Top 5 Diet Changes for Autoimmunity
- Eat more dark leafy green vegetables:
These veggies are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients that protect cells and DNA from damage. They are rich in fiber, folate, carotenoids, vitamins C and K, iron and calcium. They help support the immune system and reduce inflammation throughout the body. Try adding more arugula, watercress, spinach and dark lettuces to your meals.
- Eliminate sugar, gluten and dairy:
Of all foods and food additives, our patients see the greatest improvement in their symptoms when they remove sugar, gluten and dairy from the diet. These are difficult to digest and can cause inflammation, especially within the gut. And since 80 percent of the immune system is found in your gut, it is best to remove these ingredients completely for a period of time and see how you feel.
- Eat high omega-3, low-mercury fish 2 to 3 times a week:
Many autoimmune conditions are characterized by high levels of inflammatory substances known as cytokines. Eating more omega-3 fatty acids from fish (like wild Alaskan salmon and sardines) can help regulate these cytokines and reduce inflammation.
- Drink bone broth:
Bone broth has been used in cultures around the world for centuries, and now science is uncovering the myriad of benefits. It is rich in collagen (the main component of connective tissue), gelatin (which is anti-inflammatory and helps protect the gut lining from harmful microbes), glutamine (which protects against and can help reverse leaky gut – a key factor in the development of autoimmune disease), proline rich peptides (needed for proper collagen structure) and several vitamins and minerals. Use in soups, stews, or simply have a cup at the end of the evening as you would with tea.
- Add turmeric and black pepper to your cooking:
Ample research shows the potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of turmeric. Specifically, curcumin is the constituent in turmeric that provides its deep yellow color and medicinal qualities. Curcumin inhibits inflammatory cytokines. We recommend you use turmeric as it has been used traditionally – in cooking! Pair turmeric with black pepper and a source of fat, such as ghee or coconut oil, to enhance absorption and medicinal benefits.