What diet is best for those with MS?

We know the foods we eat affect development, behavior, health conditions, and lifespan. Although diet is not a cure for MS, it has been shown to improve some symptoms and reduce conditions known to influence MS disease course including:

    • Obesity
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Hypertension

The foods you eat influence your gut microbiome. There is growing evidence that the gut microbiome plays a role in the risk and potentially the course of MS. There have been many different diets published for MS but only a few have shown positive research findings. These dietary patterns are highlighted here because they have been shown to be helpful for improving health.

There are certain aspects of these diets that we combine for MS due to the anti- inflammatory properties and risk reduction of multiple diseases.

USDA Guidelines

Evidence-based dietary guidelines developed for the US population to maintain good health and reduce incidence of chronic disease.

Key recommendations:

  • Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats
  • Focus on variety
  • Choose nutrient dense foods
  • Be mindful of portion sizes

Mediterranean Diet

  • Demonstrated to reduce risk of heart disease
  • Plant-based diet including:

      -fruits and vegetables

     -whole grains, legumes, and nuts

     -primarily fats consisting of olive or canola oil

     -utilizing spices instead of salt

     -minimizing red meat


Demonstrated to lower blood pressure.

Key recommendations:

    • Increase intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, and dairy
    • Consume high fiber and moderate fat
    • Focus especially on potassium, magnesium, and calcium rich foods

General MS Diet Guidelines


  • Focus on variety to ensure you get all nutrients you need in a day, as each food group has different benefits
  • Consume 3-5 servings of fruits per day cup or 1 small piece)
  • Consume 3-5 servings of vegetables per day cup cooked or 1 cup raw)
  • Eat at least 3 servings per day of whole grains
  • Consume fish high in omega 3 fatty acids (tuna, salmon, or mackerel) at least 1-2 times per week
  • Include nuts (5-7 oz per week)
  • Eat monounsaturated fats (olive oil, avocado, peanuts, almonds, and walnuts) and omega 3 fatty acids (walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, canola oil) as primary fat sources


  • Processed foods
  • Sodium
  • Trans fatty acids (Crisco, margarine) and omega 6 fatty acids (corn oil, safflower oil, vegetable oil)
  • Red meat
  • Refined sugar
Meal Sample Menu
Breakfast Oatmeal—1 cup cooked Strawberries—1/2 cup Almonds—1 oz

Whole grain bread—2 slices Grilled chicken breast—3 oz Avocado—1/2 each

Orange—1 medium

Snack Veggies sticks—1/2 cup Hummus—2 oz
Dinner Salmon—4 oz

Brown rice—1/2 cup cooked Broccoli—1/2 cup

Tossed salad—1 cup Olive oil dressing—2 T

Snack Greek Yogurt—6 oz Flax seeds– 1oz

Blueberries—1/2 cup

Center for Clinical Investigation ( CCI)

Nutrition Services

The CCI Nutrition Core provides:

  • Research diets, nutrition intake data collection and analysis
  • Patient nutrition assessment using a variety of modalities conducted through the CCI inpatient, outpatient, and extended off-site facilities
  • Services in accordance with research study design, protocol orders and participant requirements

Please ask your neurologist if you are interested in any of these services.