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The Simplicity of the Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Lupus

Posted on February 28, 2017

by Cody Kennedy

Many people with lupus want to know how to eat better but are confused by the volume of nutritional advice out there. As lupus has a large component of inflammation, following an anti-inflammatory diet is the best option. People generally underestimate how powerful a good diet can be.

Following this regime for 1-3 months will help reduce inflammation and combat fatigue.

Think of each meal as an opportunity to nourish and nurture your body.

Whenever possible opt for food in its most natural state possible, which has been minimally processed. Try to stay away from packaged food and cook for yourself as much as you can. This also ensures you are minimising your intake of genetically modified foods.

Foods to eat (and avoid) for those living with lupus nephritis

If money permits, it is always better to go organic as this guarantees your food isn’t genetically modified.

Foods recommended are:

  • Nuts – if you can tolerate them
  • Seeds
  • Grass-fed meat (grass-fed meat has a balanced ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, making it a healthier option)
  • Free range chicken – organic if possible
  • Livers and kidneys – only organic
  • Vegetables of all kinds
  • Fruits
  • Healthy fats – olive oil, avocado, flaxseed oil, flaxseeds
  • Ghee (clarified butter)
  • Nutritive sugars - honey and maple syrup in small amounts
  • Eggs – free range
  • Fresh herbs
  • Fermented foods – sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha
  • Green leafy vegetables – spinach, kale, bok choy, broccoli and dark green cabbage. Adding a squeeze of citrus to these vegetables turns the iron content into one our bodies can absorb more easily, a great tip if you are anaemic.
  • Oily fish – wild salmon, not farmed. Trout, kippers, mackerel, sardines

Foods to avoid are:

  • Alcohol
  • Soy sauce, tofu, tempeh, and soy
  • All processed packaged foods
  • Grains such as wheat, barley, rye, oats, rice, quinoa, couscous, semolina, bulgar, and bran
  • Sugar
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Sweeteners such as stevia, rice malt syrup, and molasses
  • Dairy
  • Beans and legumes – including peanuts, kidney beans and chickpeas
  • Fizzy drinks sparking mineral water is okay
  • Cooking oils such as sunflower, peanut, safflower, canola, vegetable oil
  • Margarine

Avoiding all types of grains for a few months is a good option. Even gluten-free grains can cause inflammation and are hard to digest for some people.

Legumes should also be avoided; they contain a protein called lectin. Lectin can affect the gut and contribute to a lack of absorption of other nutrients.

Processed foods contain high levels of salt, sugar, artificial sugars, and preservatives, all of which will create inflammation. They are not very nutrient-dense, meaning they have a low nutritional content and are often higher in calories.

Sugar makes the blood sugar levels rise and drop rapidly, this can mean we suffer from swings in energy levels, and it can contribute to brain fog. It can also contribute to inflammation.

What should be on my plate each day?
For each meal of the day, it is vital to include a source of protein. This is of particular importance earlier in the day. Protein helps the body to maintain healthy blood glucose levels and prevents those swings in energy and brain fog. Good protein sources are eggs, fish, meat, and nuts.

As a general guide, each portion of meat you consume should be the same size and thickness as the palm of your hand.

You want to include vegetables at every meal.

Always try to create a colorful rainbow on your plate; go for as many different varieties of vegetables as you can. They all contain different antioxidants which will benefit your health.

Our final tip
Stick to the 80/20 rule.

Be good 80 percent of the time and don’t beat yourself up for being bad 20 percent of the time!

Cody Kennedy is a naturopath and nutritionist with over 10 years experience in the natural therapies industry. Her focus is on autoimmune diseases and in particular lupus. For more information please go to www.beatlupusnaturally.com or email cody@ckhealth.com.au.

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