(And Foods that Should Be Avoided)
Those who have recently been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition (or those who currently have one) are probably wondering how or why they ended up in this situation. These conditions can happen to just about anybody regardless of their health or medical background. Additionally, there appears to be no official cause of them, so how will anyone be able to understand what they did wrong in order to change their habits? In truth, there are various pathways that can lead to a potential autoimmune disease, and depending on the type of condition that one gets, determines exactly what could’ve gone wrong. In general, most autoimmune diseases are triggered by a combination of different things from environmental factors, nutritional deficiencies, and the presence of bacterial or viral infection. So, what leads to all of these factors in the first place? Diet! While that answer may be surprising, it makes a lot of sense.
Many young individuals are under the impression that they can eat whatever they want without any health consequences. However, while they initially may not experience any outward symptoms, they may be unaware that they have food intolerances leading to the onset of leaky gut. This in turn will result in the development of autoimmune symptoms. According to the National Library of Medicine, “there is a lot of evidence that gluten or gliadin can induce autoimmune diseases”¹. Along with these common intolerances, there is a plethora of evidence that suggests there is a connection between leaky gut and autoimmunity. At LifeWorks Wellness Center, many autoimmune patients who receive allergy testing are surprised to learn what kind of foods and/or substances that their body is sensitive to. Furthermore, they’re even more appalled to learn that these intolerances have caused inflammation and bacterial infection in their body. Hence, why dietary changes is an essential part of our treatment program for autoimmune conditions. Listed below are a few of the diets we recommend to autoimmune patients along with foods we encourage them to avoid.
Around 2.6 million years ago, humans were not provided the convenient tools (such as grocery stores) to find their sources of food. Instead, they had to hunt and gather their ingredients using the natural resources that were available during the Paleolithic era. Back then, all meat was freshly caught and cooked while all vegetation and fruits were naturally grown from the ground without the addition of any extra chemicals or pesticides to keep them preserved. The purpose of the paleo diet is to revert back to how our human ancestors used to eat. This is because the human body was designed to consume all natural foods rather than adapting to the new modern diet with added chemicals and evolved farming practices. Paleo foods include all natural and all organic ingredients such as lean meats, poultry, leafy greens, fruits, fish (especially those rich in omega 3 fatty acids), oils, nuts and seeds. LifeWorks highly recommends this diet for autoimmune patients because of its anti-inflammatory properties by removing artificial sugars, chemically treated dairy products and legumes. Furthermore, Everyday Health suggests that some case studies have found that paleo offered some benefits to autoimmune patients such as weight loss, energy boosts and facilitated the management of certain diseases such as Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, Psoriasis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis². A LifeWorks practitioner will normally combine the diet with a series of intravenous therapies, ozone treatments, peptides and supplement regimens in order for the patient to be fully relieved from their autoimmune condition.
While the Paleo Diet is commonly recommended for autoimmune patients, certain aspects of an autoimmune condition will lead a LifeWorks practitioner to suggest the Ketogenic Diet instead. The Ketogenic Diet (or Keto for short) is a low carb, high fat diet that benefits those who struggle with diabetes, obesity, cancer, neurological disorders, and epilepsy. The diet forces people to reduce their carbohydrate intake so that the body can use the healthy fats to burn as fuel instead. Furthermore, when the fat is broken down, it is transformed into ketones in the liver to send through the bloodstream where other muscles, tissues or organs can use it as fuel. Individuals that are on this diet are limited to 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. For those with autoimmunity, keto will help reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune response. Additionally, it may help to improve glutathione levels to naturally detoxify the body from bacteria. Those who suffer from certain thyroid autoimmune conditions, type 1 diabetes, or multiple sclerosis may notice some interesting health benefits while on the keto diet.
Foods That Autoimmune Patients Should Avoid
Sometimes, autoimmune diseases start from a miniscule infection brought on by foods that we may be sensitive to. For example, one may not be aware that they have a gluten allergy until they begin to experience chronic abdominal pain within their gut due to built-up inflammation from consumed wheat products. For some patients, sometimes eliminating certain foods from their overall diet may be the answer to relieving their symptoms. After all, autoimmune diseases share one thing in common and that is the presence of systemic inflammation in the body. Furthermore, limiting certain foods will lower the amount of bad gut bacteria and halt it from disrupting the intestinal lining. Foods that autoimmune disease patients should avoid are:
- Red/Dark Meats
- Fried/Greasy Foods
- Dairy Products
- Gluten Products
- Sugary Sweets
- Processed Oils
- Nightshade Vegetables
Know the Diet that is Right For You
At LifeWorks Wellness Center, we specialize in providing specific programs for each patient in order to best help them and their needs. Prior to following any of these diet plans, it’s best for patients to seek advice from a LifeWorks practitioner to discuss any allergies or other conditions that they may have. With this information, a physician will be able to advise the patient on which diet will best assist them during their treatment program. Additionally, for those who may be advised to follow keto, LifeWorks offers a Ketogenic Consultation to help patients fully understand the diet’s guidelines.
If you or someone that you know is suffering from an autoimmune condition or other chronic illnesses, please call to schedule an appointment with one of our practitioners at 727-466-6789.