The Role of Diet in Autoimmune Disease: Foods to Eat and Avoid

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Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Including foods that have anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms. These include fatty fish (such as salmon and sardines), walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, turmeric, ginger, and leafy green vegetables.

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids possess potent anti-inflammatory properties. Incorporate sources like fatty fish, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts into your diet to help reduce inflammation.

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Healthy Fats

Opt for healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, and coconut oil. These fats provide essential nutrients and can help reduce inflammation in the body.

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Probiotics

Probiotics promote a healthy gut microbiome, which is crucial for immune system regulation. Include fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi in your diet to support gut health.

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Fibre-Rich Foods

A diet rich in fibre can improve digestion and promote a healthy gut. Consume plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains like quinoa and brown rice.

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Gluten and Autoimmune Diseases

Some individuals with autoimmune diseases, such as celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, may benefit from avoiding gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley, and rye. Consult a doctor before making any major dietary changes.

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Nightshade Vegetables

Certain individuals with autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, may find relief by avoiding nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplants. These vegetables contain compounds that may contribute to inflammation in susceptible individuals.

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Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners

Excessive sugar consumption and artificial sweeteners can lead to inflammation and worsen autoimmune symptoms. Minimise or avoid processed foods, sugary beverages, and artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose.

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Processed and Refined Foods

Processed and refined foods often contain additives, preservatives, and unhealthy fats that can trigger inflammation. Aim to consume whole, unprocessed foods for good health.

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Nutrient-Dense Foods

Consume varieties of nutrient-dense foods to support overall health. Include lean proteins, colourful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats in your meals.

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Alcohol and Caffeine

Both alcohol and excessive caffeine intake can negatively impact immune function and contribute to inflammation. Limit your consumption of alcohol and caffeine-containing beverages.

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Dairy Products

Some individuals with autoimmune diseases may be sensitive to dairy products. Experiment with eliminating or reducing dairy consumption to assess its impact on your symptoms.

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Sodium Intake

High sodium intake can lead to water retention and worsen inflammation. Be mindful of your sodium intake and try to limit processed foods, which are often high in sodium.

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