I am a Lupus survivor. I refuse to be beaten by this autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammation and pain. In the past it has attacked my lungs, joints, skin, and cognitive functioning, but still I persist in the fight.
Now I have yet to put all of the symptoms of this disorder behind me, but I’m on my way. My initial turning point came when one of my doctors said, ‘There’s nothing more we can do for you other than provide steroidal support when you have flares [episodes of disease].” After the anger dissipated, I took the advice of a friend and got a second opinion.
This journey first led me to a naturopathic doctor who shaped my thinking about disease and my body’s ability to heal itself if given the right nutritional support. Taking his advice, I began a treatment protocol of a modified diet with vitamin and herbal supplements. Within a year and a half the majority of my symptoms had vanished.
What I’ve learned is how essential proper nutrition can be in calming an overactive immune system and in healing and restoring the body.
So what can one do? For those with Lupus looking to pursue a more holistic approach to healing removing traditional inflammatory foods such as dairy, refined sugar and flour, gluten and genetically modified corn and soy is a good first step. Then fueling the body with nutritional anti-inflammatory foods that aid in quieting the immune system can lend itself to the healing process.
Here are 6 healthy foods that do just that!
1. Sunflower Seeds
Small in stature but strong in nutrient value, these bright red berries contains 98% of the daily value of Vitamin C in a 100g portion. A 4 year study of Japanese patients showed increased Vitamin C intake may prevent the occurrence of active Lupus symptoms.
3. Wild Caught Salmon
A huge asset to those with lupus who avoid excess sun due to photosensitive rashes or who take corticosteroids and require higher amounts of Vitamin D to offset the effects of the drugs. For them, maintaining high Vitamin D levels is essential. A solution is wild caught salmon, which contains 97% of the daily value in a 3oz cooked portion.
Known for its high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, kale is a great addition to the diet of Lupus patients as studies have shown antioxidant supplementation may improve the disease status of patients.
Turmeric contains curcumin, which is responsible for its vibrant yellow colour and has been shown to provide curative assistance to a number of disorders. In addition, it’s been shown to improve joint swelling, morning stiffness and walking time in those with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. (Note: females diagnosed with Lupus have an increased susceptibility to develop other diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, heart and kidney disease, to which the properties of turmeric may provide some benefit.)
Contains an anti-inflammatory component called gingerols, which are linked to the reduction of inflammation in arthritis and osteoporosis patients. Another study identifies ginger and its anti-inflammatory properties as helpful in the reduction of muscle aches, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health.
Nutrition plays a significant role in helping Lupus patients fuel their body for healing. These six anti-inflammatory foods for lupus are a great starting point on your journey to health and wellness!