5 Healing Foods if You Have an Autoimmune Disease
Diet plays an essential role in mental and physical well-being, but even more so when a person is dealing with an ongoing chronic illness like an autoimmune disease. This is when the body’s immune system misidentifies healthy cells as foreign, which triggers the release of proteins known as autoantibodies that mistakenly attack cells. This can occur in one organ, or the occurrence can be systemic.
A few types of autoimmune disease include type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and celiac disease (gluten intolerance). According to XpertDox, a number of these diseases are risk factors for developing autoimmune hemolytic anemia. An autoimmune disease diagnosis can be daunting, but standard practices in medicine, along with more awareness of the impact diet has, can go a long way to alleviating systems and improving quality of life.
Milk (Vitamin D)
Milk really can do a body good, and it’s a huge part of the American diet. Milk in the grocery store has been fortified, meaning that Vitamin D has been added. It’s doesn’t occur in large quantities in most foods, but was added to milk starting early in the twentieth century when it was discovered it could help prevent rickets. If milk isn’t your thing, consider using a supplement.
Vitamin D excels in helping the body recognize true threats. Other sources of Vitamin D include organ meats (like liver) and Cod Liver oil. However, never forget that sunshine is also a fantastic source that helps the body produce this helpful and vital nutrient. Sunscreen is a must when hours will be spent in the sun, but in small doses, exposure to sunshine can be extremely healthy.
Oysters are an outstanding source of zinc when it comes to healing food if you have an autoimmune disease. Whether the oysters are cooked or raw will affect their zinc content, as well whether the oysters are wild-caught or farm-raised. These shellfish are also commonly used in soups and sauces.
Zinc plays an important role in helping the thymus gland produce T helper cells, which are crucial in immune system management. Other good sources of zinc include sprouted pumpkin seeds, liver, and leafy greens such as spinach.
Sulfurous Veggies (Glutathione)
Sulfurous veggies like garlic and onions contain necessary components to help the body build its most impressive antioxidant, glutathione. Other sulfurous veggies include cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and the like.
Glutathione assists the body with producing white blood cells as well as immune system regulation. If consuming massive amounts of veggies is difficult for you, consider drinking ginger-infused water or adding whey protein to a fruit smoothie. As with Vitamin D production, healthy sun exposure helps the body in this area as well.
Sockeye Salmon (Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
Wild-caught Alaskan Sockeye Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon can be cooked in a variety of ways, and it can also be eaten raw as sushi or sashimi. Other sources of Omega-3s include sardines and anchovies. A puttanesca sauce for spaghetti is a great way to mask anchovies if you can’t stomach eating the tiny fish on their own.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in balanced quantities in healthy immune systems, and those with autoimmune diseases tend to have unbalanced levels before making an adjustment. In general, Omega-6 fats found in canola oil and margarine play a significant role in autoimmune inflammation.
Greek Yogurt (Probiotics)
Plain Greek yogurt is a fantastic source of probiotics, and it’s easy to dress up with fruit or honey. Other sources of probiotic-rich food include fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, and miso. Pickles and all other pickled vegetables are also a good source for probiotics.
Probiotics play an important role in the bacteria needed for a healthy gut. If sensitivity to the foods noted in the above paragraph proves too much, this is another area where supplements can save the day.
Autoimmune diseases may not be curable, but paying attention to the role nutrients play in the body can go a long way to making such a disease more manageable. To help make up for dietary shortfalls or the inconvenience finding or eating certain foods , supplements can be used to fill in various nutrient gaps. When planning diet changes or adding supplements, be sure to check the recommended daily doses.
Even if you don’t suffer an autoimmune disease, it’s never too soon to start being more mindful of what you eat. By “reading” the body, it may be possible to heed the warning signs of future disease. In addition to the five foods described above, further reading on food nutrients will help provide a deeper understanding of how each one impacts the body’s functions.
What results have you had with any of these healing foods if you have an autoimmune disease?