Living with an autoimmune condition does not mean you are destined to a life of painful symptoms and an array of medications to take. There are numerous types of autoimmune conditions, and they all have an underlying cause of inflammation. There is so much that can be done through simple diet and lifestyle changes to reduce and manage symptoms. Depending on what autoimmune condition you have and how much inflammation you will determine the level of care needed to manage symptoms.
By reducing inflammation in the body, healing the gut and following dietary guidelines to support your autoimmune condition, you can dramatically reduce symptoms and even better be symptoms free so you can live your life the fullest, the life that you deserve. Understanding the root cause of your contributing factor is important as well.
Autoimmunity is a HUGE topic, and I am going to touch on just a few dietary and lifestyle tips that you can incorporate as of today to help reduce your inflammatory load and help you get a better understanding of why these changes are important to you. A more personalised approached is needed for each autoimmune condition, but these are some diet and lifestyle changes anyone with an autoimmune condition can add to their lifestyle.
First off, what is auto-immunity?
Autoimmune diseases are born when your body is working hard to defend itself against something which it perceives as a treating substance, usually a substance that has either entered the body or has been created in the body and is received as problematic. It looks at this substance as an “invader.” Creating inflammation is your body’s immune systems response to this stimulus.
Some symptoms of autoimmune diseases:
Muscle pain and weakness
Gut dysbiosis, leaky gut
Difficulty concentrating or focusing
Feeling tired or fatigued
Chronic low-grade inflammation is often silent. This can often happen when carrying excess body fat or can be caused by long-term/chronic stress
Some diet and lifestyle factors which can increase symptoms
Artificial flavours and sweeteners
Here are some diet and lifestyle changes which can help manage symptoms
Going on a gluten-free diet can help to reduce inflammation in the body. Gluten can cause gut permeability which is one of the biggest causes of leaky gut. If you need help and assistance on how to follow a gluten-free diet or would like a meal plan to follow, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me today!
Removing all refined sugar from the diet can be beneficial. Refined sugars can increase inflammation in the body, sugar also feeds the bad bacteria in the gut, and when these bad bacteria feed of sugar the can multiple and over powder the good bacteria in the gut and cause a whole range of health problems.
Increase intake of omega-3 to help naturally reduce inflammation. Omega-3 can actively switch off the inflammatory processes within the body. The best food sources of omega-3 include oily fish such as salmon and sardines, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseed, flaxseed oil. It can also be very beneficial to take a good quality, high-potency fish oil supplement.
Support gut health and repair the gut lining. The gut is the gateway to excellent health. Removing all the foods listed above which can trigger an inflammatory response is the best place to start, along with avoiding antibiotics, NSAID’s and stress (which impacts our gut health). Then it’s time to repair the gut, sipping on bone broth is a great and gentle way to do this. Adding in condition-specific probiotic and gut-friendly supplements are very useful at this as well, it’s best to talk to a healthcare practitioner about this and the right supplements for your condition.
Reducing stress is KEY! As mentioned above stress wreaks havoc on our gut health, adrenal glands, downregulates the immune system, impacts thyroid health to name just a few. Incorporating stress relieving strategies into your lifestyle is key to managing the stress response, such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, getting outside and spending time in nature, or try putting your legs up against the wall daily.
Following an autoimmune diet is something I strongly recommend to help get onto of symptoms. Seeing a nutritionist can be very beneficial to help you further understand what foods to eat and enjoy, what foods to avoid (along with the list above) and how to plan and prepare meals and eat an autoimmune diet that can fit into your lifestyle, as it can be a big adjustment if you are new to eating this way. Feel free to get in touch with me if you need some help and guidance. I’d love to hear from you and support you on your health journey.