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International Epilepsy Day: Nutrition Tips For People Living With Epilepsy

Every year, the second Monday in February is observed as International Epilepsy Day to promote awareness of epilepsy in more than 130 countries. The Day is a joint initiative by the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) and the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE).

Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder that can affect people of all age groups. The condition is characterised by unpredictable seizures. Many people with epilepsy experience more than one type of seizure which have symptoms like temporary confusion, loss of consciousness and staring.

It is important for people with epilepsy to follow a nutritious, well-balanced diet. Following a healthy lifestyle is necessary to keep your seizures under control and improve physical and mental well-being. By eating healthy, it doesn't mean that you have to be on a particular diet, it means consuming certain foods that will help improve seizure control.

Here, we will tell you how to improve your dietary habits with the help of these nutrition tips.


1. Eliminate simple carbohydrates

Eliminate foods that contain a lot of sugar which is found in simple carbohydrate foods. Simple carbohydrates tend to have a high glycemic index, which when consumed gets absorbed by the body very quickly. Simple carbs include table sugar, candies, sugary drinks, syrups and baked goods. Try to eliminate these foods from your diet.


2. Eat wholesome foods

A person with epilepsy should eat a diet consisting of whole, natural foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These foods are minimally processed and packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that will improve your physical and mental well-being.


3. Consume healthy fats

Healthy fats found in oily fishes, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds are considered good for people with epilepsy because fats help to absorb important nutrients that aid in the proper functioning of the cells.


4. Drink plenty of water

People with epilepsy should drink plenty of water because drinking water helps you to concentrate better and helps in better functioning of the body's cells. This lowers the risk of seizures caused by dehydration.


5. Eat protein -rich foods

Including protein-rich foods into your diet will help build and support muscles, red blood cells, hormones and immune system. Protein can be found in foods like meat, fish, eggs, lentils, milk and cheese.


6. Eat energy-boosting foods

Most people with epilepsy will feel extremely tired or exhausted due to disrupted sleep because of seizures. So, consume foods that increase your energy levels such as brown rice, oats, peas, beans, nuts, yogurt, apples, pears, berries and broccoli.


7. Enjoy cooked food

People with epilepsy are recommended to eat cooked food which is much healthier than fried food. You can steam, bake, grill, boil or poach your food.


8. Eat vitamin D-rich foods

Vitamin D aids the body in absorbing calcium and helps in building strong bones. Some anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) can lower bone density and make your bones weak. To help prevent this, eat foods rich in vitamin D such as eggs, fish and dairy products.


9. Know what foods you eat

Research what foods are good and bad for you. Check the food label to see if they are high in calories, fats, salt and sugar. Choose foods which have fewer calories and sugar as they are much healthier. This will help you make clear food choices.

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