Fruits For Epilepsy Patient are rich in water and fiber, and have a low fat content. All of these properties make fruits one of the most nutrient-rich foods in existence. Eating fruits such as Raspberries – Blackberries – Blueberries can be a delicious and healthy way to enjoy the benefits of fruits for epilepsy patient.
4 FOODS THAT CAN CAUSE SEIZURES
If you are an individual struggling with epilepsy, it can be frustrating trying to figure out what triggers a seizure. Some factors, such as stress or dehydration, can trigger a one-time seizure in a person without preexisting epilepsy as well, which occurs when brain cells get “short-circuited” or overloaded.
Are there foods that cause seizures? Some people with epilepsy will avoid certain foods over time if they bear witness to eating specific food items before experiencing a seizure multiple times over. Of course, everyone’s epilepsy is different. There is not ample evidence that any one type of food causes seizures, but being in control of what you eat can certainly help prevent them. Here are some common foods that are potentially risky for those who experience seizures.
Gluten intolerance may seem like a product of our time, but the fact remains that it is very real for some people. The proteins found in several grains have an inflammatory nature that can trigger a seizure. Do a little experiment for a few months by cutting out gluten; if your seizures persist as usual, it’s likely not the culprit.
Found in many baby foods, soy is now commonly known to trigger allergic reactions and seizures in children. It’s a tricky one to avoid, as it sometimes isn’t even labeled. Make yourself aware of which foods commonly contain soy products and consider removing these from your child’s diet.
Processed sugar is a general no-no—no matter what nutritionist you’re speaking with. Many processed foods advertised as “low fat” present themselves as healthy options, when they’re often actually filled with processed sugar that is way worse for you than anything full-fat would be. Glucose is necessary for normal brain function, but excess sugar has often been linked to poor brain activity and triggering seizures. This does not mean cutting back on natural sugars like those found in fresh fruit, but rather those that have been heavily processed.
Another common food allergen, many children have reactions to dairy products that started coming about only in recent decades. Though listed as an integral part of our food pyramid, dairy is frankly not as beneficial to us with modern farming practices than it was a century or two ago. Cutting back on dairy for you or your child may severely decrease the number of seizures you experience. If you’re too attached to dairy to completely cut it out, consider eating goat milk products instead of cow milk—they’re not as high in lactose but can be equally as tasty!
GET IN CONTROL OF YOUR DIET PLAN
The first step towards controlling your seizures is getting in control of what you eat. Though there are no guarantees that there are foods that cause seizures for everyone—again, everyone’s epilepsy is different—eating a balanced diet can put you in control of your health so that other issues that arise are more manageable. Get in touch with us today to start your customized eating plan.
Low-carb, high-fat diets may reduce epilepsy seizures
Approximately 60-65% of patients with epilepsy become seizure free with antiepileptic drug treatment. The remaining 35% are resistant to medications. However, a review of current research published in Neurology presents a promising alternative treatment for epileptic seizure reduction – diets high in fats and low in carbohydrates.
Researchers aimed to review the high-fat, low-carbohydrate ketogenic and modified Atkins diets for the treatment of refractory epilepsy (drug-resistant epilepsy) in adults. Both diets have proved successful in children, yet they are studied in adults insufficiently.
The modified Atkins diet and the ketogenic diet include high-fat foods such as bacon, eggs, mayonnaise, butter, hamburgers and heavy cream, with certain fruits, vegetables, nuts, avocados, cheeses and fish.
The ketogenic diet is restrictive, not very palatable and logistically difficult to execute. The Atkins diet has been modified for use in patients with tough-to-treat epilepsy as an easier-to-execute variety of the ketogenic diet.
The ratios of fat to carbohydrate and protein are as follows:
- Ketogenic diet: 3:1 or 4:1 [fat]:[carbohydrate 1 protein] ratio by weight, with 87-90% of calories derived from fat
- Modified Atkins diet: 0.9:1 [fat]:[carbohydrate 1 protein] weight ratio, with approximately 50% of calories derived from fat.
By contrast, the typical American diet derives about 50% of calories from carbohydrate, 35% from fat and 15% from protein. US governmental guidelines for adults recommend 45-65% calories from carbohydrates, 10-20% from fat and 10-35% from protein.
Study author Pavel Klein, MB BChir, of the Mid-Atlantic Epilepsy and Sleep Center in Bethesda, MD, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, says:
“We need new treatments for the 35% of people with epilepsy whose seizures are not stopped by medications. The ketogenic diet is often used in children, but little research has been done on how effective it is in adults.”
The scientists examined five studies of ketogenic diet treatment in 47 adults and five studies of modified Atkins diet treatment in 85 adults with refractory epilepsy.
Some patients achieved 50% or greater seizure reduction
Across all studies, 32% of ketogenic diet-treated patients and 29% of modified Atkins diet-treated patients achieved 50% or greater seizure reduction. Also, 9% of the ketogenic diet and 5% of the modified Atkins diet-treated patients achieved greater than 90% seizure reduction.
Fast facts on epilepsy
- Epilepsy is a chronic neurological condition characterized by recurrent seizures
- Epilepsy affects about 2.3 million adults and 467,711 children 0-17 years of age in the US
- About 1 in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy at some point in their lives
- About 150,000 new cases of epilepsy will be diagnosed in the US each year.
The positive effect on seizures occurred quickly with both diets, within days to weeks. The results persisted long term, but unlike in children, the effects appear not to last after discontinuation of the diet.
The side effects of both diets were similar and not severe. Hyperlipidemia, the most serious, reversed after treatment discontinuation, and weight loss was the most common side effect.
Klein comments, “Unfortunately, long-term use of these diets is low because they are so limited and complicated. Most people eventually stop the diet because of the culinary and social restrictions.”
“However, these studies show the diets are moderately to very effective as another option for people with epilepsy,” he adds.
In both the ketogenic diet and modified Atkins diet studies, retention was poor with 51% of ketogenic diet-treated and 42% of modified Atkins diet-treated patients ending the diet before study completion. Even those with 75-100% seizure frequency reduction eventually stop the diet due to culinary and social restrictions.
The authors conclude that for treatment of refractory epilepsy, current data do not provide an evidential basis for the ketogenic diet and modified Atkins diet use. Until more data are available, they should only be used as a last resort.
Ketogenic diet and modified Atkins diet treatment show moderate effectiveness, but in some patients, the effect is remarkable.
Medical News Today recently reported omega-3 fish oil could reduce seizure frequency for epilepsy patients. A study claims epilepsy patients could reduce seizure frequency by consuming low doses of omega-3 fish oil every day.
The Best and Worst Foods to Eat When You Have Epilepsy
Though there are no specific foods that help prevent seizures, whole grains and fruits are healthy options for people with and without epilepsy.
Epilepsy is a common disorder that causes seizures. Anticonvulsant medications are typically the first line of defense against the condition. But maintaining a healthy diet can enhance your overall wellness and potentially reduce symptoms, even though there’s no set diet to reduce seizures.
While there are no specific foods to eat or avoid if you have epilepsy, it’s important to support your health while you manage the condition by eating a balanced diet. Research also suggests that the ketogenic diet and modified Atkins diet may help reduce seizures, but don’t try these without the recommendation and supervision of your doctor.
Foods to Eat With Epilepsy
There’s no specific diet to prevent seizures and little evidence to suggest that healthy eating alone can manage epilepsy. Nonetheless, the Epilepsy Society still recommends a balanced diet so your body and brain get the nutrients they need to stay as well as possible.
Here are the best foods to support your health as you manage seizures.
1. Unrefined Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are one of the main macronutrients that make up a balanced diet, according to a July 2021 StatPearls article. They’re a key source of energy for your body, and healthy carbohydrates also supply fiber and a slew of health-promoting vitamins and minerals.
Per StatPearls, good sources of the nutrient include:
- Whole grains like rolled or steel cut oatmeal, brown rice and whole wheat breads
- Legumes like peas, beans and lentils
2. Lean Protein
Protein is another important macronutrient that provides energy and helps your body fight infection, per the National Institute on Aging (NIA). It’s made of amino acids, which are needed to build and repair tissue, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Per the NIA, protein-rich foods include:
- Lean red meat
- Seafood like shrimp, scallops and lobster
- Soy products like tofu or soy milk
- Unsalted nuts and seeds
- Dairy products like milk
If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, eat a variety of plant-based proteins every day to get all the amino acids you need, per the Cleveland Clinic.
3. Healthy Fat
Fat is another crucial macronutrient that gives you energy and helps your body absorb vitamins, per the NIA.
Some healthy sources of fat are:
- Dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cottage cheese
- Nuts and nut butter
- Vegetable oils
Staying well hydrated with water is another important part of a balanced diet, per the Epilepsy Society.
The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends 11.5 cups of fluid from beverages and food per day for people assigned female at birth (AFAB) and 15.5 cups for people assigned male at birth (AMAB). Though these guidelines are from 2004, they’re still widely accepted as a ballpark range for daily hydration.
Another good tip for getting enough fluids is to divide your body weight (in pounds) by two and drink that amount in ounces of water or other hydrating beverages each day.
Ask Your Doctor About Vitamins
Anti-seizure medication increases vitamin D turnover in your body and decreases your absorption of biotin, says Cathy Breedon, PhD, RD, a clinical and metabolic nutrition specialist and registered dietitian at Sanford Medical Center in North Dakota. Additionally, certain anticonvulsants may increase your risk of B vitamin deficiencies, like folate and vitamin B12.
Talk with your doctor or dietitian about whether your treatment may contribute to vitamin deficiency and whether you should make any changes to your diet because of it.
Foods to Limit or Avoid With Epilepsy
Some people report that artificial sweeteners, like those found in candy, can trigger seizures.
Though things like stress or sleep deprivation can trigger seizures for some people, there are no specific trigger foods, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. In fact, eating in general rarely leads to seizures, per a January 2018 review in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment.
That said, there are some things to avoid with epilepsy in order to keep your body healthy, and they’re the same foods to limit or avoid for people without the condition.
1. Saturated and Trans Fats
While healthy fats are a key part of a balanced diet, saturated and trans fats aren’t so good for you. They may increase your cholesterol levels and risk for heart disease, per the Cleveland Clinic.
The NIA thus recommends limiting the following sources of saturated and trans fats in favor of healthier options:
- Beef fat
- Coconut, palm and palm kernel oils
- Processed foods like packaged cakes, cookies or frozen pizza
Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system, according to the Cleveland Clinic. And while more research is needed to better understand the connection between your nervous system, epilepsy and caffeine, there is some evidence to suggest that caffeine may up the odds of having a seizure, according to the Epilepsy Society.
Consider limiting the following caffeinated beverages:
- Energy drinks
3. Food Additives
Some people report that food additives like artificial sweeteners can trigger seizures, according to the Epilepsy Society.
While more studies are needed to determine this relationship, there is some early research to suggest that artificial sweeteners like aspartame may make you more susceptible to seizures, per a May 2016 review in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology.
According the Mayo Clinic, foods that contain artificial sweeteners include:
- Packaged baked goods
- Canned foods
- Jams and jellies
Special Diets for Epilepsy
When the body burns (metabolizes) fat, it creates substances called ketones. The ketogenic diet tries to force the body to use more fat for energy instead of sugar (glucose) by increasing fat and restricting carbohydrates. The ketogenic diet can be used to prevent seizures in an adult or a child who has any type of epilepsy. It is not yet clear how or why the ketogenic diet prevents or reduces seizures.
One version of the ketogenic diet provides 4 grams of fat for every 1 gram of protein and carbohydrate together. People on a ketogenic diet have to eat mostly fatty foods, such as butter, cream, and peanut butter. Foods such as bread, pasta, fruits, and vegetables have to be severely limited. And the person’s total calories are also restricted. At every meal, the food has to be measured carefully so that the right amounts of each food are given. Even a slight departure from the diet can cancel its effect.
If you are thinking about the ketogenic diet, keep in mind:
- For the diet to prevent seizures, your child has to follow it exactly. The amounts and types of foods eaten have to be measured precisely. And preparing meals can take a lot of time.
- The diet does not work for some children, no matter how closely they follow it.
The ketogenic diet is very strict and can be hard for some people and families to follow. Other special diets for epilepsy that are less strict may also be tried.The medium chain triglyceride (MCT) diet.
People on this diet take an oil supplement instead of relying on food for the fat in the diet. This can make the diet easier, because less total fat is needed from food and the person can eat more protein and carbohydrates.The modified Atkins diet.
The Atkins diet is known as a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. The modified Atkins diet for people with epilepsy is similar to the ketogenic diet but allows for a little more flexibility in protein, fluid, and calorie amounts.The low glycemic index diet.
This is the least restrictive special diet for epilepsy. It does not restrict fluids or protein and people do not need to be so strict about calories or the amount of fat they eat. People on this diet still eat much more fat than in a typical diet, but carbohydrates are not as limited.