Expert advice: Managing epilepsy through diet

Expert advice: Managing epilepsy through diet

Dietitian Sylven Masoga gives advice on how you can use food to control seizures in people who suffer from epilepsy.

Keto diet
Keto diet / iStock

Epilepsy is defined as a neurological condition characterised by unusual electrical activity in the brain causing unprovoked seizures. 

It affects approximately 50-million people worldwide. In South Africa, it affects one in every 100 people. 

In approximately 66% of people suffering from epilepsy, the cause is unknown. 

But in other cases, epilepsy can be caused by head injury, birth injury, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, ageing, metabolic or biochemical disturbances or imbalance, strokes, blood vessel malformations, and tumours. 

READ: Epilepsy Awareness Month: Symptoms and treatment of epilepsy

Dietitian Sylven Masoga says diet is one of the ways that epilepsy can be managed. 

The ketogenic diet is one of the approved ways to treat or control epilepsy. 

It is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. 

"Epilepsy can be managed through eating foods that are high in good fat. The brains of people who suffer from epilepsy needs energy that comes from fat," says Masoga. 

He says some of the food that people who suffer from epilepsy can eat to try and control seizures include mass milk, fried eggs, cream, and margarine. 

However, although the keto diet consists mainly of fatty foods, Masoga warns that eating too much fat can cause other health conditions such as heart attack. 

"To know the right amount of fat your body needs, you need to speak to a professional who can give you a guide," says Masoga. 

He adds that "eating the wrong foods can worsen the condition" and this is why it is important to consult a health practitioner before embarking on the diet. 

READ: Doctor's advice on how to deal with epilepsy

Disclaimer: Health-related information provided in this article is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat health problems. It is always advisable to consult with your doctor on any health-related issues.

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