The Lupus Diet
Disclaimer: We are not physicians and this article should not be taken as medical advice. Please speak with a physician or nutritionist if you have any questions.
A healthy lupus diet can work to prevent allergies, reduce deficiencies and ultimately repress or cause remission of autoimmune symptoms. The following is a list of suggested dieting tips followed by common diet types:
Trans Fats are used in processed meals in order to make foods more solid. In some cases, people with lupus struggle to metabolize saturated fats and may even be at risk of heart attack. Red meat, high-fat dairy and fried foods may expose an already weak immune system to toxins or synthetic additives. Try substituting these foods for organic, unprocessed foods which will have the opposite effect.
Genetically Modified Foods are foods derived from organisms whose DNA has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally. Beef, milk and refined oils are some common genetically modified foods that can lead to obesity and spiked inflammatory responses. Some ways to avoid genetically modified foods are to become familiar with high-risk foods, buy foods that are labeled “100% organic” and shop locally.
Pasteurized Dairy Products are everyday dairy products that are common allergens for people with lupus because of an ingredient called Beta-Casein which has been linked to heart disease and autoimmunity. Reducing dairy in your diet is an essential step in the healing process.
Gluten serves as the mixture of proteins found in wheat. This ingredient is not easily digested because today’s hybridized strains of wheat mimic the body’s molecules, leaving the digestive system confused. Cutting gluten out of your diet can reduce the risk of leaky gut which triggers the disease, inflammation, and a potential autoimmune attack on your thyroid as gluten closely mimics this tissue (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis).
Red Meat is high in saturated fat and can cause inflammation. Wild-caught fish is a great substitute for red meat because it reduces inflammation and does not contain the level of heavy metals found farm-raised fish. Pair this with vegetables on the side that are also known to reduce inflammation, like leafy greens, avocado and bell peppers.
Added Sugars are one of the top addictions nationwide, as Americans are said to consume 70 to 150 pounds of sugar a year. Added sugars should be avoided because they can cause inflammation and damage to an individual’s gut. Added sugars are empty calories that you can do your part to avoid and instead replace with fresh fruit which is high in vitamins and natural sugars.
Sodium rarely needs to be added to food, and is commonly found in salad dressings, sauces, and everyday snacks. Lupus already puts individuals at a higher risk for heart disease, so cutting out table salt and putting your sauces on the side can not only lower this risk, but also lower your blood pressure.
Certain Legumes have been known to cause negative reactions including muscle pains, fatigue, antinuclear antibodies in the blood, and kidney abnormality. If you have experienced any of these symptoms, it would be best to avoid alfalfa seeds, soybeans, green beans, and peanuts.
We understand that every case of Lupus is unique, and people experience a variety of side effects from the items listed above. Experimenting with which foods cause flare-ups and which don’t can be a timely process, so here are some common diets that can speed the healing process:
The Paleo Diet mimics the diet of humans during their stages of evolution and consists mainly of foods that existed before the introduction of agriculture. These foods contain no preservatives and consist of fresh meats and vegetables. Items like free-range chicken, wild-caught fish and leafy greens are essential to this diet because they reduce inflammation. The Paleo Diet is common for people with lupus because it cuts out three of the most common allergens: grains, dairy, and certain legumes. This diet reduces symptoms of autoimmunity and risk of leaky gut. Gluten containing grains, particularly wheat, rye and barley should be reduced because they increase susceptibility to the disease. High-fat dairy products and legumes similar to those listed earlier should be avoided for the same reason. Cutting down on these three allergens may reduce or even cause remission of autoimmune symptoms.
The Anti-Inflammatory Diet intends to promote energy while reducing the intake of common allergens. Fruits and vegetables high in vitamins and minerals are recommended because they strengthen the immune system. Omega-3 fatty acids are also healthy to eat and include items like wild-caught fish or fish oil supplements. Processed foods, saturated and trans fats and gluten are typically avoided because they trigger inflammation.
Vitamin Use is a way to promote health by making up for elements that people with Lupus tend to be deficient in. Probiotics, Vitamin E and zinc work to stabilize immune activity. Calcium helps to prevent heart issues and Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium and other vitamins while relieving other symptoms. When somebody is deficient in these vitamins, the immune system becomes weak and is more likely to attack itself.