A study of around 7,000 people with MS in North America has assessed how diet quality is associated with disability.
Researchers at John Hopkins School of Medicine used the NARCOMS (North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis) dataset to look at the intake of specific foods with disability severity in people with MS.
Participants completed a dietary screener questionnaire that estimates intake of fruits, vegetables and legumes, wholegrains, added sugars and red or processed meats. The researchers constructed an overall diet quality score for each individual based on these food groups and the higher the score the healthier the diet. They then assessed the association between diet quality and disability status.
Of the 7,639 responders, 6,989 reported physician-diagnosed MS and provided dietary information. Participants with highest diet quality scores had lower levels of disability and lower depression scores. Individuals reporting a composite healthy lifestyle also had lower odds of reporting severe fatigue, depression, pain, or cognitive impairment.
Researchers concluded that the large cross-sectional survey suggests a healthy diet and a composite healthy lifestyle are associated with lesser disability and symptom burden in MS.