By Dietitian Sheela Seharawat,
Founder Diet Clinic Health Care Pvt Ltd
Amongst the number of diseases that has affected the normal life of many a people around the world, epilepsy is one. Epilepsy, which is a form of seizure is an extreme debilitating condition which can really destroy the quality of one’s life, as though it seems that a person with epilepsy is leading a normal life, it could be fatal because of its sudden seizures.
The Purple Day
According to the statistics of WHO (World Health Organization), it is estimated that more than 50 million people around the globe live with conditions of epilepsy. While it is not contagious in nature, many a times, its causes cannot be known. Injuries or diseases like stroke or some serious infections are also the possible reasons of epileptic seizures.
Every year of the 26th of March Epilepsy Awareness Day, also known as the “Purple Day” (as people are encourages to wear purple) is observed worldwide to show concern and raise awareness of Epilepsy. The conditions of epilepsy can be briefly described as disorder of the nervous system that causes a sudden unconsciousness, often with violent movements.
Diet and its positive effects on epilepsy
While medications and other therapies have always been used as the first line of defence against epileptic attacks, it is believed that diet and nutrition plays a pivotal role in the treatment and cure of the disease.
How it helps:
- A balanced and a nutritious diet helps keeping the energy levels steady.
- It helps in keeping good and regular sleep, thereby keeping active. It has been seen that getting good sleep helps against epilepsy.
- With balanced diet you feel more positive and have better focus on life to take controlled decisions and managing epilepsy.
Some foods that helps during epilepsy
Epilepsy as discussed earlier is a nervous disorder, a condition where the electrical signals of the brain triggers seizures. The nature of these seizures varies in person to person from total blankness for a few seconds to full convulsions. Here are certain food groups that have proven to be a great support in improving the conditions of epilepsy:
- Fruits and vegetables: they provide the body with rich quantities of nutrients and antioxidants, thereby, supporting its immunity. Studies have shown that there is a direct connect between deficiencies of antioxidants and epileptic seizures. Variety of colourful vegetables and fruits like spinach, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, brussel sprouts, cherries, berries and citrus fruits should be included in the diet of a regular basis. In case you are on Ketogenic Diet (recommended for epileptic peoples), than go for non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, beans, broccoli and bell peppers as these are also low in carbohydrate contents.
- Meats and seafoods: are rich sources of proteins and minerals that highly supports our immunity like zinc, and naturally has no carb. One of the most commonly used dietary treatment recommended against epilepsy is the ketogenic diet, which is high in protein, fats and limited amounts of carbohydrates. Without ample glucose which the body derives from carbs, it relies on the stored body fat for its energy requirements. High sources of proteins includes lean meats, poultry, seafood and fish.
- Oil and butter: are fat, that helps absorb fat-soluble nutrients that aids brain functioning. A modified ketogenic diet that recommends fats as its vital component. This diet also encourages fluid intake unlike normal keto diet that significantly helps in improving epileptic symptoms. Butter and sources of plant-based oils are olive and canola oil, which promotes cardiovascular health are highly encouraged.
A summary of dietary advantages in epilepsy over medication:
- It has proven to be more effective than medications.
- Compliances with diets have been more than in cases of medicines.
- On discontinuation of specific diet shows that the benefits still prevail.
- It is safer to discontinue a diet and relatively easier than medication.
No one can promise 100% assurance or cure and prevention with diet against epilepsy, but for sure there is a promise of a great hope for patients with epilepsy and its conditions with good, proper and nutritious foods.