A nutritious diet is essential to managing lupus because it can lower the chances of flare-ups. However, don't be mistaken that eating right can simply cure lupus – researchers still have no clear idea what causes lupus. At this point, what's important is protecting your body from further complications.
Eat Healthy to Reduce Inflammation
On a healthy body, inflammation is a good sign because it shows your white blood cells are working hard at expelling antigens. However, lupus can increase the frequency of inflammation and negatively affect your health and daily life. You can reduce your risk of inflammation by eating foods, such as:
• Animal-based omega-3 fat: commonly found in fish such as wild Alaskan salmon or supplements like krill oil.
• Garlic: long known for its medicinal properties, garlic is known to have allicin, which produces sulfenic acid when digested. This acid combats free radicals that can cause inflammation.
• Tea: contains anti-inflammatory antioxidants that promote improved immune function and heart health. The best tea you can buy is Matcha tea from Japan or Tulsi tea.
• Dark leafy greens: vegetables such as kale, spinach, collard greens and Swiss chard contain antioxidants, flavonoids, carotenoids and vitamin C that can protect you from cellular damage.
• Saturated fats: contrary to popular belief, saturated fats are actually good for you. They can help lower cholesterol levels for a healthier cardiovascular system, provide good brain fuel, and promote proper mineral absorption.
Foods to Avoid
In the same way healthy foods can help lower the chances of lupus, unhealthy foods can increase your chances. These include:
• Trans fats: these unhealthy fats from junk food and processed food can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, making lupus even more dangerous. Replace these foods by eating healthy meat such as organic, free-range chicken and wild-caught Alaskan salmon.
• Alfalfa: alfalfa sprouts contain an amino acid named L-canavanine that stimulates your immune system, which can lead to more attacks.1
• Salt: lowering your salt intake can help reduce high blood pressure and protect your kidneys from further possible damage.2
• Alcohol: drinking alcohol while taking medications can be harmful for you. NSAIDs mixed with alcohol can cause stomach ulcers, so it's highly recommended you avoid it.3
• Coffee: drinking coffee (and other caffeinated drinks) can worsen symptoms in your stomach, especially if lupus affects that area.
Don't Forget Your Bones Too
Studies have shown that lupus multiplies women's risk for osteoporosis five times4 – an alarming figure, no doubt. Osteoporosis is a condition where bone density decreases, leading to an increased risk of skeletal fracture at older age. Like lupus, osteoporosis has no cure, so it's a condition better prevented than treated, especially for women.
The source of osteoporosis can come from lupus attacking your bones itself, or medication that weakens your bones to control symptoms. Either way, taking good care of your skeletal structure is essential for proper physical movement. Taking calcium supplements or calcium-rich foods is recommended to counteract the onset of osteoporosis.
However, keep in mind that too much calcium in your body can lead to calcium deposits, which can be fatal. You should take vitamin D3 and K2 supplements to allow proper calcium absorption in your body.
Side Effects of Medication: Be Aware and Fight Them
Lupus can be life-threatening, especially when it attacks vital organs such as the heart, brain or lungs. When that happens, it's reasonable that you need take medication to control the symptoms immediately, but you need to be aware of the side effects that these drugs will bring.
Medication can bring your immune system down, opening the door for further infection from outside sources. Some drugs can even directly harm your body and lead to disease (such as osteoporosis) when taken for a long time. Supplements can be taken in order to counteract the side effects, but you don't have to complicate matters further. By eating nutritious food and getting proper exercise, you can protect yourself from side effects.