A lot of you have messaged us asking for more content related to diet and nutrition tips in order to manage and potentially reduce Lupus symptoms. Naturally, we compiled and analyzed various research articles in order to create a introductory list of foods that you should avoid incorporating into your diet. We hope that this guide will help you to create a framework of your diet.
First, let’s talk protein: red meat is full of saturated fat, which can increase risk of heart disease as well as potentially trigger lupus flares. Instead, we recommend replacing red meat with fish as a protein source. Fish hold essential Omega-3 fatty acids, which have the opposite effect of protecting against heart disease and risk of stroke. These essential fats also have the added benefit of having anti-inflammatory properties, which may aid in reduction of symptoms related to pain and fatigue.
We have already hinted at this earlier in the article, but a general rule of thumb for Lupus patients is to avoid saturated and trans fats. Steroids can increase your appetite and cause weight gain, further loading your immune system and placing more pressure on aggravated bones and joints.
Another potential recommendation to consider is avoiding alfalfa and garlic.Alfalfa sprouts contain an amino acid called L-canavine, while garlic contains allicin, ajoene, and thiosulfinates. All of these trace nutrients can have the unintended side effect of forcing your immune system into overdrive and flare up dormant lupus symptoms.
While we’re on the subject of making diet cuts, there may also be a benefit to eliminating nightshade vegetables from your diet. We know what you’re thinking: what in the world is a nightshade vegetable? Is it some sort of ingredient category for an eighteenth-century apothecary? Something that would be right at home in a witch’s cauldron? The name is understandably misleading, but it actually is a family of botanicals that include white potatoes, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, and eggplant. While not proven in any clinical studies, some patients with Lupus have in fact reported sensitivity to nightshade vegetables. Generally, most individuals can eat food sources from this group, but for a few it can act as a trigger similar to wheat or dairy and can cause major immune system reactions.
Our last tip for this article is to monitor alcohol intake. Alcohol can interact with some of the medicines commonly prescribed to treat lupus. Drinking while taking NSAID drugs (i.e ibuprofen or naproxen) could increase risk of stomach bleeding or ulcers. Alcohol may also reduce the effectiveness of warfarin and may increase potential liver side-effects of methotrexate. That being said, we completely understand the need to wind down with a nice glass of Cabernet or Prosecco on certain days. Ultimately, we recommend consulting with your doctor about the appropriate (if any) amount of daily alcohol intake for you, as with any other consumables.