Although there is no definitive restless leg syndrome diet, there are known foods that can help combat RLS as well as foods that can trigger RLS symptoms. These are the best foods you should be including in your diet in order to fight restless leg syndrome.
They contain the highest concentrations of the vitamins and minerals your body is likely lacking in from experiencing chronic restless leg syndrome. Here they are in no particular order:
1. Fish Oil
Why: Omega 3 – A study examining whether omega-3 exerts neuroprotective action in Parkinson’s disease found that it did, using an experimental model, exhibit a protective effect (much like it did for Alzheimer’s disease as well)1.
2. Organic Chicken & Turkey (3 oz. serving)
Why: Niacin (Vitamin B3) – Vitamin B3 is a naturally occurring substance found in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and green vegetables. Deficiencies in Niacin can lead to restlessness and depression. Tryptophan, abundant in turkey and chicken is a known precursor to Serotonin.
Why: Folic acid/B12 – Here’s the big connection with RLS. Studies indicate that people suffering with RLS have low ferritin iron storage protein levels within the brain2. If the ferritin iron storage protein level is below 50 mcg/L, dopamine production decreases in the body. Folic acid is known to increase ferritin iron protein levels within the brain, thereby naturally aiding dopamine transport and a decrease in RLS symptoms.
Why: Vitamin E – Want a healthy snack that will satisfy you and help prevent RLS at the same time? Almonds are rich in vitamin E as well as magnesium, both are among the top 7 foods to include in an RLS diet. Vitamin E provides a crucial protective barrier around delicate nerve cells called the myelin sheath, so that delicate communication between these nerve cells can happen normally. Eat raw almonds for optimum nutrition.
5. Kiwi and Strawberries –
Why: Ascorbate (Vitamin C) – A recent study done in 2012 found that an increase in Ascorbate led to increased activity of the iron transporter ferroportin3. This was a great find because RLS sufferers have been found to have decreased iron transporter protein (ferroportin) activity. Ascorbate assists the body in naturally boosting ferroportin activity allowing for Iron to be metabolized more effectively.
Why: Magnesium – A medium sized banana provides 32 mg of magnesium and also contains a large dose of potassium, both which are electrolytes that help the regular functioning of nerve impulses. Magnesium is also powerful for helping to bind and remove toxins that may be clogging dopamine receptor sites within the body.
7. Decaf Green Tea
Why: Theanine – Theanine is a very useful amino acid that has been known to increase dopamine receptor activity, serotonin and GABA levels within the brain and can immediately induce a state of relaxation and elevated mood.
Although this list explores the ideal diet for restless leg syndrome, by no means is it comprehensive. If you would like a more comprehensive list of what foods to eat and what foods to avoid on a restless leg syndrome diet, you can download our free eBook, “Solving the RLS Puzzle,” which goes more into depth on the types of foods that cause RLS as well as environmental factors that could be contributing to your restless legs. See the top of this page for how to get your free copy as an instant download today.
1. Omega-3 deficiency and neurodegeneration in the substantia nigra: involvement of increased nitric oxide production and reduced BDNF expression. Cardoso HD1, dos Santos Junior EF1, de Santana DF1, Gonçalves-Pimentel http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24361617
2. Profile of altered brain iron acquisition in restless legs syndrome
James R. Connor,corresponding author Padmavathi Ponnuru, Xin-Sheng Wang, Stephanie M. Patton, Richard P. Allen and Christopher J. Earley http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3069701/
3. Iron transport through ferroportin is induced by intracellular ascorbate and involves IRP2 and HIF2α. Scheers N1, Sandberg AS2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24394537