The Lupus Diet

November 24, 2016

A large body of research shows that a healthy, unprocessed diet is very important for managing autoimmune disorder symptoms, including those caused by lupus, because it helps control inflammation stemming from poor gut health.

The majority of your immune system is actually located in inside your gastrointestinal tract, which is also known as the microbiome, and researchers believe that up to 90 percent of all diseases can be traced in some way back to dysfunction of the gut/microbiome. That’s why if you have lupus, focusing on a lupus diet treatment plan is a major step natural lupus treatment.

As the Lupus Foundation of America puts it, “The scarcity of lupus-specific diet and nutrition information remains a great frustration. But research has given us insight into foods and lifestyle choices that can help diminish the harmful effects of lupus. In particular, there are foods that can affect the body’s inflammatory response.”

A healing lupus diet can help improve gut health in those with lupus by preventing allergies, reducing deficiencies and slowing down free radical damage. In fact, due to how autoimmune disorders develop, a low-processed lupus diet high in antioxidants is usually key for managing any autoimmune-related symptoms, including those due to arthritis, thyroid disorders, etc., which often overlap with lupus symptoms.

Nutrients that are important for managing lupus, such as fiber and antioxidants, seem to have the most beneficial effects when consumed from real food rather than from supplements.  What type of foods are included in a lupus diet? These include healthy fats, plenty of fresh veggies and fruits, and probiotic foods. Considering the fact that lupus can increase your risk for other chronic health problems (for example, women with lupus have a five- to tenfold higher risk for heart disease than the general population!), a nutrient-rich lupus diet can have far-reaching protective effects.

What Is Lupus?

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks the body’s own healthy tissue and organs. Depending on the specific patient, lupus can cause high levels of persistent inflammation that can negatively affect various parts of the body. Lupus patients often experience tissue damage that affects the heart, joints, brain, kidneys, lungs and endocrine glands (such as the adrenals and thyroid gland). Although it’s not completely known why this happens, lupus risk factors are believed to include:

Genetic susceptibility, having a family history of lupus or other autoimmune disease symptoms

Being a woman (90 percent of all lupus patients are women)

Being between the ages of 15–45, women in this age range are by far the most likely to develop lupus

Being of African-American, Asian or Native American decent, these ethnicities develop lupus two to three times more often than caucasians

Eating a poor diet and having nutrient deficiencies

Leaky gut syndrome

Food allergies and sensitivities

Toxicity exposure

Symptoms of lupus commonly include weakness or fatigue, headaches, joint pain, trouble sleeping, digestive issues, and skin rashes. Unfortunately, because lupus can sometimes be hard to diagnose or manage, patients often also suffer from secondary emotional symptoms related to stress, such as anxiety, depression, memory loss and insomnia. (3)

Conventional lupus treatment usually involves a combination of medications used to control symptoms, along with lifestyle changes — like dietary improvements and appropriate exercise. It’s not uncommon for lupus patients to be prescribed numerous daily medications, including corticosteroid drugs, NSAID pain relievers, thyroid medications and even synthetic hormone replacement drugs. Even when taking these drugs, it’s still considered essential to eat an anti-inflammatory lupus diet in order to manage the root causes of lupus, along with reducing its symptoms.

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