Our immune system is our body’s first line of defense when it comes to combating viruses and bacteria. The problem arises when the immune system becomes unable to distinguish these foreign cells from the body’s own cells.
This prompts the immune system to mistakenly start attacking healthy cells in one organ (e.g. the pancreas), and sometimes even the entire body.
This condition is referred to as autoimmune disease. Although its exact cause is unknown, avoiding certain foods can be of great help when it comes to reducing symptoms. Below, a couple of dietary changes you can make to upgrade your lifestyle and feel your best.
A Gluten-Free Diet:
“cutting out gluten can be very beneficial for your immune system”
Although going gluten-free may sound like a fad, cutting out gluten can be very beneficial for your immune system for a number of reasons. For starters, cutting gluten from your diet can help reduce the negative influence gluten has on the immune system and gut microbiota. Going gluten-free also helps when it comes to reducing inflammation.
A gluten-free diet works best for individuals with autoimmune conditions such as Celiac disease. When on a gluten-free diet, individuals should avoid foods that contain malt, rye, barley, triticale, brewer’s yeast, as well as wheat-based foods. This means saying no to everything from wheat-based pasta, bread, cereals, snacks, and baked goods to certain beverages and sauces. Unless something is labeled as gluten-free, you’re better off without it.
Some of the foods you can eat that are naturally gluten-free include eggs, plain dairy products, nuts, seeds, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Weight loss, energy boost, reduction of chronic inflammation, and the reduction of digestive symptoms are some of the health benefits that you can expect after following a gluten-free diet.
A Plant-Based Diet:
A diet where the main focus is put on the increased intake of fruits and vegetables can also be quite beneficial for people with autoimmune diseases. But rather than being focused on treating one type of autoimmune disease like the gluten-free diet, the plant-based diet offers all around health benefits that can boost your overall health and wellness.
Depending on how strict you want to be with your diet, you can either limit or completely avoid foods such as meat, dairy, animal products, processed meats, refined grains, sweets and sweetened beverages. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds can be consumed in abundance when on a plant-based diet, as well as coffee and tea.
Some proven benefits of plant-based diet include inflammation reduction, weight management, and metabolism boost. This diet can be particularly beneficial for individuals with type 1 diabetes, another common autoimmune disorder. Just make sure that you stock up on all different kinds of plant-based foods so that you have a plethora of options.
The Anti-Inflammatory Diet:
As the name itself suggests, the anti-inflammatory diet focuses on the consumption of anti-inflammatory foods, with a special emphasis on homemade meals and natural foods. These include ocean-caught fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and olive oil.
It’s important to note that the best lifestyle and diet for autoimmune disease is also the one that supports a healthy lifestyle by fostering healthy gut microbes and promoting flora growth in the digestive tract. Digestive health supplement formulas that include effective anti-inflammatories such as aloe vera contain can be particularly effective for boosting the immune system as well as increasing the production of digestive enzymes.
Individuals with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis can particularly benefit from following the anti-inflammatory diet, a diet that’s very similar to the Mediterranean diet which is known to help extend lifespan and reduce risks of chronic diseases.
The AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet:
“Paleo diet is based on the foods our ancestors consumed during the Paleolithic era.”
The AIP or Autoimmune Protocol diet is often compared to the Paleo diet, but is seen as its more extreme version. Paleo diet is based on the foods our ancestors consumed during the Paleolithic era. Paleo foods are types of foods that could be the result of hunting and gathering – think fruits, vegetables, fish, and lean meat.
Legumes, grains, and dairy, which became common after the emergence of farming (10,000 years ago), are foods that need to be avoided. The same goes for eggs, nuts, seeds, processed foods, refined sugar, and industrial seed oils.
The AIP diet is based on the elimination of any types of food groups that are known contributors to inflammation. After following a clean diet for a specific amount of time, these foods are then gradually reintroduced into the diet.
As for the elimination protocols, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, and the way they’re implemented will vary from patient to patient. The main benefit of the AIP diet is the reduction of inflammation, particularly when it comes to individuals with IBD or inflammatory bowel disease, a common autoimmune disease.
Whether you’re someone who’s been dealing with autoimmune disease for a while now or you’ve just been diagnosed, navigating this condition can often seem challenging. However, by making several nutrition tweaks and following an effective diet, you can avoid flare-ups, reduce inflammation triggers, and boost your overall health and well-being.