Autoimmune disease comes with many different faces. There is currently a list of over 80 known autoimmune diseases, and the list continues to grow. Undoubtedly, autoimmune disease is accompanied by chronic inflammation that worsens the disease. The American Autoimmune-Related Disease Association estimates that 50 million Americans suffer from one or more autoimmune diseases. Some of these diseases are celiac disease and lupus, among many others.
An autoimmune disease is caused by your immune system attacking friendly cells instead of foreign Invaders such as bacteria or viruses. Typically, your immune system acts as an intelligent and efficient army attacking any Invader that could cause you harm. However, when you have an autoimmune disease, this intelligent and efficient army turns into a confused band of dangerous soldiers who commonly mistake friend for foe.
When your immune system begins battling unnecessary cells, chronic inflammation sets in. This can cause a number of uncomfortable side effects including joint pain, swelling, and fatigue. Reducing inflammation can not only help to treat the symptoms but also reduce the autoimmune response that is causing the damage.
Here are a few tips to successfully reduce your inflammation and keep your autoimmune disease in check:
Cruciferous and leafy vegetables are loaded with antioxidants that help support your immune system as well as reduce inflammation. Kale, cauliflower, broccoli, among other dark vegetables can be great sauteed together as a tasty meal and natural medicine.
Chronic inflammation may be linked to underlying food sensitivities. Gluten, sugar, and dairy are some of the well known triggers of the immune system. It’s a good idea to remove these triggers in order to reduce inflammation. You may consider comprehensive food allergy testing through your functional medicine physician.
Bone broth has been increasing in popularity recently and for good reason. It is impressively packed with nutrients that are anti-inflammatory such as collagen. It contains glutamine, an amino acid that may help heal your gut lining and reduce inflammation drastically. Inflammation that is chronic, is undoubtedly related to an unhealthy gut. Also, you may notice a reduction in hunger on a daily basis if you enjoy a cup of bone broth once or twice a day.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is found in curries and other Middle Eastern dishes. Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Studies show that it can inhibit autoimmune disease by regulating inflammatory cytokines produced by your immune cells. Whenever you include turmeric into your diet, you should also ingest black pepper as well as some type of fat to help it absorb easily into your body.
Ginger has long been used as a medicinal treatment for many ailments. It is understood that Ginger can help soothe an achy stomach, but more recently it has been understood that ginger can also reduce inflammation and even pain. Add fresh ginger to your food or enjoy a cup or two of fresh grated ginger tea.
Green tea has also been used medicinally for centuries. It is made from unfermented tea leaves and is a rich source of polyphenols. This compound is a powerful antioxidant which fights free radicals and can regulate the autoimmune response. According to the Arthritis Foundation, polyphenols are strong anti-inflammatories. Green tea is an excellent source of polyphenols which are great for reducing inflammation as well as autoimmune response. Research shows that drinking green tea regularly can have significant benefits for people with rheumatoid arthritis, and autoimmune disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids may help people with autoimmune disease by reducing inflammation. Wild caught fish like salmon is your best source of omega-3 fatty acids. However, other seeds and nuts can be used to add a little extra into your diet. Seeds like flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts can provide omega-3s. If you cannot regularly consume foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, it may be beneficial to purchase a professional quality omega-3 supplement which can boost your omega-3 fatty acids.
Implementing these dietary and lifestyle modifications are your first steps towards reducing inflammation. For persistent symptoms, please consult a physician who is board certified in Integrative and functional medicine.