Epilepsy is a neurological disorder where the brain cells produce abnormal electrical signals, leading to recurrent seizures. Seizures are the outbursts of sudden electrical discharge characterized by a change in awareness, physical sensations and uncontrollable muscle movements. It is a chronic disease that can affect individuals of any age or gender. An adequate diet chart for epilepsy can be very helpful for the condition. Medical professionals have identified two seizure groups that classify epilepsies according to the types of seizures they cause. They are:

  • Partial Seizures: It is a seizure that affects only one side of the brain, causing repeated muscle twitching, eye blinking, changes in taste or smell, and a feeling of a tingling sensation all around the body.
  • Generalized Seizures: They affect both sides of the brain, resulting in an abrupt loss of muscle control and a brief loss of consciousness. Since it may result in generalized body stiffness and loss of awareness, this kind of seizure is more dangerous.

Symptoms:

  • Loss of Awareness for a short while.
  • Uncontrolled muscle jerking or twitching 
  • Temporary Confusion
  • Problem talking 
  • Anxiety or fear
  • Fast Breathing

 Causes:

  • Head Injuries 
  • Brain Infections like meningitis 
  • Immune Disorders
  • Genetics etc.

Treatment of Epilepsy:

Since epilepsy is a chronic disease, the treatment goal is to minimize the intensity and frequency of recurrent seizures. Some of the treatment processes are as below:

  1. Antiseizure Medications are usually recommended to control episodes of seizures. However, it should only be taken on the advice of a healthcare professional.
  2. Diet plays a crucial role. The two most crucial diet therapies recommended for epilepsy patients are the ketogenic and Atkins diets. The medications are ineffective sometimes, especially for children and those with underlying diseases. For such patients, an epilepsy diet works wonders in preventing episodes of seizures.
  3. Surgery tends to be the last option to control epilepsy when all other options fail to deliver effective results. It may include the removal of the tissues that are generating abnormal signals or connecting the nerve bundles responsible for linking the brain cells.

Ketogenic Diet for Epilepsy;

A ketogenic diet consists of high fat and low carbs. It is the most prescribed diet for epilepsy. The diet aims to produce ketones in the body. In such a diet plan, fat instead of carbohydrates serve as the primary fuel for the body.

MOA: When you are on a ketogenic diet for seizures, your blood sugar levels will be stabilized. Consequently, you will experience less hunger and therefore

consume less food. This unique quality of the keto diet makes it different from all other diets. In addition, you eventually become a fat burner while following a ketogenic diet because your body uses fat as fuel instead of glucose. The primary benefit of a ketogenic diet is that there is no need to track calories. A metabolic state brought on by the complete absence of carbohydrates in the diet is known as ketosis. Remember, ketosis is not triggered by the presence of “keto foods” or fats in your diet. Here we have mentioned a four-step guide that will help kickstart your journey of the ketogenic diet for epilepsy.

As per studies, the ketogenic diet for epilepsy helps reduce episodes of seizures so that a person can lead a healthy lifestyle. A sample ketogenic diet for epilepsy is as below:

  1. Early Morning: Black Tea with Biscuits, Or 5-6 overnight soaked almonds
  2. Breakfast: Cheese Omelette with two eggs + ½ of pineapple or 1 cup of mushroom salad + ½ cup of baked beans 
  3. Mid-Morning Snack: 1 cup Greek yogurt or 1 cup vegetable poha
  4. Lunch: 1 cup grilled fish + ½ boiled veggies with butter or 1 cup paneer salad with chapati made with almond flour
  5. Evening :1 cup roasted makhana with ghee Or Herbal tea with roasted chana
  6. Dinner: Soya Roll made with almond flour or one bowl of brown rice + ½ cup chicken curry
  7. Post Dinner: 1 glass of Protein Shake.
Ketogenic Diet For Seizures:

Different clinical studies have been carried out to understand the effect of a ketogenic diet for seizures. As a result, it has been proved and the registered dieticians and nutritionists all over the world have also accepted that ketogenic diet have been used medically for a very long to lower the frequency of seizures in such patients, by the following mechanism of action:

  • The ketone diet has shown promising results in calming the brain by boosting the brain’s ability to produce a specific type of neurotransmitter known as GABA.
  • The anti-oxidative properties of the keto diet help to suppress specific genes that are involved in epilepsy. 
  • The ketogenic diet for seizures is rich in fats that have an anticonvulsant effect on the brain. Hence, it reduces the intensity of seizure attacks.
  • It prevents the excessive firing of cells within the brain cells by targeting a key sensor of cells.

The following sample diet chart for epilepsy will help you start your journey to combat seizures.

  • Early Morning: Black Coffee with 5-6 almonds or Black Tea with roasted nuts
  • Breakfast: 1 cup Paneer Tikka + 1 cup blueberries +2 slices brown bread with peanut butter
  • Mid-Morning Snack: 1 cup kidney beans salad
  • Lunch: 2 chapatis made of keto flour + 1 cup paneer bhurji + 1 bowl of cucumber slices Or two boiled eggs stuffed with mushroom + 1 cup stir fry vegetables
  • Evening Snacks: Veg Clear Soup or 1 cup herbal tea+ 1 cup peanut chaat
  • Dinner: Coconut flour chapati+ Chicken butter masala Or 1 cup brown rice +1/2 cup fish curry
  • Post Dinner: Protein Shake

Foods that cause seizures: 

Certain food items need to be avoided for people with epilepsy. The list of foods that cause seizures is as below:

  1. Refined Carbohydrates: Avoid certain foods like white bread, pasta, pizza, and momos. 
  2. Fruits and Vegetables: Certain fruits and vegetables with a high glycemic index might trigger seizures. Such foods include bananas, mangoes, potatoes, papayas, grapes, and beetroots.
  3. Alcohol 
  4. Carbonated drinks and sodas
  5. Oats, quinoa 
  6. Honey, Jaggery
  7. Chocolates, Pastries, Candies, Sugar.
  8. Foods containing Monosodium Glutamate.
Tips to Remember while following the Diet Chart for Epilepsy
  1. A ratio of 4:1 fats to carbohydrates is ideal for the ketogenic diet.
  2. Foods that are good sources of fats include desi ghee, butter, and mayonnaise.
  3. Prepare the meal carefully since there are a limited number of carbohydrates and fats in the diet chart for epilepsy. Your diet chart for epilepsy needs to be modified from time to time. Hence, you should follow up with your dietician regularly.

Best antiseizure foods 

  1. Brown Rice, legumes
  2. Meat
  3. Fish
  4. Fruits like blueberries, strawberries, oranges, avocados
  5. Vegetables like spinach, kale, tomato, zucchini, broccoli 
  6. Butter, Ghee, Oil, especially olive oil.

Diet for Seizures

Another diet plan, the Atkins Diet, is a modified ketogenic diet for seizures. The diet plan is less restrictive compared to the ketogenic diet plan. It is recommended for patients with daily seizures who cannot respond to antiseizure medications. The significant difference between the ketogenic and Atkins diets for seizure is that the Atkins diet does not restrict fluid, calorie, and protein intake. Another advantage of the Atkin diet is that you do not have to count the calories for each portion of your meal. A sample diet chart for epilepsy based on the Atkin diet plan is as below:

  1. Early Morning: 1 cup black tea+ two whole wheat biscuits Or 5-6 Overnight soaked almonds
  2. Breakfast: 1 glass blueberry smoothie + scrambled eggs with two eggs+ ½ cup cucumber slices Or one glass soya milk + 3 paneer pakora + ½ cup strawberries
  3. Mid-Morning Snack: 1 cup kidney beans salt and pepper, or 1 cup creamy spinach soup
  4. Lunch : 1 cup brown rice + 1 cup soya chaap curry+ 1 cup green salad Or two pieces of kabab + 1 bowl stir fry vegetables
  5. Evening Snack: 1 cup chicken broth with veggies or 1 cup poha with veggies
  6. Dinner: Salmon Chops with avocado + Boiled carrots Or 1 cup boiled chickpeas +3 pieces of Paneer tikka.
  7. Post Dinner: 1 glass of almond milk

Need for Multivitamins along with a diet for seizures

Your doctor or dietician may recommend some multivitamins like Vitamin D and Calcium. These are essential for proper bone function since the ketogenic diet for seizures is deficient in some vitamins and minerals needed to maintain the health of your system. Additionally, you should check the labels of your vitamin supplement to ensure that they are sugar-free. 

Side Effects of Epilepsy Diet

At the beginning of the diet plan, you may feel slightly sluggish as your body is trying to adapt to the new diet plan. It would help if you started a Ketogenic diet for seizures in the hospital under the guidance of a professional team consisting of a dietician and a neurologist. During the starting phase of the diet, you will be on the water or any sugar-free liquids. Other side effects that you may encounter are

  1. Constipation
  2. Weakness in Bones
  3. Kidney Stones
  4. Nausea, etc.

During the first 48 hours of starting the diet, the patient’s blood sugar should be regularly monitored as a patient may encounter episodes of hypoglycaemia.

Role of Dieticians and nutritionists in Epilepsy Diet

Apart from the medical treatment the diet definitely is playing a very important role in improving the condition of an epileptic patient, and hence we need  dieticians/nutritionists in order to:

  • Proceed in the right direction when it comes to food choices for an epileptic diet
  • To monitor almost every meal consumed by the patient on regular basis.
  • To decide the right portion size of the foods to be eaten by the patient
  • To get the right information regarding the various ingredients to be used to prepare the food
  • To make sure that the right food in the right amount to be consumed by the patient

7 Days Diet Chart for Epilepsy Advised By Nutritionists

Monday

Early Morning
5.30 AM
(Pre work out & Post workout)
Jeera water-1glass, Fruit-1 Portion, Channa sattu -1 glass,
Almond 8, Walnut 4
Breakfast (9:00 AM)Milk-1 Glass, Dalia -1 k, 1 Egg white
Mid-morning (11:30 PM)Fruits- 2Portions, Chia seed drink
Lunch (2.00 PM)Sprouts chaat with cucumber and tomato- 1 Bowl , Buttermilk-1 Glass
Evening Snack (4.00 PM)Lemon water – 1 glass, Almonds – 8, Walnuts-3
Evening Snack (5:00 PM)Fruit smoothies-1 glass
Dinner (7:30 PM)Saute vegs with Paneer-1 Bowl, Buttermilk-1 Glass

Tuesday

Early Morning
5.30 AM
(Pre work out & Post workout)
Jeera water-1glass, Fruit-1 Portion, Channa sattu -1 glass,
Almond 8, Walnut 4
Breakfast (9:00 AM)Milk-1 Glass, Paneer sandwich-1
Mid-morning (11:30 PM)Fruits- 2Portions, Chia seed drink
Lunch (2.00 PM)Boiled chana chaat with cucumber and tomato-1 Bowl, Buttermilk-1 Glass
Evening Snack (4.00 PM)Lemon water – 1 glass, Almonds – 8, Walnuts-3
Evening Snack (5:00 PM)Fruit smoothies-1 glass
Dinner (7:30 PM)Salad-1 Bowl, Mushroom Soup-1 Bowl

Wednesday

Early Morning
5.30 AM
(Pre work out & Post workout)
Jeera water-1glass, Fruit-1 Portion, Channa sattu -1 glass,
Almond 8Walnut4
Breakfast (9:00 AM)Milk-1 Glass, Wheat flakes- 1K, 1 Egg white
Mid-morning (11:30 PM)Fruits- 2Portions, Chia seed drink
Lunch (2.00 PM)Saute vegs with paneer -1 Bowl, Buttermilk-1 Glass
Evening Snack (4.00 PM)Lemon water – 1 glass, Almonds – 8, Walnuts-3
Evening Snack (5:00 PM)Fruit smoothies-1 glass
Dinner (7:30 PM)Boiled corn chaat with cucumber and tomato-1 Bowl,
Buttermilk-1 Glass

Thursday

Early Morning
5.30 AM
(Pre work out & Post workout)
Jeera water-1glass, Fruit-1 Portion, Channa sattu -1 glass,
Almond 8Walnut4
Breakfast (9:00 AM)Milk-1 Glass, Veg Poha-1 Bowl
1 Egg white
Mid-morning (11:30 PM)Fruits- 2Portions, Chia seed drink
Lunch (2.00 PM)Salad-1 Bowl , Brown rice pulao with soyabean-1 Bowl, Buttermilk-1 Glass
Evening Snack (4.00 PM)Lemon water – 1 glass, Almonds – 8, Walnuts-3
Evening Snack (5:00 PM)Fruit smoothies-1 glass
Dinner (7:30 PM)Saute vegs with Mushroom-1 Bowl, Raita-1 K

Friday

Early Morning
5.30 AM
(Pre work out & Post workout)
Jeera water-1glass, Fruit-1 Portion, Channa sattu -1 glass,
Almond 8Walnut4
Breakfast (9:00 AM)Milk-1 Glass, Besan Chilla-1, 1 Egg white
Mid-morning (11:30 PM)Fruits- 2Portions, Chia seed drink
Lunch (2.00 PM)Boiled Rajma chaat with cucumber and tomato-1 Bowl,
Buttermilk-1 Glass
Evening Snack (4.00 PM)Lemon water – 1 glass, Almonds – 8, Walnuts-3
Evening Snack (5:00 PM)Fruit smoothies-1 glass
Dinner (7:30 PM)Salad-1 Bowl, Tomato Soup-1Bow

Saturday

Early Morning
5.30 AM
(Pre work out & Post workout)
Jeera water-1glass, Fruit-1 Portion, Channa sattu -1 glass,
Almond 8Walnut4
Breakfast (9:00 AM)Milk-1 Glass, Masala oats -1k, 1 Egg white
Mid-morning (11:30 PM)Fruits- 2Portions, Chia seed drink
Lunch (2.00 PM)Saute vegs with 2 egg whites -1 Bowl
Evening Snack (4.00 PM)Lemon water – 1 glass, Almonds – 8, Walnuts-3
Evening Snack (5:00 PM)Fruit smoothies-1 glass
Dinner (7:30 PM)Saute Veg with Paneer- 1bowl, Buttermilk1glass

Sunday

Early Morning
5.30 AM
(Pre work out & Post workout)
Jeera water-1glass, Fruit-1 Portion, Channa sattu -1 glass,
Almond 8Walnut4
Breakfast (9:00 AM)Milk-1 Glass, Veg Upma- 1K, 1 Egg white
Mid-morning (11:30 PM)Fruits- 2Portions, Chia seed drink
Lunch (2.00 PM)Salad-1 Bowl, Roti-1, Dal – 1k, Dahi-1 K
Evening Snack (4.00 PM)Lemon water – 1 glass, Almonds – 8, Walnuts-3
Evening Snack (5:00 PM)Fruit smoothies-1 glass
Dinner (7:30 PM)Salad-1 Bowl Boiled Mix veg 1 bowl Raita- 1k
Summary

Dietary modifications have been shown to do wonders in case of a number of diseases in various ways. In general life as well, a healthy living can only be maintained by maintaining a balanced diet chart. The diet for epilepsy needs to be stopped gradually over time once the episodes of seizures have stopped. Epilepsy is a chronic disease that poses a significant challenge to patients and their families. However, about one-third of the patients can control seizures with the combination of the proper diet and medications. However, suppose you experience any allergic reactions with the keto diet for seizures. In that case, you need to consult your physician at the earliest.