I have just become a grandmother and with that I hold in my heart all the best wishes that my new granddaughter have a long, happy and healthy life. But, with 8 out of the 16 direct descendants of my Swedish immigrant grandparents having either autoimmune or neurological diseases, the question becomes what can we do to proect our next generation? This is especially relevant in the face of the rising rates of these diseases which are appearing at earlier ages. Even in my own family, the diseases are manifesting at a much earlier age than in my own generation.
A careful diet alone will not suffice, as food is not exactly a cause of MS, rather once it manifests, food fuels symptoms. But. certainly a healthy diet, low in saturated fats, sugars and high in vegetables, lean protein, and essential oils is important. What do we know of the causes? Environmental factors seem to be on the rise, as evidenced by the increasing incidence at earlier ages, but we don't know much about them or do we always have much control. Genetics plays a part, but we have no control there.
Stress and coping mechanisms for stress are one way we can intervene, not just as a prevention of MS, but for all diseases. Stress kills. Given our modern society, eliminating stress is not realistic, but teaching good coping skills and an approach and attitude that prevents internalizing all the visissitudes of life can prove protective. An adequate intake of vitamin D--good old sunlight has also been proven to be protective. Again, this recommendation extends to many diseases. Twenty minutes a day is the best, supplements of vitamin D --fish oil--also serve as preventative.
Ultimately, it would seem that following the advice of our grandparents is best, "eat well, a variety and not too much, include your vegetables, get adequate rest, be relaxed and not stressed, wash your hands, go outside and play...." Good health and good health habits are our best protection, not just from MS, but from all disease. In a family where there is MS, like mine, be watchful of any early signs. If caught early, MS will have not real impact on our loved ones lives--other than they will be very healthy.