Diet For People With Lupus – This is a topic that I am very passionate about. In countless severe lupus patients I have treated, I have found that patients who are mindful of their nutrition do better. The exact causes haven’t been established, but studies suggest that women with SLE have inadequate calcium intake, low fruit and vegetable intake, and high levels of unhealthy saturated fat, which can increase inflammation. While a detailed review of the evidence for or against various dietary approaches to reducing inflammation is beyond the scope of this article, there appear to be some trends toward understanding that certain types of diets may be associated with reduced inflammation. Such diets are called anti-inflammatory diets, and these diets typically emphasize plant-based ingredients, low or no sugar, low grain intake, especially gluten, omega-3 fatty acids, and lean protein, including low-fat dairy products . The basic premise of most anti-inflammatory diets is that certain foods can either stimulate or reduce inflammatory signals in our bodies . Another approach suggests that calorie restriction or a low carbohydrate diet can reduce the fatigue generated by SLE and promote weight loss . Below, we’ve summarized important dietary factors for all people with autoimmune diseases, with a special focus on lupus patients.
Fat is essential for overall health. Fat is not only an important source of energy, but also for the proper functioning of organs such as the brain. Furthermore, fats are essential for the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K in the diet. There are 2 basic dietary forms of fat: saturated (solid at room temperature) or unsaturated (liquid at room temperature). Patients with SLE should limit their intake of saturated fats because they already have high cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of developing dyslipidemia (chronic increase in blood fats) and contributing to inflammation. Conversely, diets high in unsaturated fats (omega-3 and 6) from plant sources and fish are associated with lower cholesterol and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. Given that heart disease is 50 times more common in younger SLE patients than their peers, managing lipids through diet is very important.
Diet For People With Lupus
For people with SLE, I recommend eating a diet high in soluble fiber, with good food sources such as oats, fruits, and vegetables. The recommended daily dose is 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women . Increasing fiber is important to help prevent high blood cholesterol, normalize blood sugar levels, and control dyslipidemia. Furthermore, fiber intake is inversely associated with SLE disease severity, and studies suggest that this finding is in part due to the positive interaction between fiber, vitamins B6 and B12, and folate .
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Flaxseeds are a good source of both fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. More importantly, both human and mouse studies suggest benefits of consuming flaxseed in managing SLE symptoms .
Recently, mounting evidence suggests that diets low in whole grains may reduce inflammation. Some foods, such as wheat, rye and barley, contain a protein called gluten, which can activate the immune system in the intestines of some individuals. By limiting the dietary intake of gluten-containing products, people with SLE can reduce symptomatic flare-ups . Other diets that promote low carbohydrate intake include all grains and sugar. This diet promotes high fat and protein consumption in moderation by limiting carbohydrate intake. For people with lupus, excessive fat consumption is not recommended, nor is consuming more than minimal amounts of protein, as these people are already at increased risk of kidney damage.
Lupus patients should also beware of excessive sugar consumption. This is important because several studies indicate that people with lupus have an increased risk of developing glucose intolerance (inability of cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream) and type II diabetes . Because type II diabetes is associated with increased inflammation, its development in individuals with SLE may enhance immunosuppression.
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Vitamin supplementation has been found to be beneficial for the symptom management of SLE patients. One study suggests that vitamin A supplementation may help clear up lupus rashes . We recommend that SLE patients increase their vitamin A intake from plant sources, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, and kale, rather than animal sources, as excessive vitamin A intake from animals is associated with harmful side effects.
Increasing vitamin C intake also appears to be beneficial in managing SLE symptoms [9, 10]. A good source of vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits including mangoes, papayas and tangerines. Other studies have shown that a high intake of vitamin E helps suppress disease symptoms by reducing the expression and activity of cytokines. Patients with SLE who wish to increase their dietary intake of vitamin E should consider increasing their consumption of fish, nuts and whole grains. While some evidence seems to suggest beneficial effects of vitamin D supplementation, it appears to have the greatest effect in people who are already deficient. Individuals wishing to increase their vitamin D levels should limit their intake to less than 400 IU, as higher doses are associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart attack  and, therefore, we recommend caution with vitamin D supplementation. vitamin D .
There are many causes of bone loss in lupus including uncontrolled inflammation, calcium malabsorption, decreased vitamin D due to lack of sun exposure, and use of steroids which can inhibit calcium absorption in the intestines. Adequate dietary calcium intake is essential for people with SLE .
The Lupus Diet: Benefits, Meal Plan & Recipe Ideas
To combat bone loss, the American College of Rheumatology recommends that people with SLE who are starting corticosteroid treatment should also increase their calcium and vitamin D intake and engage in weight-bearing exercise . However, a recent study has suggested that 1200 mg or more of calcium supplementation may be associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart attack . In light of this, we recommend that patients obtain calcium primarily from dietary sources, such as cabbage, fish (mainly sardines), broccoli, and various dairy products, and limit calcium supplements to less than 500 mg.
We rely on dietary protein to supply our body with various amino acids to build and repair our tissues. Proteins from animal sources are called complete proteins because they contain all the essential amino acids, while proteins from fruits, vegetables, grains and seeds can lack essential amino acids, which can be supplemented by over-the-counter supplements  . It’s important to consider the type of protein for people with lupus. Although animal-based proteins, especially red meat, are high in protein, they are also high in saturated fat. While both poultry and fish are low in saturated fat, fish offers the added benefit of being a good source of omega-3 fatty acids .
Also, people diagnosed with SLE should be aware of increased protein intake. Studies in mice and humans found that a high-protein diet accelerated kidney damage (when kidney damage had already begun), while a low-protein diet improved survival and immune function in autoimmune mouse models  .
Diet / Lupus — Lupus Trust
Calorie restriction (CR) has been found to slow the onset of autoimmune diseases and associated symptoms in various mouse models . CR can help reduce the activation of immune cells. It’s also often used for weight loss, although we don’t recommend this approach because calorie restriction can be coupled with restriction of other important nutrients.
Although studies are inconclusive and more work is needed to further explore nutritional therapies, some dietary changes, as noted above, may make sense for lupus patients. Based on my experience managing the treatment of many lupus patients, a balanced dietary approach can be helpful in controlling the severity of lupus symptoms and combating medication side effects. Lupus Diet Plan Meal plans and recipes to calm inflammation, treat flares, and send lupus into remission
Eating well is an important part of feeling good, especially when it comes to relieving symptoms. The lupus diet plan helps you take control of your diet and reclaim your life from lupus, one deliciously healing meal at a time.
Lupus Diet: Eating The Best Foods For Lupus
Kick off your anti-inflammatory diet with three 28-day meal plans that cater to your specific needs and take the guesswork out of what to eat and when. With recipes like fatigue-busting banana pancakes for breakfast, calming turkey piccata for dinner, and kidney-supporting pumpkin pie for dessert, you’ll be eating food that’s good for you, too.
Get relief when you need it with delicious recipes to combat the symptoms of the lupus diet plan.
Laura Rellihan, RD, LD/N became interested in nutrition when she was diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune disease at a young age. Today, Laura is the founder of Back to Balance, Inc., a private nutrition practice. She enjoys competing in triathlons, backpacking and creating new healthy recipes.
Nutrition And Lupus — Lupus Inspiration Foundation For Excellence (l.i.f.e.)
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