What to eat and What not to eat when suffering with an autoimmune disease????????
Suffering with an autoimmune disease? What to eat and what not to eat can become a mine field when searching on the internet! I am still learning!
Initially I looked into food intolerances and decided to eliminate possible common food sources which can cause allergic reactions, these included:
I then decided to cut out:
- ALL PROCESSED FOODS
- REFINED SUGAR
Yes in the beginning this was very hard and took me months and months to get into the swing of things. However now I can say that it did get easier as soon as I got my brain into a routine. Cravings for sugar disappeared within 3 to 4 weeks (which I found very surprising considering I was a chocoholic and total sugar addict since day dot!). I now look twice at everything I put in my body. The foods I eat are my medicine.
Ok, now that we have eliminated certain food groups… What do we put in our bodies? “What is left to eat?”, I hear many of you saying…. well actually there is much out there which fit our category of pure, real and natural foods 0:)
Stick to whole foods, nutrient rich foods, foods which are high in ANTI-OXIDANTS. We have 4 categories:
What are Anti Oxidants?
Antioxidants are nutrients (vitamins and minerals) and enzymes (proteins in our body that assist in chemical reactions), which counteract the process of oxidation by neutralizing the free radicals.
As you age, your body tissues suffer from oxidative stress due to the process of oxidation. Oxidation occurs when molecules within your body lose electrons to electrically-charged molecules of oxygen in your blood stream. These electrically charged oxygen molecules are called “free radicals,” and they have the potential to cause damage to cellular DNA. Over time, the damage can become irreversible and lead to disease.
Oxidation is a natural process that happens to everyone. Because it’s natural, a diet rich in antioxidants is necessary to keep the levels of free radicals in your body low and maintain good health. The more free radicals build up in your body, the more oxidative stress you’ll suffer.
As you age, your body’s natural defenses against oxidation, free radicals and oxidative stress become less effective. That’s why researchers believe that a high level of dietary antioxidants can prevent many age-related diseases.
Certain behaviors can increase the numbers of free radicals within our bodies. Smoking, drinking and sunbathing can cause unsafe increases in free radical production within the body. Other factors that can increase free radical production include air pollution, infection, and exposure to toxic substances or radiation.
Antioxidants benefit your health by cleaning free radicals out of your bloodstream. They have a range of health benefits; some studies have shown that antioxidants reduce the signs of aging by minimizing wrinkles and preserving the texture of the skin. They can even protect your skin from sun damage, and reduce the incidence of sunburn.
Although antioxidants aren’t proven to treat any conditions, research has shown that antioxidants have also been implicated in the prevention of a number of degenerative, age-related disease, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Cognitive impairment
- Immune dysfunction
- Macular degeneration
Different antioxidants benefit different parts of the body. For instance, the beta carotene found in carrots can help maintain eye health. The lycopene found in tomatoes can contribute to prostate health. The flavonoids found in tea, cocoa and chocolate are good for your heart, while the proanthocyanidins found in cranberries and apples can aid in the maintenance of the urinary tract.
Fruits high in anti-oxidants are:
Vegetables high in anti-oxidants are:
- BRUSSELL SPROUTS
proteins high in anti-oxidants
- EGGS (free range, organic)
- CHICKEN (free range, organic where possible)
- PUMPKIN SEEDS
- WHOLE GRAINS
Carbohydrates high in anti-oxidants
- BROWN RICE
- SWEET POTATO
The foods rich in anti-oxidants I have included in the list above are foods which are also anti-inflammatory foods as I believe this is also important.
SOME POINTERS WHICH HELP ME
I try to have protein, carbohydrate and fresh vegetables in each meal ( I am not afraid to bulk up on the vegetables).
I eat 3 meals a day at the same times everyday.
I chew my food well in order to aid digestion
I do not eat red meat or processed meats because of the inflammatory response created in the body. Steak, for example is also very hard to digest and puts a lot of stress on the digestive system.
I steer clear from starchy foods such as potatoes.
I drink Green Tea for its anti-oxidants
I supplement with vitamins daily and take a probiotic
As you all know I am still tweeking my diet to suit my individual needs and looking out for foods which “agree” or “disagree” with my body. I am by no means saying that diet can “cure” Autoimmune Alopecia however I do think that diet is extremely important when dealing with Autoimmune Diseases. My energy levels have certainly increased, I do not suffer midday lethargy, my skin looks great and I have hair follicle activity on my scalp which I have not had for over 10 years.
Thanks for reading 🙂