Although dietary changes cannot cure autoimmune diseases, many people find small changes in their diet can help reduce the intensity or duration of flares. Try experimenting with a few dietary changes to determine if you notice any benefits or if it helps boost your existing treatments.
Ease Up On Dairy
Many dairy products can increase inflammation. It is okay to have a few servings of low-fat milk, cheese, or yogurt throughout the week. Since calcium is associated with helping autoimmune diseases, you want to ensure you have enough of the nutrient, without unnecessary sources of bad fats. Incorporate more leafy greens, which are good non-dairy sources of calcium. However, you should also consider alternatives to dairy products. For example, people who live a raw lifestyle use cashews to replace cream cheese in their desserts. By blending cashews into a paste, you can create your own cheesecakes. Try experimenting with different dairy alternatives and you may find you can replace a few servings of dairy each week.
Try Avoiding Nightshades
Some people with autoimmune diseases find their pain, inflammation, and fatigue increases after consuming nightshades. Consider going a week or two without consuming any member of the nightshade family, which includes potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers, among many other edible plants. Keep a diary of how you feel once these foods are eliminated from your diet. After you have eliminated nightshades for a week or two, slowly begin reintroducing them into your diet.
Make sure you are taking note of any difference in symptoms. Changes in symptoms include physical, mental, or emotional changes. If you notice a sharp difference in how you feel when these foods are eliminated from your diet, you should consider ways to keep them out. You will need to extensively read labels, because many products without obvious nightshades still contain them. For example, potato flour is often used as a binder and paprika is found as a flavoring agent in many dishes.
Increasing omega-3s in your diet is among the easiest and best ways to supplement any treatment plan. If you enjoy eating fish, try adding salmon or sardines to your diet at least twice per week. Although eating other types of fish, such as tilapia, is a healthy protein source, they do not contain the same levels of omega-3s as fattier fish.
Another good source of omega-3s are chia and flax seeds. Buy chia seeds and/or flax seeds, and simply add them to different foods. If you make smoothies in the morning, it is easy to add a spoonful to your blender. You can also sprinkle these seeds on salads or in soups for an extra boost of omega-3s. For a supercharged omega-3 dinner, try mixing together chia seeds, breadcrumbs, and crushed nuts, and using the mixture to coat your salmon before baking.
There are numerous herbs that may have pain-relieving or anti-inflammatory benefits. You may want to experiment with different herbs to determine if you notice any improvements. For example, green tea is used to treat many ailments and can help promote weight loss. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can be beneficial if you have an autoimmune disease which causes pain or stiffness of the muscles and/or joints.
Ginger is also a popular anti-inflammatory source. Since ginger is versatile, it can be infused into hot water to make tea or used to spice up your favorite dish. Make sure you have cleared any herbal treatments with your doctor first, because many herbs can interact with prescription and retail medications.
There is no cure for autoimmune diseases, but many people have found ways to manage their condition with a combination of standard treatments and dietary changes. Since dietary changes are easy to implement, there is no harm in experimenting.