What foods can cause restless leg syndrome?

Diet and RLS

In particular, vitamins and minerals, trace elements, amino acids and essential fatty acids play an outstanding role. A deficiency in iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid can lead to RLS or have an unfavorable effect on the RLS symptoms.

Often people ask about a nutrition plan for people with RLS. Unfortunately, this does not exist. Nevertheless, RLS sufferers can do something for their health by following a healthy diet and individually determining which foods and drinks can worsen or improve the symptoms.

Since iron deficiency plays a crucial role in the development of RLS, attention should be paid to a diet rich in iron.

Extra iron: it's in there!

Iron is the most common trace element in the body. It is needed for the transport of oxygen and for its storage. It is important to know that, unlike vitamins, trace elements such as iron are not destroyed when heated.

The iron from animal foods, so-called heme iron, can be absorbed about 2 to 3 times better in our intestines and is therefore used more effectively in the body than the iron from plant foods. Offal such as liver are particularly rich in iron.

But some plant sources can also contain a lot of iron. The iron in plant foods is what is known as non-heme iron. This form of iron must first be converted in the body. The best sources of iron among plants are spinach, Jerusalem artichoke, carrots and Swiss chard. But mushrooms, legumes and certain grains such as amaranth or quinoa are also very rich in iron. To compensate for the poor bioavailability of cereals, they can be combined well with acidic things such as fruit. This works well if you prepare a breakfast of millet or oatmeal with fresh fruit, or if you choose wild rice or green spelled as a side dish instead of white rice and noodles. Nuts are very suitable as an iron-containing snack.

Avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco

RLS sufferers often report a worsening of symptoms when they drink alcohol, coffee, tea or nicotine. Chocolate, carbonated beverages, refined sugar, and sugar substitutes can also make the symptoms worse. Important! With RLS no coffee should be consumed after 3 p.m. and no alcohol should be consumed from four hours before bedtime.

What must be considered when taking L-Dopa?

When consuming protein-rich foods, patients who take L-Dopa should note that protein can interfere with the absorption of L-Dopa into the body and reduce the effectiveness of the drug. To prevent this from happening, it is recommended to take L-Dopa about half an hour before or an hour after eating. Under no circumstances should RLS sufferers who take L-Dopa completely avoid protein-containing food. As a rule, it is sufficient to consume the daily amount of dietary protein spread over the day.

What must be considered when taking concomitant medication?

Since some RLS patients take concomitant medication that has been proven to lead to a deficiency in certain micronutrients (e.g. heartburn remedies lead to a deficiency of B12 and magnesium, statins to a deficiency of Q10), which in turn can exacerbate the RLS symptoms, it belongs in the case of a holistic therapeutic approach, the patient also has to discuss the treatment plan with the attending physician.

Dietary fiber for opioid-induced constipation

In the case of opioid-induced constipation (constipation), care should be taken to ensure adequate exercise and an adequate intake of fluids and fiber (psyllium, wheat bran). If these measures are not sufficient, you should discuss further options with your treating doctor.

Make sure you drink enough fluids

Drinking enough during the day is just as important for your health as eating right. About two thirds of the human body is made up of water. Water regulates body temperature, serves as a means of transport for blood, urine and sweat, for example, and as a solvent for almost all substances in the cell. Our bodies excrete large amounts of fluids every day. In order to maintain an optimal fluid level, these losses have to be compensated again and again. Part of the fluid requirement is covered by food. In addition, you should drink about two liters of water a day.

Tablets and capsules should always be taken with a little liquid - this makes the swallowing process easier and the active ingredient is released more quickly in the stomach. Instead of fruit juices or hot drinks, you should choose non-carbonated or still water. This not only prevents unpleasant "belching", but also prevents an interaction between the juice and the medication.