If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with lupus, you are already well aware of the baffling symptoms and the pain most people go through with this terrible auto-immune disease. Although the symptoms vary widely from person to person and can range from mild to life-threatening, one thing most people would agree on is that a person’s diet can really affect the symptoms and flare-ups.
Although the exact reasons as to why some things people consume tend to make their symptoms worse is not fully understood, but the fact remains that eating or not eating certain type’s foods, and even some supplements, can make lupus symptoms worse or better.
Check out our list of foods that you should cut out of your diet or start including in your diet if you suffer from lupus and see if these simple changes can give you the relief you are looking for.
The Lupus Diet – Foods That Need to Go
1. Red Meat
This is perhaps the biggest no-no on the lupus diet. Red meat causes inflammation in the body, something you, as a lupus sufferer, already have too much of. Many patients with lupus find that simply removing red meat from their diet gives them much needed relief from symptoms such as joint pain within a matter of days.
2. Artificial Sweeteners
All types of artificial sweeteners are made up of a variety of chemicals. Even persons who don’t have lupus have health problems or negative reactions to these chemicals, so imagine what they are doing to you! In fact, several research studies show that there is a link between artificial sweeteners and the development of lupus and that these completely unnatural sweeteners only make the symptoms of lupus worse. Avoid these like the plague.
3. Fast Foods and Junk Foods
These foods contain everything you want to avoid to begin with; excessive salt, sugar, and trans-fats. If you really must hit up the drive through, order a salad with a vinegar and oil-based dressing on the side.
You already read that diet sodas are a big no-no, well, regular sodas are as well. In fact, sugar in general is something you need to avoid as much as you possibly can. Sugar hides in many innocent looking foods such as ketchup, barbeque sauce, even canned vegetables, so read labels carefully. Unfortunately this means you will also need to cut out goodies such as cakes, cookies, candy, and pie, but try not to see this as a punishment, but rather that you are rewarding yourself with a healthy diet and a healthy life.
5. Refined Carbohydrates
Eating refined carbs such as rice, white bread, pasta, and other types of snack foods all cause problems for those with lupus. They are processed much like sugar in the body and cause water retention, which often leads to worse symptoms.
Many people enjoy alfalfa based green smoothies, sprouts, or have become accustomed to taking alfalfa supplements as this herb is super nutritious and has many vital nutrients, however, alfalfa is a big DON’T when you have lupus. This herb contains an amino acid (L-canavanine) which send the immune system into super hyped-up overdrive, which is good for other people, but not for those who suffer from lupus. Alfalfa often gives lupus patients extreme fatigue and muscle pain, and doctors note that it causes extreme variations in their blood test results.
7. Say No to Nightshade Veggies
Although there are no studies to prove a connection, but many people with lupus say that nightshade vegetables, including tomatoes, white potatoes, sweet peppers, eggplant, and hot peppers, only make their symptoms flare up, sometimes out of control when they consume large quantities or eat these veggies a few times per week. If you suspect these otherwise healthy veggies are causing you to have flare ups, keep a food diary and take a note of how you feel a few hours after eating certain nightshade vegetables.
8. Herbal Supplements
Although you might read about how certain herbs or supplements help to control lupus symptoms, there have been no studies and no hard evidence that any of them work at all. If you are taking prescription drugs or steroids for your lupus symptoms, some of these supplements can interact or interfere with your med’s. Always consult your doctor before you begin any herbal remedy or supplement, no matter how harmless it might seem.