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Lupus Diet: Foods You Should Eat and What to Avoid

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  • A nutritious diet is essential to managing lupus because it can lower the chances of flare-ups
  • In the same way healthy foods can help lower the chances of lupus, there are certain foods that can exacerbate your symptoms

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 cure lupus — researchers still have no clear idea what causes lupus. At this point, protecting your body from further complications is more important.

Eat Healthy to Reduce Inflammation

In a healthy body, inflammation is a good sign because it shows your white blood cells are working to expel antigens. However, lupus can increase the frequency of inflammation and negatively affect your health. You can reduce your risk of inflammation by eating nutritious foods, such as:

Animal-based omega-3 fat — Supplementing your diet with omega-3 fatty acids may help manage the symptoms of lupus better.1

Green tea — This beverage contains antioxidants  that may manage inflammatory markers.2 The best green tea you can buy is Matcha tea from Japan or tulsi tea.

High amounts of vegetables and moderate levels of low-fructose fruits — A study published in February 2019 notes that diet plays an important factor in the improvement of the quality of life of lupus patients. The researchers recommend consuming high amounts of fresh vegetables and at least one fruit daily.3 However, make sure to moderate your fruit consumption, as some fruits are loaded with sugar, which can exacerbate your symptoms.

Foods to Avoid

In the same way healthy foods can help lower the chances of lupus attacks, there are other foods that can worsen your symptoms. These include:

Alfalfa — Alfalfa sprouts contain an amino acid named L-canavanine that stimulates your immune system, which can lead to more attacks.4

Garlic — While this herb is often valued in a healthy diet, its immune-enhancing properties may be counterproductive to lupus patients, and may actually worsen their symptoms. The Johns Hopkins Center says that small amounts will not cause any harm, but as much as possible, you should consciously try to avoid buying and cooking foods with it.5

Salt — managing your salt intake by minimizing your consumption of processed foods may help reduce renal dysfunction, especially if your lupus attacks your kidneys.6

Alcohol — Drinking alcohol while taking medications can be harmful for you. If you’re taking NSAIDs  to manage your symptoms, mixing them with alcohol can be possibly fatal.7

Don't Forget to Take Care of Your Bones

Studies have shown that lupus multiplies a woman’s risk for osteoporosis five times8,9 — 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,  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 eating 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.

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Side Effects of Lupus Medications: 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 to take medication to control the symptoms immediately, but you need to be aware of the side effects that these drugs will bring.

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.

MORE ABOUT LUPUS

Lupus: Introduction

What Is Lupus?

Lupus Types

Lupus Symptoms

Lupus Causes

Lupus Treatment

Lupus Remedies

Lupus Prevention

Lupus Diet

Is Lupus Hereditary?

Lupus Diagnosis

Living with Lupus

Lupus FAQ

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