Healthy diet. Healthy lifestyle.

MS can affect your life. Only you decide how to live it.

MS can affect your life in a number of ways. But by choosing a healthier diet and lifestyle, you can change that. As our MS patient experts attest, it’s important to have a healthy diet and lifestyle, whether you have MS or not.

Here, we review certain diet plans linked with MS and give some pointers on the best and worst foods to look out for and on how to enjoy socializing and nights out, despite having MS.

Quote marks

I find it empowering that things like exercise, healthy food, and good sleep help me feel better and that these are factors that I can control.


Living with MS since 2003

View Profile
Quote marks

The combination of the right medication, exercise, and an improved diet has worked for me and I’ve noticed my symptoms have started to improve.


Living with MS since 2006

View Profile
Speak to your healthcare team for nutritional advice, to ensure you’re eating the right foods and to help find a healthy diet that’s best suited to you.

Can I manage my MS with a healthy diet?

There isn’t enough evidence to say that what you eat can help manage your MS for sure, but healthy eating has proven health benefits for everyone. It is an important way to reduce overall health risks and protect against diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Quote marks

Although we do not have a huge amount of evidence that nutrition directly affects MS, we do know that fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts/seeds are all nutritious foods. Similarly, we know that foods high in saturated fat and salt are linked with health concerns, such as heart disease. Therefore, for me, it seems sensible to eat more fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts/seeds and less butter, fatty meat, and heavily processed foods, whether you have MS or not!


Living with MS since 2003

View Profile

Why is it difficult to find evidence for the link between MS and nutrition?

This is partly due to the complexities of MS and the way clinical studies must be conducted. It’s more difficult to obtain unbiased and accurate findings about the impact of nutrition on disease than the impact of a drug.

So, what are the diet plans that may benefit MS?

There are some ‘MS diets’ that have been suggested to have beneficial effects on MS, but their link with actual benefits in MS have not yet been proven, and scientific research regarding this is ongoing. Take a look at the latest evidence below and decide for yourself…

Below, we take a look at some of the commonly known diet plans for staying healthy and review the latest clinical research on their links with MS to date.

  • Swank diet
    Developed by Dr Roy Swank in the 1940s  for people with MS, this diet limits your daily intake of saturated and unsaturated fats. And, although there is still no solid evidence to suggest that the Swank diet is beneficial for MS, a study is currently underway by researchers at the University of Iowa comparing the Swank diet to the Palaeolithic diet in an effort to understand its impact on people with relapsing forms of MS. More information on this study can be found here
  • Paleolithic Diet
    This high-protein diet puts an emphasis on meats, fish, nuts, vegetables, and fruit and is another so-called ‘MS diet’. However, there is currently no conclusive evidence on the benefits of a high-protein diet on MS. There is an ongoing study by researchers at the University of Iowa to further assess the effects of the Swank diet and Paleolithic diet on MS, as mentioned above

Plant-based diets

  • McDougall diet
    This low-fat, plant-based diet was studied over the course of 1 year in people with relapsing forms of MS. The study showed that the people following the McDougall diet experienced less fatigue. But, it’s important to note that this diet did not show any benefits on brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) activity, relapse rate, or disability, and additional research is needed to confirm this finding
  • Mediterranean diet
    A small pilot study assessed the impact of a modified Mediterranean diet (with foods high in poly- and monounsaturated fats, such as fish, fresh fruit, and vegetables and grains, with no meat or dairy) in women with MS over a 6-month period. Although some improvements were recorded in terms of fatigue, impact on MS symptoms, and disability, further research is needed to prove this type of diet has meaningful benefit for people with MS

There are many other diet plans out there, which claim to benefit people with MS. But it’s important to remember that these so-called ‘MS diets’ have not been directly assessed for their effects on MS in clinical trials, and there is not yet any solid evidence that a particular diet plan can help with your MS. Before starting any diet plan, be informed about the latest science around MS and nutrition and talk to your healthcare team about a diet plan that might be right for you

Without enough clinical evidence, we can’t say for sure which diet plans are best suited to MS. But, we do know this: an overall healthy diet with exercise is good for all of us.

According to dietary guidelines for healthy living from some of the most trusted organizations (including the MS Society of Canada and the Government of Canada), here’s a list of recommended foods – those to fill-up on and those to avoid.

Get plenty of:

  • Unsaturated fats (in things like fish, avocado, nuts, and olive oil)
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Legumes (lentils, beans), whole grains, and nuts

Limit or avoid:

Sugars (look out for the sugar content in certain processed foods and drinks, as well as the naturally occurring sugars in things like honey and fruit juice)

  • Salt (found in many processed or prepared foods)
  • Saturated fats (in fatty meat, butter, cream, and cheese) 
  • Trans-fatty acids (in baked goods, fried food, prepackaged snacks)

Quote marks

A simple rule of mine is to eat as healthy as possible most of the time and then if I am travelling or at a party, a little unhealthy food is not so much of a big deal.


Living with MS since 2003

View Profile
Quote marks

After my diagnosis, my overall health and well-being became much more of a priority to me. I could see and feel the benefits exercising was providing, so I knew it was time to look at my diet too. I stopped eating processed foods and began making more natural healthier choices, like adding more fruits and vegetables to my diet. I included more lean proteins and tried to cut down on starches and sugars. None of this happened overnight. I needed to come to these conclusions on my own time.


Living with MS since 2006

View Profile
How does alcohol fit into the equation? We have a whole section dedicated to MS and alcohol.

Eating well is really important. My mom tells me my first word was ‘more’ – as in more food! I’ve always loved food – and lots of it! MS hasn’t changed that.

I think most people know they need to eat more fruits and vegetables or aren’t getting enough fibre. Here are some of my favourite healthy recipe ideas and snacks…

  • Breakfast: Berries on oatmeal or a fruit smoothie
  • Lunch: Vegetable soup, salad, or a stir fry
  • Try to include fibre in all of your meals – I use beans, chickpeas, or lentils in soups or sauces
  • Dinner: Curry or pasta dish with lots of vegetables
  • Snacks: Smoothie with frozen fruit, banana, flaxseed, and soy milk. Whole wheat toast with peanut butter and banana. Or just a handful of nuts!

After a long day, I’ll make a quick dinner by throwing some frozen vegetables in a pot with a tin can of tomatoes and lots of herbs and spices – even before I take my backpack off!

Frozen fruits and vegetables are a great option for anyone who’s busy or has fatigue. Most nutrients are well maintained by freezing, so frozen fruit and vegetables are not only cheaper and more convenient than fresh produce – they are also nutritious, too!

A go-to recipe for me in the morning is a spinach shake. I use skimmed milk, Greek yogurt (high in protein), peanut butter, honey and spinach (think Popeye)! It gives me energy and fills me up. It’s a quick and easy way to start my day!

Recipe: Spinach and peanut butter shake

  • ½ cup skimmed milk
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ½ cup baby spinach.
  • Ice cubes

Blend all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

Find articles on a healthy lifestyle with MS below.

A healthy lifestyle is important, whether you have MS or not. Find out how you could improve yours here.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Alcohol: Drinking & Partying | MS Resistance


MS can affect your movement. Let’s defy it at every step.

Information on how to get in shape, keep fit, or be more active with MS.

MS can change your life. But it doesn’t have to define it.

MS doesn’t have to stop you doing what you love. In these articles you’ll find information on how to continue living your way.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Exercises for Balance & Exercise Plans | MS Resistance


Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Healthy Diet and Lifestyle | MS Resistance

Healthy Diet and Lifestyle

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and work | MS Resistance


Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and relationships | MS Resistance


Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Mental Health: Anxiety, Depression | MS Resistance

Mental Health

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Support Groups | MS Resistance

MS Support Groups