There is no established diet for lupus. Just like any other condition, people with lupus should eat a healthy diet that includes fresh vegetables, fruits, and proteins. But, not every food is good, and it's vital for patients to understand which food is good and which food is bad.
Here is a guide chock full of foods that lupus patients should eat, and what lupus patients should avoid.
1. Fatty fish is good, but not red meat.
Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are proven to be effective against heart disease and inflammation in the body. Since lupus has an increased risk of heart disease, consumption of fatty fish is a really good idea. Red meat, however, should be avoided at all costs. Not only does it contain unhealthy, saturated fats, it can also increase the likelihood of heart disease.
2. Incorporate calcium-rich foods to your diet.
Steroids is a common treatment for steroids, which have side effects that include osteoporosis.Steroid-induced osteoporosis will make you more vulnerable to fractures. It is essential to increase your calcium and vitamin D intake. So, try to include low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, and vegetables that are dark green.
If you feel that diet alone is not enough to provide you with the necessary amount of vitamin D and calcium, you can always use vitamin D and calcium supplements.
3. Reduce the intake of saturated fats.
Saturated fats make you gain weight, and if you are taking steroids, this weight gain gets worse. Why? Steroids tend to increase your appetite, which will make you want to eat more throughout the day.
4. Avoid alfalfa whenever you can.
Alfalfa sprouts contain an amino acid called L-canavanine that causes flare-ups of lupus by activating the immune system. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, doctors have noticed changes in blood tests for patients who eat alfalfa sprouts. And, patients also experience an increase in lupus symptoms.
5. Maintain a food diary.
Write everything you eat throughout the day in your food diary and later go through the list, and eliminate the foods that caused flare-ups of the disease. This way, you can avoid eating these foods and reduce future flare-ups.
6. Control your alcohol consumption.
Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol is not good for your health, especially if you have lupus. Alcohol can interact with the drugs given for the disease. For example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are given to reduce pain, cause stomach ulcers and bleeding. If you consume alcohol while taking NSAIDs, the risk of having side effects increases and will put you in more pain.
7. Avoid salt.
Salt is sodium chloride, which helps the body retain water and increases your blood pressure, creating another associated risk of developing heart disease. Since lupus already increases your risk of heart disease, you definitely do not want to double that risk. Increase the flavor of your food with garlic, pepper, lemon, and other spices. Try to get used to a salt-free diet.