If you’re living with an autoimmune disease or chronic pain condition such as fibromyalgia, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, or similar, your diet plays a MASSIVE role in both your symptoms and recovery. When you have an autoimmune disease, you need excellent nutrition. Slowly cut back on highly-processed junk foods, and nourish your ailing body with these foods instead.
What is Autoimmune Disease?
Autoimmune disease occurs when your immune system mistakes your healthy organs and tissues as foreign invaders, and goes on the attack. There are hundreds of autoimmune diseases listed in medical texts. When you first start experiencing symptoms, you may go to the doctor and be offered a prescription. What your he or she may not tell you, however, is these drugs only mask the symptoms. They don’t treat their underlying cause.
Foods People with Autoimmune Disease Should Eat
If you live with an autoimmune disease, you run the risk of having an abundance of free radicals, yeast, bacteria, and fungi growing and thriving within you. You may also have a compromised digestive system due to inflammation and/or low gut bacteria. This means the nutrients from the food you eat may not be properly absorbed and waste matter may not be adequately eliminated.
To combat these complications, a whole-food diet is best. This list is a short guide to get you started:
Turkey is an easily-digestible protein containing tryptophan, a mood booster, and mild relaxant. This essential amino acid has also been reported to boost the immune system naturally. (Those with gout and kidney stones should limit their intake of turkey.)
Fish is another excellent source of easily-digestible protein rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation naturally, and boost brain function and mood. When choosing fish, opt for wild-caught instead of farm-raised. Studies indicate farm-raised fish contain pesticides and artificial growth hormones, two things you do NOT need to put into your body when you’re already sick.
Green, Leafy Vegetables
Magnesium is an essential mineral responsible for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. It helps stabilize your nervous system while improving immune system function. Green, leafy vegetables such as collards, kale, Swiss chard, and mustard greens are rich in magnesium as well as calcium and iron, which can help you heal naturally.
Yogurt is rich in probiotics, live active cultures that help your digestive system break down food, and eliminate waste. Probiotics also support your immune system. When selecting yogurt, opt for organic. You don’t need any high fructose corn syrup or aspartame in your life right now….or ever.
Cayenne pepper is an excellent digestive aid and natural anti-inflammatory, both of which you need if you have an autoimmune disease. It also helps to clear up an overgrowth of yeast and fungus in the body. (Those with bleeding disorders or on blood thinners should consult their physician before using cayenne.)
Garlic is touted as a cure-all for a reason. Its natural anti-fungal and anti-viral properties are just what you need to combat yeast overgrowth and fight inflammation.
It’s also a great immune system booster, and can keep chronic colds and flu at bay. For best results, chop and eat raw. Put it in a salad, or as the last ingredient in soups or stew. When you feel a cold or flu coming on, mix chopped garlic with raw honey and swallow (don’t chew).
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil contains vitamin E, a strong antioxidant that fights free radicals. It also helps lubricate joints, and prevents constipation. Instead of cooking with the oil, pour it on seasoned vegetables, or mix it with apple cider vinegar to use as a salad dressing.
Dark chocolate is just delightful, and it’s on the list of foods people with autoimmune diseases should eat. There’s one catch though: Read the label on your dark chocolate carefully. I personally eat Terra Nostra or Enjoy Life dark chocolate because they’re the only ones I can find that don’t have soy in them.
Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants, which, as you’ve learned from other foods on this list, is essential to fighting those accumulated free radicals. It’s also loaded with magnesium to help restore your nervous system balance, ease anxiety, boost your immune system, improve your mood, and help you sleep.
Green tea encourages the production of a higher number of regulatory T-cells, which improves overall immune system function. Green tea also acts as a natural anti-inflammatory.
Food intolerances and allergies can also contribute to the symptoms of autoimmune disease, and its complications. Gluten and corn are common culprits. If you’re feeling adventurous, cut them both from your diet for a month and take note if symptoms improve.
Foods containing artificial additives and preservatives should be cut from your diet as well. Also, eat organic whenever possible to avoid pesticides and hormones. Your body does NOT need the added stress of trying to process that stuff, especially right now.
This list of foods people with autoimmune disease should eat is just the tip of the iceberg. Be sure to do your own research and become a label-reader.
Don’t let your doctor discourage you. When you make the right choices about the food you put into your body, you’ll ease the symptoms of autoimmune disease and feel more like yourself again!