Daily lifestyle choices
If you are suffering from multiple sclerosis and experiencing brain fog, poor memory, and cognitive decline, take heart and know that your daily lifestyle choices can make a significant impact in helping to minimize these symptoms. I have personally found that diet, exercise, herbal remedies, and more have all helped to keep my mind clear and sharp throughout my journey with MS.
The Importance of Diet
Used as far back as 460 B.C. for epilepsy, researchers are now finding that a ketogenic diet can help benefit people with other neurological disorders, including multiple sclerosis1. It is a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet with 70-80% of calories from fat, 15-25% from protein, and 5-10% from carbohydrates. The diet causes you to burn fat for energy rather than carbs, which puts you into a state of ketosis. When the liver begins producing ketones, these molecules help to protect the cells of the nervous system, which is an important consideration for those with MS. Adopting a ketogenic diet is also beneficial because it calms inflammation and oxidative stress. Moreover, ketosis lowers the toxic effect of glutamate, an amino acid that is linked with demyelination, a type of nerve damage found in MS patients.
I have had tremendous success with a ketogenic diet in managing my MS. I often pair it with intermittent fasting, which I discuss in the blog post “My Favorite Diet for Managing Multiple Sclerosis“.
Exercise and Brain Health
As I wrote in, “Exercise, Multiple Sclerosis, and Brain Health—Here’s What You Need to Know”, staying aerobically active is crucial for maintaining healthy brain function:
Aerobically fit MS patients had far fewer brain lesions compared to those who weren’t fit. The lesions in the fit patients were also smaller. This may help explain why the fitter patients scored higher on the brain functioning tests.
Aerobic fitness also indicated less damage to brain tissue—both gray matter and white matter—in those with MS. The study found that the larger volume of gray matter was associated with highly fit MS patients, which in turn improves brain processing function.
What’s interesting about the study is that for many years MS patients were told to avoid exercise because it was thought to make their symptoms worse. But now researchers are finding that it can actually dramatically improve brain health in those with the disease.
Over the years I have found that exercising regularly has greatly improved my cognitive function.
Herbal remedies have also been essential in boosting my clarity and overall brain health. So much so that I use my Brain Bundle tinctures on a daily basis. The bundle contains a range of powerful, brain-enhancing botanicals, including Lemon Balm, Lion’s Mane, Reishi , and Cordyceps.
Keep Your Mind Engaged
Along with diet, exercise, and herbal remedies, I also engage in mentally stimulating activities regularly to protect my brain from memory loss and cognitive decline. Scheduling the following into your day can give your brain a good workout:
- Number games and crossword puzzles
- Reading books or magazines
- Keeping a diary, writing short stories, or poetry
- Artistic pursuits like painting, sculpture, or drawing
- Playing a musical instrument
- Learning a foreign language
Fresh Air Therapy
I also recommend spending time outdoors each day. It will lower stress and anxiety, boost Vitamin D levels, and increase oxygen to the brain. You can read more about the benefits here.
- Sampaio, Letícia Pereira de Brito. “Ketogenic diet for epilepsy treatment.” Arquivos de neuro-psiquiatria vol. 74,10 (2016): 842-848. doi:10.1590/0004-282X20160116. http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0004-282X2016001000842&lng
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