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Food for Thought

Our understanding of multiple sclerosis and its treatment has evolved dramatically over the past 30 years. We still don’t understand what causes MS and can’t repair the damage done by it. But, we can significantly slow MS down. Why is that so important? Because we now know that the human brain has a tremendous capacity to repair itself and recover from damage.

For people with MS, giving the brain that chance for maximum health is a two-pronged endeavor. We need to slow the disease down enough so that the innate repair systems in the brain can catch up, and we need to optimize the functioning of that repair system. Today, the best strategies for treating MS involve the early and continued use of disease-modifying therapies AND developing healthy lifestyle interventions that encourage brain repair.

Those healthy lifestyle interventions are often discussed as wellness strategies. While many people have grown familiar with hearing the term “wellness” just about wherever we go, what does that buzz word really mean? Wellness involves a balance of emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual, leisure and physical activities to contribute to overall physical and mental health. All of these components are critical for our wellness.
Three pillars that support our physical wellbeing are sleep, exercise, and nutrition. These three components all interact with one another. In past issues of InforMS, we have focused in-depth on sleep and exercise. Those issues can be found at mscenter.org/education/publications/informs.

In this issue of InforMS, we focus on nutrition. We’ll look at what the research tells us about diet, nutrition, and MS. We interview registered dietician Holly Sullivan to further explore nutrition, the interconnections with the other pillars of wellness, and her advice for eating healthier. And we discuss how creating a wellness vision can be helpful in incorporating healthy habits into our daily lives, including a step-by-step guide to create your own.

At a time when there seems to be so much that is out of our control, it can be even more helpful to focus on the things we CAN control. In this issue we’ve included a variety of practical strategies, tools, and resources that we hope will be helpful for you.

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