Narcolepsy and Your Diet

11 months ago 22

Eating well is a good choice for everyone, but it may be especially important for people with narcolepsy.

If you have narcolepsy, you have a higher risk of obesity. People with narcolepsy “have a tendency to put on weight because of the pathophysiological changes in narcolepsy,” says Michael Thorpy, MD, director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. “Therefore, you should try to keep an ideal body weight.”

Eating well helps you manage your weight. It may also ease your symptoms.

“Diet is one of a number of factors, including exercise, naps, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and sleep schedule, that can affect narcolepsy symptoms,” says William Li, MD, medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation in Cambridge, MA.

Try these tips to stay at a healthy weight and help with narcolepsy symptoms.

What to Eat

Follow a heart-healthy diet. Narcolepsy increases your risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart failure. A heart-healthy diet may lower your risk of heart problems and help you control your weight.

Try eating foods from every food group. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables in a rainbow of colors. Choose low-fat dairy products and fiber-rich whole grains. Cut back on saturated fats, trans fats, red meat, sodium, and sweets.

Try a low-carb diet. When you eat a big, high-carb meal, your body makes less of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates wakefulness. “A meal that’s high in carbs can cause you to be sleepy,” Li says.

Try to eat meals that are ...

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