Healthy eating guidelines

The healthy eating guidelines provided here are based on the Australian Healthy Eating Guidelines[1] [2] [3]and an anti-inflammatory / Mediterranean-type diet, as endorsed by world leading health research institutes such as Harvard.[4] [5]

Enjoy plenty of...

Eat moderately...

Limit or avoid...

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Wholegrain cereals
  • Omega 3 unsaturated fats: flaxseed oil and fish
  • Lean, unprocessed meat
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Low fat yoghurt
  • Saturated fat: Cream, butter, processed meats, sausages, biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, burgers, fried foods, coconut milk, palm oil and potato chips.
  • Sugary drinks
  • Cakes, biscuits
  • Salt

Enjoy a wide variety of foods

  • Fruit: enjoy fruit as your new fast food.
  • Vegetables: pile up your plate with a variety of coloured vegetables and leafy greens.[6] Red, yellow, orange, blue and green fruits and vegetables are packed with useful antioxidants and nutrients.  Aim to eat five servings a day, which amounts to approximately 400g of vegetables, or more.
  • Cereal foods: such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley.  No more white bread!  Select wonderful whole grain breads, pastas and cereals.
  • Omega 3 unsaturated fats[7]: this type of unsaturated fat has an anti inflammatory effect and is considered beneficial for your general health and wellbeing.  Although research is limited, Omega 3s may decrease the severity and duration of multiple sclerosis attacks.  Omega 3s are found in many foods including: wild salmon, sardines, mackerel[8], flaxseed oil, leafy green vegetables and walnuts.

Drink plenty of water

  • Aim for 8 x 250ml glasses a day.
  • If you struggle to drink enough water try these tips: Take your daily oral medications with full glasses of water, keep a water bottle with you when out and about and when at your desk, whenever you pass a drinking fountain take a drink.  If you have bladder issues consult with your GP or continence nurse for suitable strategies to ensure you stay well hydrated.

 Enjoy in moderation

  • Protein: Including lean meat (ideally grass fed as there are more Omega 3 fats in this meat) and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts, seeds and legumes/beans.  Associations have been observed between increased prevalence of multiple sclerosis and diets too high in meat and dairy products,[12] so moderation is key.
  • Low fat dairy products such as natural yoghurt.
  • Milk alternatives such as rice, soy and almond milk.


  • Saturated fat: [13] Saturated fat has been associated with a range of negative health effects including stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease and some forms of cancer.  Some studies have shown a negative effect between multiple sclerosis symptoms and consumption of saturated fat, [14] [15]such as cream, butter, processed meats, sausages, biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, commercial burgers, pizza, fried foods, coconut milk, palm oil and potato chips.
  • Salt: Limit intake of foods and drinks containing added salt[16].  Do not add salt to your food or whilst cooking and read labels to select low sodium options.
  • Sugars: Sugar has a powerful inflammatory effect in the body, provides zero nutrition and uses valuable vitamins and minerals to enable it to be processed by your bodyToo much sugar can also cause diabetes.  It is very easy to consume too much sugar as it is "hidden" in many breakfast cereals and savoury foods.  To reduce your sugar consumption limit your intake of foods and drinks containing added sugars such as cakes, biscuits, ice cream, chocolate, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin waters, energy and sports drinks.  Check out Sydney University's Glycaemic Index web site to help you select foods that will keep your blood sugar at healthy levels -
  • Alcohol: if you choose to drink alcohol, limit your intake.
  • Margarine and lard[17]: instead use butter sparingly or substitute with avocado or a nut spread.

Further information:


[2] Accessed 16.7.15

[3] Accessed 16.7.15

[4] Christopher Cannon, MD, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Anti-Inflammation Diet

[5]  Accessed 16.7.15

[6] Diet nutrition and the prevention of chronic disease. Report of a WHO study group .
Geneva, WHO;1990 (WHO Technical report series No 797)

[7] Lauritzen I, Blondeau N, Heurteaux C, et al. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are potent neuroprotectors. Eur Mol Biol Org J 2000; 19:1784-1793

[8] Janet M. Torpy, MD, Writer; Cassio Lynm, MA, Illustrator; Richard M. Glass, MD, Eating Fish: Health Benefits and Risks. JAMA. 2006;296(15):1926.

[9], accessed 16.7.15

[10] Schreibelt, G., et al., Therapeutic potential and biological role of endogenous antioxidant enzymes in multiple sclerosis pathology, Brain Res. Rev. (2007)

[11] Halvorsen BL, Holte K, Myhrstad MC, Barikmo I, Hvattum E, Remberg SF, Wold AB, Haffner K, Baugerod H, Andersen LF, Moskaug O, Jacobs DR Jr, Blomhoff R. A Systematic Screening of Total Antioxidants in Dietary Plants. Journal of Nutrition 132:461-471, 2002.

[12] K. Lauer, The risk of multiple sclerosis in the USA in relation to sociogeographic features: a factor-analytical study, J. Clin. Epidemiol. 47 (1994) 43–48.

[13] Weinstock-Guttman B, Baier M, Park Y, et al. Low fat dietary intervention with omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in multiple sclerosis patients. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2005

[14] Swank RL. Multiple Sclerosis: fat-oil relationship. Nutrition 1991;7:368-76

[15] Swank RL. Multiple sclerosis: a correlation of its incidence with dietary fat. Am J Med Sci 1950; 220:421-430

[16] Farez MF, Fiol MP, Gaitán MI, Quintana FJ, Correale J. Sodium intake is associated with increased disease activity in multiple sclerosis. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2014 Aug 28. PMID: 25168393

[17]  Accessed 16.7.15


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