Healthy diet can improve well-being of adults with multiple sclerosis

28 Oct 2021
Healthy diet can improve well-being of adults with multiple sclerosis

A healthier overall diet score and higher fibre, fruit, and vegetable scores result in better health outcomes in adults with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study, noting a much lower proportion of participants avoiding dairy and meat or adhering to a specific MS diet than previously reported.

The authors sought to examine dietary habits and associations with health outcomes of Australians with MS in this cross-sectional study. They used 2016 survey data from the Australian MS Longitudinal Study, including the Dietary Habits Questionnaire, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Assessment of Quality of Life, Fatigue Severity Scale, Patient-Determine Disease Steps Scale, and 13 MS symptoms scale. Directed acyclic graphs were used to generate regression models.

Of the 1,490 participants, nearly all (94.3 percent) reported trying to eat healthy with 21.2 percent following one or more specific diets, albeit not strictly. Overall, 7.9 percent reported not eating meat, 8.1 percent did not consume dairy, and 4.0 percent consumed neither food group.

A healthier diet score correlated with better mental, physical, and total quality of life; lower depression pain scores; and fewer cognition, vision, and bowel symptoms. Additionally, higher reported fibre, fruit, vegetable, and healthy fat scores positively correlated with most health outcomes.

“Prospective dietary studies are needed to further understand whether dietary change is feasible and affects health outcomes over time,” the authors said.

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