Ten Healthy Eating Musts for Autoimmune Disease
Stop eating processed foods
Swap out processed foods for nutrient dense whole foods. Pre-packaged foods may be tasty and quick but they offer almost no nutritional value and are frequently loaded with unhealthy chemicals, salt and sugar. True nutrient dense foods such as colorful and deep green vegetables, long simmered bone-broths, high quality grass fed meats, fatty fish and fermented foods can make every bite count toward rebuilding optimal health and rebalancing the immune system.
Avoid other inflammatory foods
Many foods spark inflammation. While not all of them affect every body, I suggest removing the whole group for 30-60 days and then slowly adding back the ones you can’t live without while checking for a reaction. Things like refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, gluten, trans fats, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oil should be permanently removed. Other foods including dairy, the group of vegetables know as night shades, eggs, soy, nuts, seeds and gluten free grains should be removed for a period to test for intolerance.
Avoid personal trigger foods
Aside from the usual inflammatory suspects you may find other foods that don’t agree with you. Listen to what your inner wisdom is telling you.
Eat anti-inflammatory foods
Inflammation is a major driving force behind autoimmunity. Fresh fruits and vegetables like beets, broccoli, blueberry and green leafy vegetables are particularly good at boosting our ability to combat inflammation. The good fats found in fish, avocado, organic grass fed butter, nuts and seeds (if tolerated), olive oil and ghee can help nourish skin and brain and provide cells with the building blocks needed to repair and rebuild.
Boost the microbiome with probiotic rich fermented foods
Proper immune function is highly dependent on the health of gut bacteria so ensuring they are thriving, diverse and well populated can help the immune system realign itself. One spoonful per day of fermented foods can impart trillions of bacteria – a much greater dose than anything available in supplement form. Any vegetable can be fermented like beets, cabbage, carrots and even eggplant. Common traditional fermented foods include kimchi, lassi, kefir and yogurt.
Help the microbiome to flourish with prebiotic foods
Just like their human hosts, gut bacteria need nourishment to help them grow, thrive and reproduce. Prebiotics are components of certain foods that are indigestible by humans yet, fermentable by beneficial gut bacteria. Asparagus, carrots, onion, garlic, jicama and jerusalem artichokes are examples of prebiotic superfoods.
We live in a toxic world full of chemicals and pesticides sprayed all over the foods we eat. Help lessen the load by choosing organically grown foods. At the very least, check out the Environmental Working Group’s website to see which crops they have identified as a must for eating organic based on current pesticide use.
Don’t forget about essential fatty acids
Essential fatty acids are another important tool to help reduce and resolve inflammation. Foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids can shift the balance away from processes that spark the creation of inflammatory cytokines and instead help to quiet and resolve this process. Salmon, sardines, mackerel, grass fed beef, flax and chia seeds are all good examples of foods containing Omega
Boost vitamin D levels
Vitamin D has been shown to play a crucial role in proper immune function and patients often come in with grossly low levels. While there is some Vitamin D available in fatty fish, egg yolk and beef liver, I recommend getting out in the sun and taking a good quality supplement of in the form of D3.
Invest in a good quality water filter
Water can be major sources of industrial chemicals, heavy metals, toxins and even microbes. By limiting exposure to such contaminants you will be safeguarding your body and health.