Healthy Eating Tips for People with Lupus
The Magic of a Ketogenic and Paleo Diets
What is Lupus?
The Mayo Clinic has defined Lupus as “a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs.” Marked by a rash and multiple types of inflammation, lupus is hard to diagnose because it attacks so many different areas of the body. Lupus can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, heart, and lungs. Doctors have noted that the cause for lupus is still unknown and that symptoms appear differently in each person.
While the root cause is unknown, experts point to genetics and the environment as factors. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases lists the most common symptoms as joint inflammation, muscle pain, fever, facial rash, chest pains, hair loss, swelling in legs and eyes and glands, mouth ulcers, and fatigue. They also list less common symptoms as anemia, headaches, dizziness, and seizures.
Along with no known cause, there is also no known cure. The disease appears in episodes and can be aggravated by common environmental things like medication or even sunlight. If left untreated, lupus can cause serious complications like kidney failure, inflammation of the chest, heart and blood vessels, stroke or seizure.
Managing Lupus with Diet
Inflammation is the kind of symptom that can strike anywhere at any time. A study from Johns Hopkins University noted that “no overarching diet exists for people with lupus. [It] is a systemic disease, so maintaining good nutritional habits will help your body remain as healthy as possible”. The doctors at Johns Hopkins recommend a diet similar to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines.
To date, there are is no prescribed “lupus diet”. And unfortunately, there are few studies that actually test the effects of diet on this disease. However, bio-hackers and others struggling with lupus have turned to nutrition and new diets to help combat the disease. What’s been found from many is that the Paleo Diet and Ketogenic Diet have proven to be effective in preventing and managing the mental and inflammatory symptoms of Lupus.
Managing Lupus with the Paleo Diet
Many people have turned to the Paleo diet to prevent symptoms and heal their bodies. A 2015 article in US News noted that “people with autoimmune conditions are at risk for vitamin, mineral and omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies, [so] there’s an added diet emphasis on nutrient-dense foods.”
The Paleo diet focuses on the foods that our ancestors hunted and gathered before farming and domesticated livestock became the way of life. When using this diet to manage the symptoms of lupus, people are encouraged to remove all grains, processed sugars, refined vegetable oils, and all food chemicals from their diet.
Those on the paleo diet should get their protein calories from meats, fish and bone broth. The Omega 3 fatty acids in fish are a great way to manage inflammation and support joint health. The benefits of bone broth are in the production of collagen, glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate which combat joint and respiratory inflammation.
Supplement your protein intake with leafy green vegetables which also contain Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins and minerals for joint, skin, and cardiovascular health. While the Paleo Diet may not be the cure all for lupus. Many people have praised its effects on the management of their illness.
Managing Lupus with the Ketogenic Diet
The purpose of the Ketogenic Diet is to remove inflammatory carbohydrates to the point that your body goes into a state of Ketosis. This state forces the body to use its existing stored fat cells as its energy source. Similar to the Paleo Diet, but more extreme, the Ketogenic Diet cuts your carbohydrate intake to approximately 5% of your total caloric intake. Which means that the calories that are consumed, should be comprised mostly of healthy fats and an adequate amount of protein.
A 2006 study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information noted the positive effect of the Ketogenic Diet on illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Epilepsy. Despite the lack of scientific studies regarding the relationship between the Ketogenic Diet and lupus specifically, people have given positive feedback on the way that the Ketogenic Diet has helped them manage many symptoms from joint pain and mental health to swelling and rash.
Before beginning any extreme diet to manage the symptoms of lupus, be sure to consult with your primary care physician. While they will most likely support your removal of inflammatory foods from your diet, they will also recommend that you stay in regular contact with them regarding your progress.
If you are still struggling with the fatigue that is associated with lupus, there are prepared meal delivery services to help you manage your symptoms through diet while getting the rest that you need. Check out the nutritional benefits of Factor75 and discover how the Paleo and Ketogenic Diets can help you manage lupus through healthy and mindful eating.