4 Dietary Tweaks For Those With An Autoimmune Disease
It seems more and more common to be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Often these conditions range from mild to life-threatening symptoms, but it can also go into remission for weeks, months, and even years. More serious forms are difficult to manage medically – immunosuppressive drugs such as prednisone can control severe symptoms, but should be used with caution, as they can reduce the chance that the disease will go into remission naturally and weaken the immune system in a way that increases cancer and illness risk.
If you have lupus or another autoimmune condition, take a daily multivitamin/multimineral supplement and modify your diet. These changes should also be considered for all inflammatory conditions and symptoms:
- Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids by eating wild Alaskan salmon or other cold-water, oily fish at least three times a week and look into starting a potent omega-3 supplement for added benefit.
- Avoid polyunsaturated vegetable oils (soybean, safflower, sunflower, corn, etc.), margarine, vegetable shortening, and all products made with hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated oils.
- Eat a low-protein, plant-based diet that excludes all products made from cows’ milk. Many integrative medicine practitioners have also seen many autoimmune conditions improve or even reverse by eliminating gluten-containing foods whether you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. This makes an elimination diet definitely worth a two- to three-month trial.
- Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (with the exception of alfalfa sprouts, which contain L-canavanine, an amino acid that can worsen autoimmunity).
These recommendations follow those in my Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid.
It is also advisable to have your vitamin D levels checked to ensure that they are in the normal range in both summer and winter months. Vitamin D has anti-inflammatory benefits and low levels may correlate with autoimmune conditions.
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