As we know, Immunity plays a vital role in protecting your body against any harmful viruses or bacteria. But what if your immunity starts backfiring?. Autoimmune diseases are diseases in which the body’s immune system mistakenly starts attacking the healthy cells. Normally, the immune system protects the body from any harmful virus or bacteria. When it detects these outsiders, it sends out an army of fighter cells to attack them. Usually, the immune system can clearly tell difference between foreign and own cells.
In Autoimmune diseases, the immune system mistakes some parts of your body such as joints and skin As foreign. It releases some proteins called autoantibodies. These proteins attack healthy body cells. This causes damage to our organs and results in serious health issues.
Some of the autoimmune diseases are Type 1 diabetes, Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis, Multiple sclerosis, Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Inflammatory bowel disease, Addison’s disease. Also, some autoimmune diseases target only one organ. For example, Type 1 Diabetes damage the pancreas. And on the other hand, some autoimmune diseases affect the whole body. For example, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), affects the whole body. Different autoimmune diseases have different symptoms and effects.
Diet in helping curing Autoimmune diseases.
But We can always take some steps in order to protect ourselves from Autoimmune diseases. Diet plays a vital role in building a shield around us. If you have any Autoimmune disease, there is a way to cure them. Usually, a diet that is planned in a way that can help in curing autoimmune diseases is known as the Autoimmune Protocol diet (AIP). This type of diet may help you in curing autoimmune diseases like autoimmune diseases, Multiple sclerosis, Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and lupus.
“In general, most autoimmune diseases show a response to some changes in diet, whether [the disease is] Rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s, Celiac, or Crohn’s,” says Sonya Angelone, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a nutritionist in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area. So, here are some types of diet plans or diet changes you can adapt in order to cure autoimmune diseases.
Autoimmune Protocol Diet (AIP)
Autoimmune Protocol Diet is also known as Paleo autoimmune protocol diet. This is because the AIP diet is an extreme version of the Paleo diet. The paleo diet is designed to resemble what human hunter-gatherer ancestors ate thousands of years ago. This diet basically restricts you from eating food include grains, legumes, dairy, processed foods, refined sugars, industrial seed oils, eggs, nuts, seeds, nightshade vegetables, gum, alternative sweeteners, emulsifiers, and food thickeners, says Romano.
Basically, AIP focuses in eliminating food items that causes inflammation in your body and then slowly add backs them in.
“We don’t have a reliable marker or test [for which foods are best], so we have to work with the patient, starting with the cleanest diet and slowly adding things back,” says Zhaoping Li, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Human Nutrition at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine of elimination diets in general. “Everyone is different. We have to live and learn.”
There is no particular approach through which you will cut food out. But as this diet is recommended for people who are already suffering from some autoimmune disease, one must concern with their doctors before implementing it. Cutting out food suddenly might result in some kind of nutritional deficiency. So, diet may suit the person or may not. It totally depends on how your body and disease react to your diet plan.
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As the name, suggests, an Anti-inflammatory diet reduces inflammation in the body. This diet is much similar to the Mediterranean diet. This diet promotes consumption of vegetables and olive oil and moderate consumption of protein and thought to confer health benefits. As we know, fruits and vegetables are a great source of anti-oxidants. An anti-inflammatory diet lowers the risk of chronic diseases and expands lifespan. It is said to be best to cure rheumatoid arthritis. An anti-inflammatory diet encourages the focus on the consumption of foods like fish, olive oil, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
Basically, this diet means consuming food in its natural form more. Doctors say that homemade food is even better because you know all the ingredients. Even some doctors recommend eliminating dairy food items from diet and add them slowly later on. “I would recommend limiting dairy to start. It can be added in later on,” says Dr. Li.
This is because patients with autoimmune diseases may react to lactose. Lactose is a kind of sugar in dairy products. Scientists say that inflammation is a very vital reason behind many health disorders in our bodies. An anti-inflammatory diet may, therefore, help improve the health of a person with metabolic syndrome.
As the name says, a Plant-based diet is a diet that includes plant-based products only. For example, Fruits and Vegetables. A plant-based diet is a rich source of anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants help in reducing inflammation in the body. Inflammation is the cause of many chronic diseases. Hence, a plant-based diet can help people with autoimmune diseases to reduce inflammation in the body and it may result in curing the disease.
Also, both AIP and anti-inflammatory diets also focus majorly on fruits and vegetables. But here is a twist. As we say, vegetables and fruits can give you positive results if consumed in natural form or with minimal cooking. If you will cook them intensively, it may result in washing off their nutrients. But in the case of autoimmune diseases, less cooked vegetables may provoke the immune system, which in its basic duty. But as autoimmune diseases are caused by the immune system only, then this will make the immune system more reactive and aggressive.
“Large molecules can provoke the immune system, but when you’re cooking you’re breaking the molecules down,” explains Dr. Li.
Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage, contain the antioxidant compound known as glutathione. “This compound has an important role in regulating immunity and can have an impact on the effects of an autoimmune disease,” Bannan says, while reffering to a study which was conducted in 2009.
But there is a catch here. Many vegetables contain a group of substances known as alkaloids. A study was conducted on Mice with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). This study stated that alkaloids in potatoes increased intestinal inflammation. Hence, vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and potatoes which contain alkaloids should be removed from the diet temporarily.
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Gluten free diet.
Gluten is a kind of protein. It is present in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten damages the small intestine in our body which results in an autoimmune health condition, Celiac disease. “Gluten is [another] large molecule that can provoke an immune response,” says Dr. Li.
One can cure Celiac disease by avoiding gluten. It is not just present in bread but many other regularly consumed food items like pasta, soups, sauces, salad dressing, and a range of other products. Also, people who have Celiac disease, majorly suffer from other autoimmune diseases too. So, avoiding gluten can benefit in curing other diseases too.
“I have found that more people [in addition to those with celiac disease do well without gluten,” says Angelone.
Autoimmune diseases can be cured by just making some changes in your diet. Diet plays a very vital role in making your body healthy. But in the case of autoimmune diseases, not all food ingredients you consider healthy will help. This is because here we are fighting against our own army, i.e. our immune system. So, it is very important to know what is going to benefit and harm you if you are in a battleground with any autoimmune diseases. Make sure you also consult your doctor before following any diet plan strictly. Stay safe and Stay healthy.