Nutrition/diet can be one of the most confusing and challenging areas of wellness to tackle. For those with autoimmune, there are literally dozens of potential food plans you could follow.
I personally recommend starting with the elimination diet because it is universal for most people! It takes out the most common trigger foods and shows you how to introduce it back in to see if you have a reaction, and therefore a sensitivity to that food or food group.
Here is a quick and easy overview.
Once the elimination diet has been completed and you know what sensitivities, if any you have, then you can start building out your diet plan.
Some of the most common plans for autoimmune are:
1. The autoimmune protocol diet (AIP)
Best for: IBD
Sometimes also called the Paleo autoimmune protocol diet, the AIP is an extreme version of the popular Paleo diet, which advocates a return to the types of foods our Paleolithic ancestors ate.
Foods to potentially avoid include grains, legumes, dairy, processed foods, refined sugars, industrial seed oils, eggs, nuts, seeds, nightshade vegetables, gum, alternative sweeteners, emulsifiers, and food thickeners, says Romano.
The AIP follows an elimination protocol where different food groups that might contribute to inflammation are taken out of the diet, then slowly added back in.
2. The anti-inflammatory diet
Best for: Rheumatoid arthritis
This diet is similar to the much-touted Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to lower the risk of chronic disease, extend lifespan, and reduce the symptoms of some autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. The focus is on anti-inflammatory foods like fish, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Foods should be as natural as possible, such as ocean-caught fish. And homemade meals are even better, because then you know all the ingredients that have been used. Often dairy is excluded here as well.
3. Plant based diet
There is evidence that plant-based diets can benefit people with autoimmune diseases. Plus, both the AIP and anti-inflammatory diets also focus strongly on fruits and vegetables. In general, people get 90% less plant based foods in their diets.
If you have an autoimmune disease, you might find you tolerate vegetables better when they’re cooked, though. “Large molecules can provoke the immune system, but when you’re cooking you’re breaking the molecules down.
Regardless of what food plan you choose, you need to remember to get all of your nutrients in. You may need to get creative to ensure you are getting enough vegetables, protein, good fats, health carbohydrates, etc.
Supplementing with vitamins is a great way to ensure you are getting everything your body needs that you may not be able to get through diet alone.
To check out more on supplements click here