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Lupus is a complex and poorly understood autoimmune disease, where the healthy organs and tissues of the body are attacked by the immune system as they are mistaken to be a kind of danger for the body. The immune system produces proteins known as antibodies which protect the body from viruses and bacteria and other harmful elements. When the immune system starts functioning erratically it is unable to discriminate between the healthy tissues of the body and the antibodies and directs the antibodies to attack the healthy tissues.
Achy joints, fever, skin rashes and lesions, ulcers, seizures, abnormal blood clotting and a host of other symptoms are noticed in persons suffering from this disorder. The person suffering from lupus begins to lose or gain weight, bruises easily and becomes prone to ulcers in the mouth and the nose. Excessive fatigue, hair loss and dry eyes are some other symptoms. If this particular condition is left untreated it can result in permanent damage to the vital organs of the body including the kidneys, heart and the lungs.
This disease occurs between the ages of fifteen to forty-five years and women are more prone to it than men. The specific cause is not yet known but it is deduced that genetic factors, hormonal imbalance, exposure to toxic chemicals, extreme stress, smoking and certain medications and antibiotics can contribute to lupus.
There is no one established diet for lupus. However, lupus is a systemic disease, so maintaining good nutritional habits will help your body remain as healthy as possible. A nutritious well-balanced meal, rich in nutrients, is found to be beneficial in treating lupus, as it improves the health of the immune system and strengthens it. Here’s what you need to know about lupus, diet, and nutrition to gain these important benefits. These diet tips can be helpful for people living with lupus:


Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Lupus is an inflammatory disease. As internal and external inflammation is one of the major discomfitures caused by lupus, anti-inflammatory foods are highly beneficial in alleviating the discomfiture. The food choices you make can significantly affect the process of inflammation. Is there a specific anti-inflammatory diet for lupus? No. There is no diet that can replace the need for medications. However, choosing anti-inflammatory foods can help to decrease inflammation and pain while avoiding pro-inflammatory foods can prevent aggravation.
Foods with possible anti-inflammatory properties include fruits and vegetables, which are rich in substances called antioxidants. In addition, foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, nuts, ground flaxseed, canola oil, and olive oil may also help fight inflammation. Whole grain breads, healthy lean meats and oily fish are found to be naturally endowed with anti-inflammatory properties.

Limit Saturated and Trans Fats

Everyone’s goal should be to eat a diet that’s low in saturated and trans fats. However, this is especially true for people with lupus. Both saturated and trans-fats have been shown to have pro-inflammatory effects, which is a major contributor to joint pain. Additionally, red meat may trigger the immune system and exacerbate symptoms.  Saturated fats can raise cholesterol levels and may contribute to inflammation. Some examples of saturated fats are high fat dairy foods (whole milk, half and half, cheeses, butter, and ice cream), bacon, sour cream, coconut, fried foods, commercial baked goods, creamed vegetables/soups/sauce, sausages, Italian meats, red meat, animal fat, and processed meat products. Red meats not only include beef, but also lamb and pork.  Foods that are high in trans-fats include margarine and shortening, packaged foods such as cake mixes, Bisquick, and soups, as well as fast foods items including fries, chicken, and other fried foods.

Anti-Autoimmune Diet

Patients with lupus do better if they follow an 'anti-autoimmune diet,' which means consuming whole foods, rather than processed foods. This means lamb, chicken, or turkey; fish with low mercury content; hormone-free eggs; organic vegetables and fresh fruits; whole grains from gluten-free sources; nuts and seeds; olive, sesame, and flaxseed oils. It also means avoiding highly processed foods, including preserved bread products, cereals and snacks, preserved meats, and other foods that are often full of chemicals, preservatives, and additives. On the whole, a nutritionally well-balanced diet is important for strengthening the auto immune system of the body.

Antioxidant Diet

Diets high in antioxidants can help with inflammation associated with lupus. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, especially colorful ones, as they are high in antioxidants. Brightly colored fruits contain a variety of antioxidants and phenols which play an important role in protecting the body from inflammation. Ideally, people who suffer from this autoimmune disorder should eat at least two brightly colored fruits every day to control the symptoms of this disorder.
Blood disorders like anemia is extremely common among patients suffering from lupus. For this very reason, individuals suffering from lupus are generally advised by their doctors to increase the intake of green leafy vegetables like collards, kale, turnip greens and spinach. Eating green leafy vegetables regularly can help to restore blood iron levels and also to combat the negative symptoms of lupus like extreme fatigue.

Immunity-Boosting Foods

Foods that strengthen the immune system are specifically required to treat lupus, as this disease severely damages the immune system. Yogurt, oats, barley, garlic, fish, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, green tea, and chicken soup can be included in the daily diet of persons suffering from lupus, as these foods have powerful immunity boosting properties.

Whole Grains

Eating a variety of whole grains is one of the best natural ways to fight inflammation due to lupus disease. The systemic attack launched by the immune system on the healthy cells, tissues and organs of the body can result in chronic inflammation. Incorporate plenty of whole grains like brown and wild rice, oats, barley, rye, corn, millet, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta,and quinona into your daily diet to beat lupus. Grains are a good source of fiber and energy, foliate, B6, B2, selenium, and zinc, and are naturally low in fat.

Calcium and Vitamin D Rich Foods

Good nutrition is important for strong bones and muscles. For people with lupus, bone health is a particular concern. That’s because medications used to treat it can increase the risk for osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become less dense and break easily. To combat this effect, eat foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D—nutrients that strengthen bones. Low-fat yogurt, cheeses and milk are high in calcium and Vitamin D, which can make your bones stronger. However, lupus patients should target only low fat dairy products instead of consuming full fat dairy products.  If you do not or cannot consume milk, choose lactose-free milk, soy milk, and almond milk that are fortified with calcium and Vitamin D. Aim for three or more servings a day. Dark green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli are another source of calcium. If you don’t get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet, your doctor will probably recommend a calcium supplement.

Skip the Salt

A low-sodium diet can help reduce fluid retention and lower blood pressure, which can be elevated with corticosteroid use. You'll need to cut back, especially if you have lupus kidney disease or high blood pressure. Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure and increase your risk for heart disease. Lupus already puts you at higher risk for developing heart disease. This is because table salt helps the body in retaining unhealthy fluids which result in swelling in different parts of the body.  Such a development adds to the other complications present in the body due to lupus, and hence, should be prevented.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids contain natural anti-inflammatory substances and may help reduce swelling and inflammation associated with systemic lupus.  Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids, these essential fatty acids may also boost mood and improve cardiovascular health. That’s good news for people with lupus, who face a much higher risk for heart disease than the general population.  Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines, mackerel, bluefish, herring, mullet, tuna, halibut, lake trout, rainbow trout, ground flaxseed, walnuts, pecans, canola oil, walnut oil, and flaxseed oil, and are part of a heart-healthy meal plan.

Control the Protein

Although protein is an important part of any diet, too much protein can be a problem, especially if you have lupus-related kidney disease. Because massive protein will elevate proteinuria, and increase the burden of kidneys, it is not beneficial to control the illness condition. Research has shown that a diet too high in protein can contribute to kidney damagePatients can take some high-quality protein, such as, milk, egg white, lean meat, etc. Ask your doctor about how much protein you should be including in your diet.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

Moderate use of alcohol is usually not a problem for people with lupus, but alcohol can lower the effectiveness of some medications you take to control your condition, cause new health problems, and/or can make existing problems worse. Drinking while taking NSAID drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin) or naproxen (Naprosyn), for example, could increase your risk of stomach bleeding or ulcers. Mixing it with drugs (even Tylenol) can be a danger to your health. Alcohol can also reduce the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin) and methotrexate.

Natural Fitness Tips
Natural Fitness Tips

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