What can and cannot be eaten with epilepsy?
Eco-friendly products are rare. Store shelves are full of a variety of products, but it is very difficult to choose natural products that do not contain food additives. There are foods that have a positive effect on the human condition, and some of them provoke various diseases.
It’s no secret that there is food that kills. But the topic should be considered much deeper, since the food that kills the average person will save people with epilepsy. And this is a very unusual way of looking at the problem.
So, today we will talk about food that can cause an epileptic seizure and food that should be switched to people with epilepsy, with convulsive syndrome so that they do not have these seizures. Protecting the brain, talking about food that kills and saves.
The brain is a symbol of the difference between man and all representatives of the animal world. Medicine goes forward and reaches such heights that we begin to carefully and in detail study our food, which over the past 50 years has become so diverse, so high in calories and saturated with fats that medical science has begun to study its effect on specific diseases or on a specific human condition more deeply. … But at the same time, this variety gives us the opportunity for a huge choice and sometimes it is very difficult to resist and not buy what we like and want to try.
Why do seizures occur?
Epilepsy is a disease known to mankind from the very beginning of its existence and manifested by episodes of seizures. For some reason, there is a focus or several foci of pathological excitation in the human brain, and they arise where he or they should not be. And at some point, this pathological excitement covers the entire cerebral cortex, all hemispheres, including the motor zones responsible for our behavior. And we see these seizures in varying degrees: big seizures and small seizures.
Convulsions are an uncontrolled spread of excitement in the motor parts of the cerebral cortex from the originally existing abnormal pathological focus of excitation, which a person always has. And at some point, the brain spreads all this excitement through the cerebral cortex, and then it passes. The duration of seizures is different for each person.
The only way to help the patient is to try not to let the person get hurt, since he cannot control himself. If you see that a person is falling, then you can support him so that he does not hit his head, does not bump into or injure himself on a sharp object, does not fall on the roadway and that’s it, nothing else needs to be done. After a while, the seizure goes away on its own, then the person can be transferred to the hands of a doctor.
What foods can trigger epileptic seizures?
I would like to remind you that the brain eats only glucose, it does not eat anything else. Remember this detail, because the whole nutritional system of epilepsy patients is based on it, which many of them do not know about.
So what food groups can trigger epi seizures?
As noted by Professor Malysheva, our brain feeds only on glucose. Indeed, brain cells use glucose as an energy source for their vital functions. Consider a common food such as sugar.
If we give sugar to the brain, then the brain is activated and feels normal. In patients with epilepsy, all foods containing sugar or carbohydrates are converted into glucose in any case. If you eat rice, it turns into glucose, bread also turns into glucose, fruits and everything sweet in the final turn into glucose. The main thing is the nutrition of the brain. To develop activity, he needs food. Therefore, if we gave sugar to the brain, the focus, which was selectively inactive, begins to produce. In this situation, glucose — any carbohydrate — is a trigger or provocateur — the trigger that fires the shot. And a diet rich in carbohydrates can cause frequent epileptic seizures.
Sugar, honey, rice and other cereals, bananas and other fruits, all flour and sweet, potatoes, as a source of starch, are also carbohydrates. All carbohydrates should be removed from the diet.
Remember one thing, since sugar, glucose is the main food of the brain and practically the only one, then all this will provoke epileptic seizures. The brain receives this food and spreads the gyneralized activity into the motor cortex, leading to severe seizures.
What foods can you eat for epilepsy?
It’s time to address the main issue. All foods that need to be excluded from the diet of a healthy person become the basis of nutrition for patients with epilepsy. The diet for epilepsy is called ketogenic or protein- fat.
The ketogenic diet is a specially designed program to help control seizures in people with epilepsy. The basis of the diet is made up of foods rich in fats and proteins. The diet does not prohibit the intake of carbohydrates, but there should be a minimum amount of them. To prescribe a diet, you need to consult your doctor. Depending on the severity of the disease, the doctor will prescribe a ketogenic diet, and a nutritionist will control its process.
What is the essence of a protein- fat or ketogenic diet? The word “ketogenic” comes from the word ketone. Ketone bodies are breakdown products that are formed in the body when excess fat or protein is present. They are completely harmless to the body. Therefore, in this situation, science suggests that patients with epilepsy eat more foods containing fat or protein. Ketones can be found in human blood, breast milk, and urine. The higher the ketone level, the better the protection against seizures. Carbohydrate nutrition should be minimized or eliminated.
During the diet, it is necessary to take medications prescribed by the doctor, undergo physical procedures . The diet, especially for children, is prescribed only by a doctor. Often, treatment takes place in a hospital under the supervision of a doctor. A strict diet leads to a reduction in epileptic seizures or to their disappearance. Small children under 1 year old are not prescribed a ketogenic diet.
Who is it suitable for?
The diet is more often prescribed for children. If seizures cannot be controlled with AEDs ( antiepileptic drugs), doctors advise changing the diet.
Less commonly, the diet is prescribed for adults. In the course of a few studies, it has been found that the ketogenic diet also works for adult patients. The appointment is carried out only after the examinations carried out. The patient should not have contraindications: there are no metabolic or mitochondrial system disturbances .
Ketogenic diet menu
It is allowed to eat fatty meat: pork, lamb, as well as butter, cheese, cream 10%, eggs are obligatory. You can only eat avocados from vegetables, as they contain the same amount of fat as seeds. Nuts are a protein and fat product.
The diet of one day of a person with epilepsy should consist of:
- Breakfast – scrambled eggs from yolks with a glass of cream.
- Lunch – fatty meat: pork or lamb with avocado, meat baked in cheese – a super – fat product.
You can diversify the menu in this way. On the second day, it is allowed:
- Breakfast – scrambled eggs and bacon.
- Lunch – pork ribs fried in oil.
- Dinner – stewed squid in cream
You can use nuts as a dessert.
This is the kind of super-fat food that doctors do not recommend to anyone, but recommend to people with epilepsy. This diet saves you from seizures.
Contraindications to the ketogenic diet and side effects
Like any diet, ketogenic also has a number of contraindications and is accompanied by unwanted side effects.
At the very beginning of the diet, a person becomes weak, lethargic. These signs can be exacerbated if there are other chronic diseases. If during the diet, the child becomes ill, for example, respiratory diseases, doctors recommend drinking more fluids, but the liquid should not contain carbohydrates.
- stones in the kidneys;
- dehydration of the body;
- the level of cholesterol in the blood increases ;
- frequent constipation;
- fragile bones;
- weight loss or poor gain.
The diet is not considered balanced and does not contain enough vitamins and minerals that a person needs. In this case, the nutritionist advises to additionally take a vitamin complex containing vitamin D, calcium, folic acid and iron.
Specific anticonvulsants are not prohibited during diet. You can take ” Tolpamax “, ” Zonegran “, ” Depakot “. Anticonvulsants do not promote kidney stones or acidosis, so don’t worry.
- liver and kidney disease;
- cardiac changes.
A super-fat diet is not prescribed if a person takes Topiramate in combination with Volproat . But doctors consider epilepsy to be a more serious disease than problems with the kidneys or liver, therefore, in special cases, it is prescribed to the patient.
What is the result and when is it achieved?
Studies have shown that a ketogenic diet can help reduce seizure rates. In more than half of the studied children, the manifestation of seizures decreased by 50%, and in 15% complete remission occurred.
During the diet, you can not stop taking medications, only on the advice of a doctor, their dose or amount can be reduced. The neurologist, depending on the condition of the child, conducts an examination and prescribes a course of treatment.
The diet must be followed unquestioningly. Prescribed products cannot be substituted with their counterparts. In this case, the effectiveness of the diet will be zero.
It is especially difficult to adhere to a diet in a family where the rest of its members are allowed to eat normally.
A ketogenic diet under the supervision of a physician
The patient needs to visit the doctor every month and donate blood and urine for analysis. According to the changes in the body, the dietitian can change the diet.
Can you give up the diet?
You can stop the diet if no seizures have been observed for 2 years. Cancellation of the diet occurs gradually and is often accompanied by a worsening of the condition, attacks may become more frequent or resume. The diet does not lead to complete elimination of seizures, it only reduces their frequency of manifestation, therefore, after refusing the diet, it is required to take medications.
Our brain works as planned . If you exclude glucose, the body will receive foods that are high in fat and protein. The biochemistry of the body is designed in such a way that these products break down in a completely different way. And one breakdown product is ketone bodies. They suppress the pathological activity of the brain. This is a difficult diet for the body, but for those people whose epilepsy is difficult to control with drugs, such a diet is just a salvation and helps to avoid frequent seizures. The ketogenic diet is called a super fat but life-saving diet .