The Connection Between Diet And Autoimmune Diseases

I wake up in the morning with the plan to eat right. Everyone wakes up late, my son forgot to do his homework, and the dog threw up in my shoes, so, I skip breakfast and just have coffee. • Coffee 0 cals • Creamer o 120 cals o 6g fat o 6g sat fat o 16 g sugar Then by 10:00 am I am so hungry I want to eat an entire cow. Not just the double quarter pounder with cheese I am staring at on the fast food drive through the menu, but the whole cow. No, I will eat a salad, with lite dressing and no cheese because I heard somewhere that cheese and dressing have fat and fat is bad. But, it’s only 10:00 am, and I still have 2 hours to go until lunch. So, I rummage through my desk, find a half-eaten bag of candy, and justify that this is going to be ok to eat just to get me through until lunch. • 115 cals • 5 g fat • 3g saturated fat • 16 g sugar • 1 g fiber • 1 g protein And another harmless cup of coffee… • Coffee 0 cals • Creamer o 120 cals o 6g fat o 6g sat fat o 16 g sugar Before I have even had lunch on my first day of healthy eating I have had 355 empty calories consisting of 48 g of sugar, 17 g of fat and only 1 g of protein and 1 g of fiber. By lunch time I am so hungry I justify the double bacon cheeseburger and large fries, and I don’t even want to tell you what happens at supper. Does this sound familiar to you? If you want to regain control over your eating habits here are 4 things that you need to do every day. 1. Have A Plan Having a plan doesn’t mean some crazy meal plan where you cook 15 meals in 3 hours and then eat the same food every day for the next three weeks. Having a plan simply means knowing what you are going to do when hunger hits. Have plan to eat breakfast, but if you miss it have a plan for that too. If you are at work, and suddenly find yourself hungry, where are the healthy options around you? • Is there a soup and salad bar? • A sandwich shop? • What can you get that is made fresh, and healthy? Know these options before hunger takes over your brain and makes your decisions for you. This is one of the most successful tactics suggested by Dr. Susan Biali. 2. Make Small Changes Huge changes rarely stick because it is hard to change everything about ourselves all at once. Prevention magazine recommends tiny changes that are going to help your weight loss happen faster, and with greater success. • Start to food journal: Sometimes just writing down what we put in our bodies can be a huge wake-up call. Start journaling everything you eat, before you eat it. You may find it changes your perspective. • Use the “Take 10” strategy when eating a treat: this involves slowing down and taking at least 10 minutes when eating the treat you have decided to have. This will teach you to savor the food you do eat. 3. Check in Emotionally Many times when we feel uncontrolled in our eating, we are eating our emotions. The Mayo Clinic recommends that you tame your stress and have a hunger reality check. Are you hungry because you need food or because you are stressed? If it is stress, take 5 and to a quiet meditation or other stress management technique. 4. Eat Protein and Good Fats Finally, eat protein and good fats. These two macronutrients are the key to keeping blood sugar level and making you feel satisfied after you eat. A diet without either of these key nutrients is going to make anyone feel out of control with their hunger. Psychology Today recommends you have a little of both at each meal. Which of these techniques will work best; will depend on why you’re out of control. Determine what makes you feel out of control when you eat, and you can tackle this problem head on.

There are 23 million US adults with autoimmune disease, many of whom wonder if there is something about their diet that can help control their conditions.

Autoimmune disease is the second most common cause of chronic disease in adults. This means that about 5% of Americans have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.

Inflammation And Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmune disease is about inflammation. The body has an immune system that normally directs itself toward dangerous pathogens that affect the body. In autoimmune diseases, the immune system becomes confused and makes antibodies against the body’s own tissues. There are hundreds of autoimmune diseases that each have antibodies directed at different tissues of the body.

Chronic inflammation is present in many people who have autoimmune diseases and may play a role it its development. Doctors don’t know which comes first, the autoimmune disease or the inflammation. Doctors just don’t know. To complicate matters, you can have inflammation and not have autoimmune diseases and can have autoimmune diseases without a lot of inflammation.

Treatment Strategies

There is a lack of available research regarding the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Each is treated a little bit differently using drug therapy and lifestyle modification. The management of autoimmune diseases through nutrition usually places and emphasis on controlling inflammation and pain, which slows the disease progression and helps the immune system function better. There are certain foods and nutrients that seem to be beneficial in managing the diseases.

For example, there seems to be a relationship between vitamin D levels and the development of autoimmune diseases. Those who lack vitamin D have a greater than average risk of getting various autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. Those who live in normal climates have a greater risk of getting type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis, both autoimmune diseases, than those who live near the equator.

Vitamin D can be found in fortified dairy products, fortified cereals and as a vitamin D supplement. The most natural way to get vitamin D is through sunshine, which can be hard to do in northern climates in the middle of the winter.

There are vitamin D receptors found in many cells of the body, including the islet cells inside the pancreas, cells inside the colon, and human lymphocytes. It may be that vitamin D keeps the immune system healthy by inhibiting the growth and division of T cells in the immune system, decreasing the amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

The Gut Flora And Autoimmunity

Another area of research is on balancing the gut flora in order to prevent inflammation. When the gut flora are out of balance, this creates a leaky gut that allows larger particles of food to enter the bloodstream. The body recognizes these as foreign antigens and the immune system is activated. Whenever the immune system is hyper-activated, autoimmune diseases can occur.

You can keep your gut flora healthy by eating foods that are high in probiotics.

This Includes Eating Yogurt And Other Fermented Products, Such As:

• Kefir
• Dark chocolate
• Sauerkraut
• Miso soup
• Pickles
• Tempeh
Eating foods like these can replace bad bacteria in your gut with good bacteria, therefore reducing inflammation.

The Diet In Celiac Disease

People with celiac disease have an autoimmune condition that makes them intolerant to gluten. Gluten is found in many types of grains, including wheat grains, oat grains, barley, and rye. As long as the person with this gluten intolerance stays away from foods containing these grains, they don’t have inflammation and they aren’t sick.

Gluten-free diets also seem to play a positive role in other autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. There is no proof that avoiding gluten helps all autoimmune diseases but it is known that many people with autoimmune diseases also have gluten sensitivity.

Eating To Reduce Inflammation

One way of reducing inflammation is to have a diet high in antioxidants. Antioxidants seem to limit the amount of inflammation in the diet. You can get antioxidants in your diet by eating foods containing them, which are primarily dark, rich-colored fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, cranberries, beans, russet potatoes, and artichokes.

Many people with autoimmune diseases follow a paleo diet. This includes a diet rich in lean meats, fruits and vegetables that is also low in grains. A paleo diet has few foods in it that are inflammatory and may serve you well to reduce inflammation and the symptoms of autoimmune diseases if you already have one.

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