With the scientific and technical advancements in the system of Medicine, we have been successful in treating numerous infectious diseases and increase the lifespan of many patients. We are now able to manage grave medical emergencies effectively and with excellence. But, we are still struggling to treat one of the categories of diseases called Autoimmune diseases, apart from Cancer and HIV.
What Is An Autoimmune Disease?
Normally, a healthy immune system can identify foreign antigens (viruses and bacteria) and produce antibodies against them to kill them. However, when our immune system loses its ability to differentiate between foreign invaders (antigens) and its very own healthy body cells, it attacks the healthy cells of the body by considering them as foreign invaders. This is called an Autoimmune disease.
As per the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), the Americans who suffer from autoimmune ailments are 50 million. Researchers have discovered 80 to 100 various autoimmune ailments and an additional of 40 different ailments are suspected of having an autoimmune foundation. The genetic association of autoimmune diseases explains their prevalence in families. The use of conventional immunosuppressants for treating these diseases produces long term side-effects. Thus, adopting homeopathic treatment, which acts at a deeper level and treats the immune disturbances, is more helpful.
It is indeed distressing to walk out of a doctor’s clinic with a diagnosis of an autoimmune condition. Where we believe that the field of medicine deals with surgeries and medicines largely, we tend to miss the most important role of diet and lifestyle in the management of Autoimmune conditions.
The foods we eat have a major impact on the severity and frequency of autoimmune diseases. Some changes in our diet can help us greatly to control and reduce the flare-ups of autoimmune conditions.
Inflammation is one of the important symptoms of autoimmune diseases, and the typical western diet is associated with inflammation. Let’s see what can be done on our part to prevent the flare-ups of autoimmune diseases.
5 Dietary Tips To Manage Autoimmune Diseases:
- Lowering Your Sugar Intake:
It is difficult for our bodies to handle an excess of sugar, which is particularly more in Western diets. High sugar may result in frequent inflammatory responses which further lead to many health problems. High consumption of fructose i.e. fruit sugars causes lipogenesis (production of new fat cells). It utilizes the ATP molecules and, thus, consumes our energy stores. Excess fructose can also cause insulin resistance and further inflammation. Inflammatory activities are related to autoimmune disease flare-ups as well as they have a role in the development of Autoimmune disease.
Reducing sugar intake can be a little difficult in the beginning but it will help you in the long run.
- Lower Your Alcohol Consumption:
Some researchers state that frequent and large quantities of alcohol consumption lead to increased toxins in the gut. These toxins trigger inflammatory responses landing the patient in chronic inflammation and increase the possibility of developing an autoimmune condition. While some other sources say that alcohol in moderate quantities can protect you against Autoimmune disease, some sources are not able to define a clear relation and say it depends on the type of beverage, age, and gender differences.
We would advise avoiding alcohol as much as possible, if avoiding it completely is not possible, have infrequent consumption of minimum quantity of alcohol. Be careful while choosing your drink. Choose a Low-Alcohol and Low-Sugar drink.
- Avoid Dairy If You & Milk Are Not Friends:
It’s time to think over the sentence ‘Milk is wholesome food.’ which is the most commonly held belief among the people. Every mammal’s digestive system can adapt to its own mother’s milk better than any other. However, humans are the only ones who consume the milk of other mammals (Cow, Buffalo, etc.). This is the reason why most people cannot tolerate milk. It can produce inflammatory responses in many individuals. When our immune system identifies milk or other milk products as an intruder (any foreign substance), it produces an inflammatory response against it. If this happens in a person who is already suffering from autoimmune disease, it can aggravate the disease or produce a flare-up.
The best way to see whether you and milk are friends or not, try avoiding milk for 3 weeks and then start consuming it again. If you find disturbances or reactions (even subtle ones), it is better to Avoid Milk.
You can prefer ghee and clarified butter over milk, as it does not contain lactose (milk sugar) or Casein (milk protein) which are majorly responsible for triggering inflammatory responses.
- Say Bye To Wheat, Barley, & Rye:
There is a high content of inflammatory lectins and phytic acids present in cereals, such as wheat, barley, etc. These chemicals are called anti-nutrient compounds, as they bind the minerals that we consume and deplete our mineral stores. Apart from this, the gluten present in these grains can cause inflammatory responses in some people whose gut is sensitive to gluten. This is called as Coeliac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity Enteropathy.
Avoiding the above grains can reduce the inflammatory responses significantly, thus helping in preventing autoimmune diseases.
- Maintain Your Vitamin D Levels:
Since the beginning, the deficiency of Vitamin D has been associated with several different diseases. Recent studies have shown a relationship between low levels of vitamin D and Autoimmune diseases (Lupus and Multiple Sclerosis). Ongoing research is also hoping to utilize Vitamin D in the treatment and prevention of Autoimmune disease.
Exposing yourself to morning sunlight, daily for at least 15 to 20 minutes, enables you to utilize the freely available form of vitamin D.
Although all these healthy habits and beneficial tips will not treat your autoimmune disease completely, it can surely help you to deal with your disease in a better way, reduce the flare-ups, and prevent the further aggravations. Food is one of the basic energy sources for our body, and it affects our health in many ways. Thus, minor changes in the diet and a little awareness of what we put in our tummies can help us greatly to live a healthy life.