A diet for Muscular Dystrophy patients?

September 17, 2011

September 17th has been declared by a group of sensitive people as the Muscular Dystrophy Day on the Internet.

Mediterraneandietforall.com will contribute to this noble cause by showing how the Mediterranean diet followed for centuries by the Mediterranean people can help the Muscular Dystrophy patients.

First we have to understand what Muscular Dystrophy, MD, is.  Muscular Dystrophy is a genetic disease, meaning that it is a disease that you carry from birth inherited from the genes of the parents. It is a disease that slowly -slowly leads to the weakness and at the end, degeneration of the muscles. There are many forms of MD with the most common being the Duchenne, named after the scientist, Dr Guillaume Duchenne,  who worked in this field during the 19th century. It was identified that the Duchenne type of dystrophy affects the gene that produces protein called dystrophin. Dystrophin is the longest known gene in the DNA and is part of the protein complex.

There is no cure for Muscular Dystrophy but with the right diet that includes proper food, herbs and in some case supplements, one can inject the body with protein and may help to improve the muscle strength. In a Muscular Dystrophy Diet, MDD, there are foods to be avoided, excluded from the diet, and foods to be taken regularly and daily.

Exclusions form the MDD: Foods that should be avoided are coffee, alcohol, sugars, bread and pasta.  Coffee and alcohol as well as sugar are not part of the Mediterranean diet. However pasta and bread are part of the Med diet. So MDD can be a subset of the Mediterranean diet.

‘’Must takes’’ of the MDD: A ‘’must’’ of the MDD is the intake of Proteins. Proteins are responsible for the repair, regeneration and growth of the muscles. It is therefore essential to take foods that are rich in proteins. Such foods are fish, beans and lean white meats. Beans and fish are essential components of the Med diet and should be consumed regularly. Beans are in the daily list and fish in the weekly list. In order to support the skeleton, bones, and give strength to the muscles MDD should include Vitamin D and calcium. Vitamin D and calcium should be taken from foods and where needed from supplements.  We take Vitamin D from sunlight but also from some foods like eggs and oily fish like salmon.

Calcium can be taken from certain vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and okra. Red kidney beans contain calcium as well and all of these are part of the Mediterranean diet.

Muscular Dystrophy patients2

Muscular Dystrophy patients

Fresh fruits and vegetables should be part of the MDD as these foods rich in antioxidants, such as vitamins C. Antioxidants make MD more manageable as they in the healing of woods and fight infections. MDD should also consist of foods that contain fibers as recommended by the Muscular Dystrophy Association, MDA. Fruits and vegetables are basic components of the Mediterranean diet that can be consumed daily.

Healthy fats are also needed in order to pump the muscles with energy. The sources for these healthy fats are vegetable and fish oils. Salmon is a good source of healthy fat oil.  Also nuts are another source. All these are components of the Mediterranean diet.

Whole grains, which are again a basic component of Med diet, are required by MD patients since they are a source of their energy.

As one can conclude Mediterranean diet is the ideal diet for a Muscular Dystrophy patient and it contains all the right foods, with a minor exception, at the right portions to enable a MD patient to live an as healthy life as possible.

Andrea Aurelio
About the author

Andrea Aurelio adopted the Mediterranean diet and the Mediterranean way of living after evaluating a series of diets and realizing that the Mediterranean diet is a proven diet and the best way to adopt a healthy lifestyle. You can connect with him on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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