Since those suffering from lupus have varying conditions, it’s difficult to establish a “one size fits all” diet for this disease. However, there are some general guidelines that those with lupus can apply to their diets. Generally, doctors recommend a diet composed of about 50% carbohydrates, 15% protein, and 30% fat.
The Importance of Diet for Those With Lupus:
Diet in general, plays a much bigger role in our health than we like to give it credit for. This is especially true for people with lupus. Women with lupus between the ages of 35 and 44 are 50 times more likely to experience a heart attack than the normal population.
Many lupus patients are prescribed steroid medications such as prednisolone, dexamethasone and prednisone. Unfortunately, these medications can increase your cholesterol, triglyceride and blood sugar levels. For this reason, it’s important that your diet does not accelerate these symptoms.
Here are some dietary no nos to keep your lupus in check:
Three substances in garlic – allicin, ajoene and thiosulfinates may be the reason why garlic is great for giving your immune system a boost. Unfortunately, this is not good news for those with lupus and other autoimmune diseases because these people have overactive immune systems. Avoid cooking with garlic and adding garlic to food.
Alfalfa sprouts contain an amino acid called L-canavanine that increases inflammation in people with lupus by stimulating their immune systems.
Foods High in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium
Avoid fried foods, beef, and other foods high in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium to avoid increasing your risk of chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease.
Combining alcohol with corticosteroids, Tylenol, warfarin and other lupus medications can be very harmful to your liver and stomach. If you are taking methotrexate, consuming alcohol is never allowed.
Here’s what you can add to your diet to help your lupus:
Carbohydrates are essential to the lupus diet to give you energy. Make sure to read the nutrition facts on whole grains before purchasing them and opt for gluten-free products.
Furthermore, avoid excessively consuming potatoes, though they have carbohydrates. Potatoes are nightshade vegetables and nightshade vegetables have been linked to osteoporosis. Sweet potatoes however, are fine.
Raw vegetables are low in sugar and calories and make great snacks. Avoid eating these foods with vegetable dips. However, if you refuse to eat raw vegetables on their own, opt for a lighter dip like hummus to avoid excessive fat and calories.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish, nuts and flaxseeds are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s might be able to mitigate inflammation, boost your mood and improve your cardiovascular health.
Vitamin D and Calcium Rich Foods
Calcium is important for maintaining bone health, especially in lupus patients with osteoporosis or osteopenia. You can get a good dose of calcium from almonds, broccoli, oranges, oysters and spinach among other foods. Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium. Ideally, allow your body to absorb vitamin D naturally, though you could take non GNC vitamin D liquid supplements as a substitute.
Finally, it’s important that you speak to your doctor for specific information regarding your nutritional concerns before any major dietary changes.