Multiple Sclerosis

Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Multiple Sclerosis

March 13, 2024

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Anti-Inflammatory Diet for MS

Would you consider your diet to be an anti-inflammatory diet? Chances are you’re eating better than the standard American diet, but you’re not quite sure if it hits the mark for an anti-inflammatory or therapeutic diet.

But when you’re living with a chronic illness like MS, we want to leverage food as an opportunity to reduce symptoms and increase our chances of stabilizing this disease.

So, let’s do a quick check in on how your diet is doing in terms of helping you to reduce inflammation in your body.

What exactly is an anti-inflammatory diet?

Basically, an anti-inflammatory prioritizes foods that have been identified to lower inflammation—such as vegetables, fruits, nuts & seeds, fatty fish, and olive oil—while reducing intake of those that can trigger it, like fried foods, processed foods and foods with added sugars.

On paper, it seems like the obvious way to eat, but clearly this is not a good reflection of the Standard American Diet – SAD – which is basically all processed foods, loaded with sugar and unhealthy fat.

A typical day of meals on the SAD diet


  • Sugary cereal with whole milk or a commercially prepared muffin with butter.
  • A glass of fruit juice or a coffee drink high in sugar and cream.

Morning Snack:

  • Packaged snack cakes or a doughnut.
  • A soda or sweetened coffee drink.


  • Fast-food featuring a hamburger or fried chicken sandwich with fries.
  • A soda or sweetened iced tea.

Afternoon Snack:

  • Chips and/or candy bar.
  • Another soda or a sports drink.


  • Fried chicken or a big plate of cheesy pasta with a vegetable in sight
  • Sugary dessert such as ice cream, cake or pie.

Evening Snack:

  • Chips, ice cream, candy
  • Perhaps more soda, or a beer or cocktail.

Your Starting Point

Now, if you’re listening to this podcast, my guess is that this isn’t your starting point.

You’re not the extreme of the SAD diet, but you don’t feel like you could consider your diet, “anti-inflammatory” or therapeutic.

So, let’s talk about how you take the average diet today and level it up to be considered an anti-inflammatory diet.

5 Key Elements to an Anti-Inflammatory Diet for MS

If you’re just starting out, you don’t need to do all five at once.

I always recommend doing one at a time.

Start with the one that feels like that path with least resistance.

You want to create quick and easy wins for yourself.

So, as I share these 5 elements, see which one stands out to you as the one that you’re most interested in and/or feels like the one that would be easiest for you to start today.

Emphasize whole foods: fruits, vegetables, quality protein, and healthy fats.

This is basically the cornerstone of the anti-inflammatory diet – each whole, unprocessed foods.

You’ve likely heard this 100 times before, but I always want to encourage you to not just keep taking more information in, but to identify one step that you can start putting into action.

So where in your diet do you lean on processed foods?

For me, it’s snacks.

If I’m hungry in the middle of the day, it’s easy to just grab some chips and keep the day moving.

But the other night I was making stuffed peppers for dinner, and I cuts some extra pieces of pepper and put them in a bag in the fridge, so I could snack on them.

If it’s convenient, I’m far more likely to do it, so where can you get a quick win for yourself today in choosing a whole food option?

Can you cook a sweet potato instead of another night of pasta – even if it is gluten?

Can you snack on some fruit instead of candy?

Keep the step small and simple but find ways to choose more whole foods because they’re packed with so many nutrients that will support your cells in healing and reducing inflammation.

The next two can really be said together: Increase Omega-3 fatty Acid and reduce Omega-6 fatty acids.

Increase Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their powerful anti-inflammatory properties which is important when managing MS.

They are essential fats that the body cannot produce on its own, so they must be obtained through diet.

Found abundantly in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, as well as in flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts, Omega-3s help to reduce the production of inflammatory molecules and support brain and cardiovascular health.

Limit Omega-6 Fatty Acids

While Omega-6 fatty acids are also essential to the diet, the Standard American Diet often contains them in excessive amounts, particularly from processed and fried foods that use oils high in Omega-6s.

This imbalance can promote inflammation – the opposite of what we want when managing an inflammatory condition like multiple sclerosis.

By reducing the intake of these foods and increasing Omega-3s, you can help restore a healthier balance and minimize inflammation.

Increase Antioxidants

Antioxidants play a critical role in neutralizing free radicals, which can cause oxidative stress and contribute to inflammation and tissue damage.

Berries, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and other brightly colored fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants.

Including a variety of these foods can boost your body’s defense against inflammation.

Prioritize Gut Health

The health of the gut microbiome is intricately linked with the immune system and inflammation.

A diet high in fiber from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, along with the inclusion of fermented foods rich in probiotics (like sauerkraut) and prebiotic foods (like garlic, onions, and bananas), supports a healthy gut.

This, in turn, can help manage inflammation and strengthen the immune system.

When Will You Get Results?

Now the million-dollar questions is always, when will I see results?

That’s what anyone starting a new diet wants to know.

And I think you know that answer is that it will be different for each person based on:

  • How much inflammation you currently have in your body?
  • How long the body has been inflamed?
  • What changes are you willing to make?
  • And how consistent are you with the changes?

But let me at least tell you this, some people might feel improvements within their first couple weeks, especially when it comes to

  • Energy
  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Sleep
  • Digestion
  • And even mood

Others might need a few months to see noticeable changes.

If there’s one thing that I learned about the body, is that it will heal on its on time. We simply need to support it with the right tools – i.e. healthy foods – and be patient with it.

This isn’t just about a quick fix to symptoms – that’s a great perk – but we’re also looking at the longterm benefits as we’re managing a chronic illness.

We need a diet that is not just making a difference today, but it’s creating a healing environment in our body for the long game. 

Lifestyle Reminder

You also want to keep in mind that stress creates inflammation in the body.

So, managing stress is just as important as the foods that we choose to eat.

So, if nothing else, try not to complicate food.

Don’t make it a source of stress.

How can you keep these changes easy and light?

If something feels easy and light, you’re far more likely to do it and to stick with it.

Don’t create a list of rigid rules for your diet.

Make a game out of it.

If you want to focus on increasing your veggies, gamify it.

Maybe you give yourself one point for each serving of vegetables you eat.

And once you reach “X” points, you get a reward or a prize.

It could be something that you’ve been wanting to buy, or it could be a mini spa night that you create for yourself. It’s whatever is meaningful to you.

My point is to have fun with it.

Don’t make this feel like a punishment, allow it to be light and easy.

Personalize it to make it work for you.

It’s also cool to think about the changes that will happen in your cells and in your body by changing your diet.

That’s an empowering feeling.

That can be motivating in and of itself!

And let’s end by tying this back to MS, I mean the is My MS Podcast, and our goal is to reclaim our body, mind and life from multiple sclerosis. 

Anti-Inflammatory Diet Benefits for MS

So, what can this anti-inflammatory diet do for MS?

The two biggest benefits in my opinion, as a Nutrition Coach specializing in MS and autoimmune disease are:

  1. It can help to modulate the immune system – basically bring it back in balance so it stops attacking our own body.
  2. And reduce chronic inflammation, which is a key factor in MS.

Chronic inflammation can damage myelin – the protective covering of nerve fibers — which is what our immune system attacks when we have MS.

Anti-inflammatory foods can help reduce the confusion in our immune system and the damage it causes to our body.

So, in the short-term, we’re looking to help reduce or eliminate symptoms.

In the long-term, we’re trying to create a healing environment in our body that encourages this disease to remain stable.

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I'm Alene, your MS Sister.

When I was diagnosed with MS in 2016, I was scared and felt alone. But as a Nutrition Coach, I knew there was more to healing than what I was being told. I took action and within six months the lesions I had on my brain shrunk and went inactive. Now, seven years later there has been no new lesions and no new activity. As a nutritionist specializing in multiple sclerosis, I help women take back control of their future.

That’s my story, but I’m not alone. It's your turn to start Thriving with MS. I’m here to show you the way. 

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