I found this amazing article written by Dr. Axe on the importance of making healthy dietary choices in order to manage Lupus symptoms. He discusses everything from foods that we should and should not eat, as well as the benefits of making these choices. I am quickly sharing the most important information regarding foods that he recommends for Lupus patients, but if you’d like to read more on his insights, you can find the article here.
As someone who attempts to make healthy choices daily and has even made drastic dietary changes, I know how overwhelming these suggestions can be. I think it’s important to remember that we aren’t perfect, accept that we will likely slip up here and there, and just try our best to make choices that are ultimately best for us. Comment below letting me know your thoughts on Dr. Axe’s suggestions! Have you made similar dietary choices in the past?
Until next time…be well!
Top Lupus Diet Foods
Best Healing Foods to Eat on the Lupus Diet
Organic, Unprocessed Foods
Consuming foods in their natural, whole form limits your exposure to synthetic additives, toxins or pesticides. These chemicals are very commonly found in packaged products and non-organic foods (even many veggies and fruit!). Because those with lupus already have weakened immune systems, reducing exposure to synthetic hormones, chemicals, medications and heavy metals is usually crucial for recovery.
Raw and Cooked Vegetables
Raw veggies promote an alkaline environment in the body which can help keep inflammation levels lower. They also supply antioxidants, prebiotics, dietary fiber, and many essential vitamins and minerals. Whether eaten raw or cooked, some of the best choices include leafy greens, garlic, onions, asparagus, artichoke, bell peppers, beets, mushrooms and avocado. These help supply nutrients like the vitamin C, selenium, magnesium and potassium you need. Aim for variety and a minimum of four to five servings per day.
Unprocessed fruit (not commercial fruit juices or sweetened canned fruits) are high in vitamins and other important nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin E, which can be hard to get from other foods. Berries, pomegranate and cherries are especially beneficial due to their high antioxidant levels.
Many types of wild seafood provide omega-3 fats that help reduce inflammation levels. The best choices are wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, halibut, trout and anchovies. Aim to consume these omega-3 foods about two to three times weekly, or consider supplementing. Just be sure to buy “wild-caught” to reduce intake of things like heavy metals found in farm-raised fish, plus limit intake of fish high in mercury.
Probiotics are the “good bacteria” that populate our GI tracts and help keep us healthy. Several foods that contain natural probiotics are yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and cultured veggies like sauerkraut or kimchi.
Bone broth has been consumed for centuries and contains numerous beneficial nutrients like collagen, glutathione and trace minerals. It can help reduce autoimmune and inflammatory symptoms that are associated with lupus, including indigestion and joint pain. Consume eight to 16 ounces of bone broth daily as a beverage or as part of a soup.
Herbs, Spices and Teas
Turmeric, ginger, basil, oregano, thyme, etc., plus green tea are all beneficial.
Certain foods can also help relieve skin irritation and dryness, two very common symptoms associated with lupus. Foods to help moisturize skin from the inside out and prevent free radical damage or allergic rashes include:
- Avocado. Looking for ways to increase your intake? Try these avocado recipes.
- Nuts and seeds like chia, flax, walnuts and almonds (also great sources of fiber and omega-3s)
- Coconut oil and olive oil
- Wild-caught fish
- Raw milk
- Berries, cucumbers and melon. Try adding these to homemade green smoothie recipes.
- Drinking plenty of water, herbal tea and green tea
Worst Inflammatory Foods to Avoid on the Lupus Diet
Trans Fats/Hydrogenated Fats
These are used in packaged/processed products and often to fry foods. Cooking at home more and avoiding fast foods, processed meats, and packaged sweets or cheeses can help you decrease your intake. Some people with lupus have a hard time metabolizing saturated fats and should limit sources like cheese, red meat and creamy foods if they causes symptoms to worsen.
Refined Vegetable Oils
These are very cheap to produce and therefore are used in most processed, boxed foods. Check ingredient labels and try to avoid too much canola, corn, safflower, sunflower and soybean oils, which are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.
Pasteurized Dairy Products
Conventional dairy products are homogenized and pasteurized to improve taste and reduce natural bacteria, but processing also decreases important enzymes. This is why conventional dairy products are common allergens.
Refined Carbohydrates and Processed Grain/Gluten Products
These are low in nutrients and may also contribute to poor digestion, weight gain, inflammation and other symptoms. Most also contain gluten, a type of protein found in wheat, barley, rye and most flour-containing products. Gluten sensitivity or intolerance is common in those with autoimmune disorders because gluten can be difficult for many people to digest properly, increasing leaky gut syndrome and triggering symptom flare-ups. (6)
Conventional Meat, Poultry and Eggs
When consuming animal products, it’s important to go for high-quality meat. Farm-raised products are higher in omega-6 fats due to feeding the animals corn and cheap ingredients that negatively affect their microbiomes.
Sugar is known to cause blood sugar fluctuations, can cause moodiness and can be inflammatory when consumed in high amounts. Look out for added sugar found in the majority of packaged snacks, breads, condiments, dairy foods, canned items, cereals, etc.
Because lupus can damage the kidneys, it’s best to try to keep sodium and salt levels low to prevent fluid retention, worsened swelling and electrolyte imbalances. Sodium is highest in foods like condiments, processed meats, canned soups, frozen, premade meals and fried foods.
Alcohol and Too Much Caffeine
These can increase anxiety, worsen inflammation, damage the liver, increase pain, and cause dehydration and sleep-related problems.
Alfalfa seeds and sprouts, green beans, peanuts, soybeans, and snow peas contain a substance that has been shown to trigger lupus flare-ups in some patients (although not all). Negative reactions caused by these foods experienced by lupus patients can include antinuclear antibodies in the blood, muscle pains, fatigue, abnormal immune system function and kidney abnormality. These symptoms are believed to be caused by the amino acid L-canavanine. (7)
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