Therapeutic lifestyle changes have recently become a top priority in multiple sclerosis research, and medical perspectives are beginning to change.
Until recently, for example, MS patients typically were discouraged from doing physical exercise because it appeared to worsen fatigue and other symptoms of the nerve disease. Now, new evidence shows that the opposite is true.
“The first line for every chronic disease must begin with addressing diet and lifestyle as thoroughly as possible,” says Terry Wahls, M.D., clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa.
She speaks not only from extensive research, but from personal experience. Dr. Wahls was confined to a wheelchair for four years after being diagnosed with MS in 2000.
After helping other MS patients follow in her footsteps, she published research on the subject, and wrote "The Wahls Protocol," a blueprint to natural MS remission.
Today, she bikes to work five miles each way and lives an exceptionally active life, teaching, seeing patients, and lecturing all over the world.
The right diet significantly reduces fatigue and improves mental function and mood, while exercise improves physical function, including the ability to stand and move.
Dr. Wahls’ basic diet excludes gluten, dairy, and eggs, because these most often trigger autoimmune reactions that drive MS symptoms.
However, certain vegetables contain critical nutrients for rebuilding a healthy nervous system and brain.
For men, she recommends three (or more) full dinner plates of vegetables daily: one of leafy greens; one of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, or bok choy; and one of brightly colored vegetables and fruit.
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