I know that my lupus is directly affected by what I eat. As I have said before one of the most profound pieces of advice that I got from a doctor was this, “Over 70% of your immune system is in your gut, how can you not think that your diet wouldn’t affect your disease.” From that moment on I thought about how the decisions I was making would ultimately affect my ability to go into and remain in remission. This was and still is not the easiest change in my life, since being diagnosed with lupus. I have no problem with popping pills, even though I don’t like it, I can live with that annoying moment a few times a day, but changing my diet is an all day, everyday commitment. I recently read an article that discussed gluten allergies and it dispelled a myth that I had learned to accept, the 80/20 rule. You know the rule, you say, “ we don’t eat it in our house, just when we eat out” is a complete misconception. An article published in 2001 states that for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity eating gluten just once a month increased the relative risk of death by 600%. The article goes on to say that great way to see if you are gluten intolerant is to do the elimination diet, take it out of your diet for at least 2 to 3 weeks and then reintroduce it. Please note that gluten is a very large protein and it can take months and even years to clear from your system so the longer you can eliminate it from your diet before reintroducing it, the better.
“The best advice that I share with my patients is that if they feel significantly better off of gluten or feel worse when they reintroduce it, then gluten is likely a problem for them. In order to get accurate results from this testing method you must eliminate 100% of the gluten from your diet.” – Dr. Amy Meyers
We’ll get more into gluten sensitivity in another article, but let’s talk about what you should eat rather than what you should not be eating. A key culprit that we lupies fight with is inflammation, and there is a way that you diet can combat over inflammation. According to Health.com, inflammation is part of the body’s immune response; without it, we can’t heal. But when it’s out of control—as in rheumatoid arthritis or lupus—it can damage the body. Plus, it’s thought to play a role in obesity, heart disease, and cancer.
Foods high in sugar and saturated fat can spur inflammation. “They cause overactivity in the immune system, which can lead to joint pain, fatigue, and damage to the blood vessels,” says Scott Zashin, MD, clinical professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
Other foods may curb inflammation. Add these items to your plate today.
14 Foods That Fight Inflammation:
- Fatty fish
Oily fish, like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines, are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation. To get the benefits, however, you need to eat fish several times a week, and it should be cooked in healthy ways: In a 2009 study from the University of Hawaii, men who ate baked or boiled fish (as opposed to fried, dried, or salted) cut their risk of heart disease by 23% compared to those who ate the least. Not a fan of fish? Consider fish-oil supplements.
- Whole grains
Consuming most of your grains as whole grains, as opposed to refined, white bread, cereal, rice, and pasta can help keep harmful inflammation at bay. That’s because whole grains have more fiber, which has been shown to reduce levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in the blood, and they usually have less added sugar.
- Dark leafy greens
Studies have suggested that vitamin E may play a key role in protecting the body from pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines—and one of the best sources of this vitamin is dark green veggies, such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and collard greens. Dark greens and cruciferous vegetables also tend to have higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals—like calcium, iron, and disease-fighting phytochemicals—than those with lighter-colored leaves.
Another source of inflammation-fighting healthy fats is nuts—particularly almonds, which are rich in fiber, calcium, and vitamin E, and walnuts, which have high amounts of alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fat. All nuts, though, are packed with antioxidants, which can help your body fight off and repair the damage caused by inflammation.
Several studies have suggested that isoflavones, estrogen-like compounds found in soy products, may help lower CRP and inflammation levels in women—and a 2007 animal study published in the Journal of Inflammation found that isoflavones also helped reduce the negative effects of inflammation on bone and heart health in mice.
Avoid heavily-processed soy whenever possible, which may not include the same benefits and is usually paired with additives and preservatives. Instead, aim to get more soy milk, tofu, and edamame (boiled soybeans) into your regular diet.
- Low-fat dairy
Milk products are sometimes considered a trigger food for inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, because some people have allergies or intolerances to casein, the protein found in dairy. But for people who can tolerate it, low-fat and nonfat milk are an important source of nutrients. Yogurt can also contain probiotics, which can reduce gut inflammation.
For the complete list click here.