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World Epilepsy Day: Can A Good Diet Help Those Who Have Epilepsy?

By Shubham Ghosh

Epilepsy is a serious neurological condition, which sees a tendency of having seizures in the brain. It is usually diagnosed after a person has had more than one seizure.

Can food help in dealing with epileptic seizures?

A proper diet including various foods can help boost the body and brain to function; and in the process, reduce the risk of seizures for people with epilepsy.

There is no particular food which triggers epilepsy, since the ailment varies from an individual to individual. But, preservatives and artificial sweeteners are generally advised to be avoided.

How a diet can help those suffering from epilepsy?

Although there is little evidence that a balanced diet affects the epileptic condition directly, but it certainly provides the essential nutrients and keeps our energy level steady. A balanced diet helps you to maintain a regular sleeping pattern and live an active life - something which is very essential for a good overall health.

A proper diet can help people with poorly controlled seizures by using particular levels of fat, carbohydrate and protein to affect the brain's functioning.

What is an ideal balanced diet?

A balanced diet is made up of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vegetables and fruits and drinking plenty of water. Dietary habits are determined by where we live and our lifestyle.

In a balanced diet, carbohydrates provide us positive energy and can be found in foods like rice, potatoes, bread, etc. Whole grain forms of these foods give vitamins, minerals and fibres.

Proteins build and support the 'pillars' of our body like muscles, hormones, enzymes, etc. They are found in dairy foods and items like fish, beans, lentils, eggs, etc.

Fats help in absorbing the nutrients like important vitamins and they help our body to remain warm. They keep our cells healthy and give us energy.

Vegetables and fruits supply vitamins and minerals and protect us from infection and diseases. But one should be careful about taking vitamin supplements by oneself. Consulting a doctor is important in this regard.

Consuming enough water keeps our body hydrated and reduces the risk of seizures.

High Energy Level Required For Epileptic Patients:

Eating foods that release energy levels slowly helps you feel fuller and provides more fibre than those which give an instant energy. Such food items include whole grain breads, brown rice, pasta, oats and oat-based cereals, beans and pulses, yogurt, sweet potatoes, non-starchy vegetables, etc.

On the other hand, white bread and flour, non-whole grain cereals, cakes, sugary food and drinks, fruit juices, chips, etc., give an instant energy followed by a slump.

Among fats, omega-3 varieties are good for our heart and skin, and boost the energy levels. Fish, flax seeds, hemp seeds and walnuts are healthy.

On the other hand, trans fats or hydrogenated fats in processed items and deeply fried foods should be avoided. These fats are difficult for our body to break down and lead to the rise in bad cholesterol levels and eventually to heart diseases.

Preparing Your Own Food:

Epileptic people can prepare their own food, so that they can have a control on what they eat. But it is always important to remember that you may have a seizure during cooking.

You can use wire baskets inside saucepans, so that danger can be avoided in case you have a seizure. You can also use a microwave instead of an oven for cooking.

Read more about: epilepsy food diet
Story first published: Thursday, November 17, 2016, 6:30 [IST]