Tamra Prado RN, was the guest speaker at the MS/Cancer Self-Help Support Group. The MS Society is sponsoring the group in collaboration with the Houston Metro Market of the American Cancer Society. She answered questions about nutrition posed by members of the group.
Prado received her nursing degree from Baptist Memorial Hospital School of Nursing and her B.S. in nutrition from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. She completed her dietetic internship at Incarnate Word University in San Antonio.
Prado works as a nurse at New Braunfels Kidney Disease Clinic and as a registered dietician at Southwest General Hospital in San Antonio. She was diagnosed with MS in 1998.
Q: What studies have been done regarding foods for people with MS or cancer?
A: My research shows that no diet is specific to people with MS or cancer. I recommend that people follow the dietary guidelines of the United States Department of Agriculture(www.cnpp.usda.gov/DietaryGuidelines). It shows what is a healthy diet and what we should be eating.
I learned when I was studying to be a dietician to be careful where you get your information because so much of it is backed by industry. Prevention (www.prevention.com) and other magazines get a lot of their money from advertisers.
I read the Nutrition Action Healthletter, by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The Web site is http://cspinet.org/nah/index.htm. It does not have advertising and does have a section that includes nonbiased reviews on medical studies including ones on nutrition.
Q: Are there any foods to be avoided?
A: No. However, our food and diet includes a lot of processed and fried foods. Our ancestors were healthier than we are. One reason is they ate more fresh foods; our diets contain process foods. Also, our ancestors ate beef from cows that were fed on grass, not corn, which doesn't contain Omega 3s.
We should follow a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fish and olive oil. I recommend reading Dr. Andrew Weil. (www.drweil.com). His writings influenced me to become a dietician. His Web site offers free advice on topics such as vitamins, healthy aging and a wellness guide.
Q: Have you found have you found anything to add or delete to your diet that you think has made a difference in your MS?
A: I believe that Omegas 3s help with my pain, but check with your doctor. I make sure I have a lot of Omega 3s in my diet including fish. I also supplement with fish oil and flax seed. What is the best and worst way to prepare food?
Bake, roast or grill meat instead of frying. Also eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. When cooking vegetables, steam them to help retain the vitamins.
Q: Preparing food correctly can make or break its nutritional value but where does one find this information?
A: I recommend the United States Department of Agriculture (www.cnpp.usda.gov/DietaryGuidelines).
Q: Does Prevention magazine contain the truth about foods and nutritional value?
A: Again, I would rely on more than just one source for information.
Q: If foods and their preparation are important, where can we get the best information?
A: Doctors don't even agree on what is appropriate to eat.
Q: Should the body be more acidic or alkaline to prevent disease?
A: I recommend that you concentrate on eating healthy foods.
Q: Vitamin D requirements are changing but what is the new guideline?
A: You need to check with your doctor as to if you need to add Vitamin D to your diet. If you get plenty of sunlight and consume dairy products, you probably don't need it additional vitamin D.
Q: Is it true that drinking tea English style (with milk) renders the tea not any more effective than drinking hot water?
by Carol Smith
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