Healthy Living

The Best Diet for Lupus

The Best Diet for Lupus

Key Takeaways

  • Avoid inflammatory foods.
  • Fresher the food the better.
  • Seek out for natural inflammatory spices such as turmeric and ginger.

Do you want to know the best diet for lupus? Do you want to know which foods help lupus sufferers?

Lupus is an inflammatory disease. Redness, pain, swelling and loss of movement are the signs of inflammation.

No food causes lupus nor can it cure, but there are certain foods that cause inflammation (for e.g. sugar) and there are others that prevent inflammation! Such anti-inflammatory foods, no doubt check the severity of Lupus. They are a better option than medicines available at pharmacy in controlling the inflammation.

Nutrition is important to treat lupus. Patients should consume a well balanced healthy diet that includes whole grains, vegetables and fruits with moderate amount of poultry, meat and fish.

Here’s a list of 9 such foods:

1. Fruits:

Berries:

Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries fight inflammation. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants are naturally occurring chemical compounds that fight inflammation and prevent many deadly diseases such as cancer. Dark colored fruits and vegetables are especially high in antioxidants.

  • Strawberry consumers have low C reactive protein/ an inflammatory marker in blood.
  • Red raspberries prevent Arthritis/ inflammation of joints.
  • Blueberries have the most powerful anti-inflammatory agent called quercetin.
  • Blueberries are sweet but low in calories which make them a perfect snack.

Pineapple:

  • Pineapples have Bromelain, an antioxidant which regulates the immune responses which cause inflammation.

 

Tart Cherries:

  • Tart cherries are one of the highest inflammation fighting foods. A cup of tart cherry juice a day has been shown to reduce upto 50% of inflammation.

 

2. Green Leafy Vegetables:

Green leafy vegetables are high in vitamin E which fights pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines. Spinach and kale are rich sources of vitamin E.

Spinach: Nutrients in spinach that was exposed to continuous light are higher than spinach which was kept in dark.

Kale: Kale provides additional nutritional benefits such as cholesterol lowering properties when cooked by steam.

Other rich sources of vitamin E are cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy and celery.

Broccoli: Broccoli is an invaluable addition to the anti-inflammatory diet. To enjoy the best benefits of broccoli, cut them into florets and let it sit for sometime before steaming it for 5 minutes.

Bok choy: Being ranked among the nutritionally highest, it is one of the best anti-inflammatory foods. To make the best out of this consume at least one to one and half cup of bok choy at least once a week.

Celery: This incredibly low calorie vegetable is also available in the form of seeds, extract or ground up forms. It is great to be consumed in any way.

3. Beets:

These dark colored vegetables not only prevent inflammation but also correct the damage caused by inflammation. Magnesium is a mineral inversely linked to inflammation. Lower the Magnesium levels, higher the inflammatory process. Beets are rich sources of Magnesium.

 

4. Whole Grains:

A diet rich in whole grains in contrast to a diet composed of refined grains has proven to lower inflammation. A study found that those who consumed whole grains on a regular basis showed less C reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.

5. Nuts:

Nuts especially almonds and walnuts are rich sources of healthy fatty acids and minerals that fight inflammation. If you choose not to eat meat, opt for nuts and seeds. They make up for the healthy fatty acids and proteins present in meat. Walnuts when consumed with their skin is slightly bitter, but rich in health benefits.

6. Seeds:

Chia seeds: Chia seeds and flax seeds are some of the best fighters of inflammation.

Both healthy and unhealthy fatty acids should be in the right proportion for the body to function well. Chia seeds will help find the right balance.

Flax seeds: They have a rich source of antioxidants called Lignans. Lignans are known for their anti-aging and hormone balancing properties. You may add a tablespoon of ground flax seeds to your favorite smoothie.

7. Spices:

Turmeric: Curcumin is the anti-inflammatory component of turmeric. A study proved that turmeric has more potent inflammation fighting properties than some of the commonly prescribed drugs such as Aspirin/ Ibuprofen. A combination of coconut oil and turmeric has added benefits. Use it for seasoning along with some other spices such as mustard and cumin.

Ginger: Ginger supplements reduce inflammation in the intestine. Sprinkle some ginger powder over your favorite salad.

 

8. Oils:

Virgin coconut oil has some of the best inflammation fighting properties. It is also excellent for sauteing vegetables as it is heat stable.

Extra virgin olive oil is another oil which is great on fighting inflammation. It makes a major presence in Mediterranean salads.

 

9. Meat:

Fish: Oily fishes such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines are rich sources of Omega 3 fatty acids/ healthy fats. This makes them wonderful anti-inflammatory foods. 

Have 3 to 4 servings of oily fish a week. Be sure to have them in healthy ways: prefer baked/ boiled over fried/ dried.

Bone broth: It contains chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine which are sold as supplements to reduce inflammation. It also helps to recover the damage caused by inflammation in a leaky gut. Prepare your own broth, freeze it and use it for up to 3 months.

 

Why Do You Need to Take Special Care of Your Diet?

Good nutritional diet helps to maintain strong muscles and bones which is a major concern among people suffering from lupus as the medicines increase the risk of osteoporosis. The density of the bones decreases and they can break easily.

A rich diet helps to counter attack the bone damaging effects. It is also helpful to combat the side effects of drugs. For e.g., low sodium in the diet helps to retain the fluid and maintain low blood pressure. One of the major side effects of the treatment of lupus is nausea which can only be taken care by small frequent meals.

Lupus also causes weight loss, hence eating right to maintain weight is important. The medication causes an upset stomach, irritation and mouth sores. The doctor will assess and suggest few changes on diet and exercises.