Balancing a Healthy Diet With Lupus
Last updated: April 2021
Many have read and been told that there is a specific lupus diet that can help cure lupus. I have found that there is no established diet for lupus. Although there are certain foods that help me with my symptoms, as I looked at my lupus symptoms, I began to understand that certain foods may be better than others for managing and preventing my flares.
What should I include in my diet?
I find following a healthier diet with less salt and fat help me maintain more energy and decreases my stress. In my experience with food journaling, I feel like when I am a bit more careful in my food choices, I am able to minimize my flares. As we work with our doctors on our treatment plans, it’s important to work with our entire clinical team to learn how to develop and incorporate a well-balanced varied diet. For me, those meals have included fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, medium consumption of meats and poultry, and fish like salmon or herring. I have found the more I discuss diet with my doctor the easier it is to plan meals throughout the week.
Purpose of a healthy diet
I have had to work with my doctor to change my eating habits to combat some of the side effects of some of my lupus medications and to bring on more energy when I am run down.
In reality, my own poor eating habits began to make it difficult for my body to fight and beat lupus and all its symptoms. Luckily, simple changes in what I ate made a huge difference in how I began to feel daily. Just the simple diet changes suggested by my doctor protected my stomach from the gastrointestinal issues I was fighting. Once I decided to make healthier food choices for myself, it helped to make it more bearable in fighting off lupus symptoms effectively. I felt better and although I knew it wasn’t a cure, I knew I was working actively to keep myself healthy beyond lupus.
What's good and bad?
When I was eating fatty foods like fried foods, fast foods, or food prepared with loads of butter. Foods that included caffeine like coffee, tea, and soda I noticed it irritated my stomach. After food journaling, I learned what worked for me and against my body. Other foods that were high in salt seemed to magnify my blood pressure. Certain foods like garlic and alfalfa sprouts did not work for me. They magnified my muscle pain and fatigue and led to some flaring.
After discussions with my doctor and a dietician, I was able to make a plan. I found the good food for me included fruits and vegetables, foods with calcium and vitamin D, whole grains, low-fat proteins, and loads of water.
Finally, it is important to me to make a conscious role in my diet. I try to keep an inventory of what I eat and how it makes my body feel. That process has helped me see exactly what foods may have caused a flare.
Any change you make in your diet, work with your doctors to incorporate it in your treatment plan. Always remember the old adage, you are what you eat.
Have there been things you have learned along your lupus journey that you wish had been explained to you by a healthcare provider earlier?