Our immune systems exist to keep us happy, healthy, and safe. Unfortunately, as many Americans know, sometimes our systems become overzealous in their pursuit of unwanted invaders. When this occurs, immune systems may begin to attack the body itself, believing it to be a threat; this is known as autoimmune disease. The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) estimates that around 50 million Americans have some form of autoimmune disease. There are many steps we can take to reduce the effect of autoimmune; a holistic approach suggests that a healthy diet can help reduce the symptoms of autoimmune diseases; here, we list a few foods that those suffering from autoimmune diseases should avoid.
Red meat has many important nutrients, but it should be avoided if possible when you have an autoimmune disease. This is because red meat tends to be high in saturated fat, which can aggravate inflammation, a common autoimmune symptom. Furthermore, saturated fats can aggravate heart related disease, and a surplus makes it harder for your heart to pump, which can further exacerbate autoimmune symptoms.
Butter and margarine should be avoided for the same reasons as red meat. Their high quantities of saturated fats can cause problems for those with autoimmune diseases. Butter and margarine often contain trans fats as well, which can be even more problematic than their saturated cousins. Trans fats are particularly likely to create systemic inflammation, so they’re best avoided. Opt for a healthier fat like olive oil instead.
Refined carbohydrates can cause problems for those with autoimmune as well, especially those with Celiac, as gluten triggers the symptoms of that particular disease. Refined carbohydrates are found in many pastas, cereals, breads and snacks; they are not only high in gluten, but much lower in nutritional value than whole grains, often lacking fiber, which can help reduce gut inflammation. Constipation is also a common symptom of many autoimmune diseases, and fiber alleviates this as well. Stick with whole grains and starchy vegetables like potatoes for your carb needs, so you can get full nutritional value from what you eat.
The last group of foods is diverse, but important to mention; if you know you are allergic to certain foods, or that certain foods exacerbate your symptoms, it’s best to avoid them altogether. Common offenders are products containing lactose (primarily dairy products), certain food additives, wheat, corn, and soy. Consult with a team of medical professionals if these foods seem to be exacerbating your autoimmune reactions.
When eliminating foods from your diet to reduce the likeliness of autoimmune symptoms, it’s important to take a holistic approach. Our bodies need certain nutrients, and a dietary change often means you’ll have to compensate for the foods you’ve cut out. Get in touch with us at Imagine Wellness, the best clinic for functional medicine in San Antonio; we’ll not only help with your diet, we’ll give you a set of comprehensive changes to improve your life and manage your autoimmune disease while keeping your body, spirit and autonomy in mind.