducted by Dr. John McDougall.

As research advances, more studies add to our knowledge of how foods and nutrients affect those suffering from MS. Other recommendations to consider and discuss with your healthcare practitioner include:

- Avoiding gluten

- Avoiding dairy*

- Increasing percentage of fats as linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid (nuts, seeds, most veggies and fruit)

- Adding gamma linolenic acid (GLA) sources (spirulina, evening primrose oil) to reduce inflammation

- Adding lecithin (cabbage, cauliflower)

- Trying seaweeds and micro-algae (kelp, spirulina, chlorella)

References:

Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition by Paul Pitchford

http://swankmsdiet.charityfinders.org/

*Malosse D. Correlation between milk and dairy product consumption and multiple sclerosis prevalence: a worldwide study. Neuroepidemiology. 1992;11(4-6):304-12.

*Butcher J. The distribution of multiple sclerosis in relation to the dairy industry and milk consumption. N Z Med J. 1976 Jun 23;83(566):427-30.

http://www.chiro.org/nutrition/ABSTRACTS/GLA_MS_Integrative.shtml

http://www.dietsinreview.com/diets/swank-ms-diet/

Registered Dietitian


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