Restless Legs Syndrome
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RLS and nutrition

Hello everyone,

The European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA) is developing a booklet on the relevance of nutrition for EU Patient Groups. As part of this, I am asking you for your thoughts on nutrition and how it affects your RLS, if at all.

I believe nutrition does affect my RLS, particularly if I have spicy foods.

Do you think any particular food(s) affect your RLS and/or its severity? If so, please can you provide brief details below...



14 Replies

I have wondered about this a lot..the only thing I have any suspicion about is chocolate....I really need to do experimentation with food and me but can never find the will to start. Tiredness does not help as I crave rubbish food..

I`ve cut out and taken to excess..alcohol, coffee, caffeine energy drinks, smoking (i know its not a food) nicotine gum, tea... all long term so it would have had chance to show a difference, but none has had any effect on my rls. it will be interesting to see others responses!!!


Ice cream !


When my son was about 7 ice cream used to give him heart palpitations! He grew out of it was that bad he was in hospital!


querie was it soft scoop from a tub or from a whipping machine with a chocolate bar wedged in?

The whipped stuff is artificial while some of the tubbed stuff is added sparingly to fruit bowls .


when we are tired and sleep deprived, our cortisol hormone is elevated which is linked directly to craving junk food, especially sugar. Caffeine, sugar, all obvious ones I avoid. when I was taking ambien, I wa sleep eating, and that was nightmare to wake up and see what I had done the night before. AND, sleep shopping. But, I digress. The less sleep we get the more we crave junk that is not good for us. The cortisol hormone is also the one that is elevated in pregnancy.


The only thing that I know makes things worse is alcohol in the evening.


Hi Chair. I try to eat a balanced diet with lots of fresh vegetables and fruit but yes I have noticed that some foods do aggravate my RLS. I am not sure why. I cannot eat oats or porridge and that always aggravates it. I don't eat a lot of sugary foods but I notice that if I have cake for example like a Belgian bun then that does aggravate it too. Not eating properly actually aggravates it so rugulat eating for me is important. Don't touch alcohol because of my meds but that makes it worse along with even decaffinated coffee. I cannot take caffeine. I read that ice cream was bad but didn't really notice that one so I have still cut it out. I can't really have chocolate either, either a drink or a bar. Not drinking enough water also will aggravate it. Hope this is of helps. I don't eat spicey food but I think any food that stimulates or causes a rush , like caffeine or a bar of chocolate, I think these aggravate RLS so not suprised about spicy food. Also not eating meat aggravates it in my case. I found out by having fish for a few days on the trot.


I have tried cutting down on caffeine and never seen any consistent improvement. Don't drink much alcohol anyway. But I had a terrible evening recently after a day spent baking (and sampling) birthday cakes, so I suspect sugar may have something to do with the variation in my RLS from day to day.


My problem is chocolate and alcohol, I don't take them. I also don't take caffeine. I have RLS since I was 9 years, I'm now 65.


Hi, I've been experimenting with this a lot lately. Alcohol - particularly wine; refined sugar in cakes and biscuits and coffee exacerbate my rls hugely. Notice a big difference when I cut them out or minimise.


I have found that red wine is an absolute no-no. 'Probably had less than half a glass last night and even though I'd taken my meds hours before, the kicking and upper arm RLS was so bad, that when I went to bed, it disturbed my wife so much that I had to go downstairs, take an extra pramipexole and restlessly slumber 'til the meds took effect. I do prefer beer though, so may experiment with drinking some alocohol, then watering it down with lots of (!) :) afterwards, to see if that alleviates the negative effects. Salud y'all, Tpebop, Kent, Britain.


Well hops are supposed to help you sleep so drink loads of beer!!!!!!!!! Lol


As far as foods go, there are no foods that make my RLS worse or better for that matter. I know what sets off my migraines and most of that is food related, some stress related from various places. :) BUt, foremost, no alcohol, no caffeine, no sugar, etc. Chocolate is the double whammy. Sugar AND caffeine. I just make sure I fo not eat anythng that is "unbland" before I go to seep. Something with carbs wioll help you relax some. alcohol may relax you at firts but it will come up and bite you on the butt eventually. an eliminaton diet is the only way to answer this, Dragon. We are all tired., I have done several diets cutting this and that out. ?artcificial sweeteners are an issue with me, so I'll take the real sugar. :)


Dear Chair ,

Hi I am new and this is an exiting way to start too.

My belief in Diet and Food stuffs has never been far from thought and word however events occured whereby my diet went a little wayward, I was 15.5 stone 95 kgs or 217 pounds. age 22. Psychotropic meds slowed me down almost to a shuffle.

So once clear of heavy doses I returned to aiding my lifestyle with Good food.

In Direct answer to the q. I shall begin by adding the following and inputting more tips once I feel a little more confident ( I am not a nutrtionist) just a food lover x

Bananas contain potassium and Tryptophan

Tryptophan is one of the 22 standard amino acids and an essential amino acid

this can be found in Dates , fish , milk, chicken. and othe non processed foods

It lifts and stimulates whilst contributing to rest.

Always consult your nutritionist or GP before taking supplements.

The tryptophan may be stimulating and reward the mind system whist repairing exhaustion to the tissues. It is recommended to follow a regular diet with a limit on sugars and caffienes.

Avoid processed foods as they may contain artificial additives and increase the bodies response towards negative function, while a Mars bar is a treat 3 gives me an easter headache. : )

I also now take a supplement of Magnesium sulphate as naturally as I can get and have started a tonic containing this mag. too.

In two days the A Horse Race of the year takes place the Grand National see how mag. is given to horses in varios forms.

and ever wondered now if it was flies making the legs move or RHLS Resless horse leg syndrome. Look how active a horse is why it even sleeps stood up...(naps)

and yet after a good diet and a good rub down it perfoms so well.

Please no Horse recipies here after recent press stories eh?

Direction is Diet does it.

I am not a nutritionist just a food lover


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