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LUPUS

FOODS THAT HARM

  • Alfalfa
  • Celery
  • Parsnips
  • Parsley
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Mushrooms
  • Smoked foods
  • Grapefruit

    FOODS THAT HEAL

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Milk
  • Fortified soy and rice beverages
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Nuts
  • Flaxseeds
  • Wheat germ

    FOODS TO LIMIT

  • Fatty high-protein foods, especially animal products

    WHO’S AFFECTED

  • 1.5 million Americans have a form of lupus
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus accounts for about 70% of all cases of lupus
  • 90% of people with lupus are women
    Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease; the most common type of the ailment is called systemic lupus erythematosus (or SLE)
    Symptoms include arthritic joint pain, debilitating fatigue, and dry mouth; a telltale sign is a rash on the face that resembles butterfly wings
    Lupus can also damage organs throughout the body, particularly the kidneys
    Although a mild disease for many, for some people, lupus can be serious and even life threatening
    Lupus is believed to be caused by a genetic predisposition, triggered by environmental factors, such as a virus; it may be worsened by other factors, such as sun exposure, infection, stress, and certain foods and drugs

    Nutrition Connection

    Because lupus is an inflammatory disease, it helps to increase your intake of foods that fight and reduce inflammation and support overall health
    However, it’s important to be aware of foods that may interact with certain medications
    Here are some guidelines, but discuss any issues with your doctor or a dietician: Go for variety
    Eat a variety of foods that are rich in antioxidants and nutrients
    Foods such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower contain indoles which alter the metabolism of estrogen in a way that has a positive impact on lupus
    Eating a colorful variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can also protect lupus sufferers from heart disease in addition to providing essential nutrients
    Add omega-3s
    Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, especially oily fish, which have anti- inflammatory effects and may help relieve the joint pain, soreness, and stiffness associated with lupus
    Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, herring, walnuts, flaxseeds, and flax oil
    Find sources of vitamin D
    Because most people with lupus need to avoid exposure to the sun, they should make sure their diet provides adequate amounts of vitamin D
    Good sources include milk and fortified soy and rice beverages
    Vitamin D supplements are likely required
    Seek calcium
    Because steroids increase your risk of osteoporosis, consume plenty of calcium- rich dairy products, fish with bones, and dark green leafy vegetables, like kale and spinnach
    Supplements may be required
    Eat foods rich in vitamin E
    Preliminary animal studies have found that vitamin E may slow the progress of lupus
    The best food sources of vitamin E include nuts, seeds, oils, and wheat germ
    Talk to your doctor before taking vitamin E in supplement form
    Avoid alfalfa in any form
    Even herbal supplements containing alfalfa worsen lupus symptoms; other legumes may have a similar effect
    20% of people with lupus have a parent or sibling who already has or will develop lupus
    Avoid or limit mushrooms and some smoked foods
    These may also cause problems for lupus sufferers
    Avoid foods containing psoralens
    The majority of those with lupus experience worsening of symptoms when exposed to the sun or unshielded fluorescent light
    Avoid foods containing psoralens, such as celery, parsnips, parsley, lemons, and limes, which heighten photosensitivity
    Limit high-protein, high-fat foods
    Many lupus sufferers note an improvement after they decrease the consumption of fatty high-protein foods, especially animal products
    Some experts recommend a vegetarian diet that allows eggs, skim milk, and other low-fat dairy products

    Beyond the Diet

    The following recommendations may help prevent or manage lupus flare-ups: Rest
    The constant fatigue from lupus can take a toll
    Get plenty of rest and sleep as necessary to let your body recuperate
    Protect yourself from the sun
    Avoid UV light by wearing a hat and protective clothing, and always use sunscreen
    Exercise regularly
    In addition to promoting overall well-being, exercise can help you recover from a flare-up, reduce your chances of getting heart disease, and fight depression
    Don’t smoke
    Smoking can lead to coronary artery disease
    For those with lupus, smoking can greatly increase the risk of damaging your heart

    FOOD-DRUG INTERACTION

    Some medications that lupus sufferers take may interact with various foods
    Watch out for:
  • Grapefruit
    Although generally rcommended for most lupus patients, do not consume grapefruit or grapefruit juice if you are taking cyclosporine, a powerful immune system suppressor
    Grapefruit can dramatically increase the body’s ability to absorb cyclosporine, leading to severe toxicity
  • Sodium
    If you are taking corticosteroids, cut back on salt
    It will increase water retention and contribute to steroid-induced high blood pressure
    Stick to a medication regimen
    Your doctor may prescribe NSAIDs or aspirin, antimalarial drugs, corticosteroids, or immune suppressors