Maintaining a balanced diet is important for everyone but even more important for FAers for a number of reasons.
FAers typically have weak hearts, often suffering from cardiomyopathy. Many also suffer from diabetes. Maintaining a balanced diet ensures a healthy working environment for your heart (not fighting too much fat) and can help avoid triggering diabetes or help manage it if a person already has it.
In addition, since the most obvious symptom of FA is bad balance, there are reasons associated with this to avoid becoming overweight – excess weight heightens the chance of falls, it would make the likelihood greater of suffering a serious injury in case of a fall and would add to the difficulty of anyone who’d offer help to get up afterwards.
It would be ideal to consult with a nutritionist for a guide to maintaining a healthy and balanced diet. There are a few helpful resources online (here and here for example). Click here to download Susan Perlman’s guide for FAers and their families: “Nutrition and the Patient with Progressive Central Nervous System Disease“.
FA progression happens due to cell-damage so more than anyone, we benefit from antioxidants (which mop up cell-damaging free radicals). Foods that are high in antioxidants are always good. There’s a list here.
There’s investigation ongoing into resveratrol (a powerful antioxidant) which might boost the body’s ability to produce frataxin. There are lists around of foods that are high in resveratrol but even if they are, there wouldn’t be enough in them to make a difference. The levels being tested in clinical trial are up to 100 times higher than you can find naturally occurring anywhere). (Find out more about this clinical trial here).