The immune system is our body’s natural defence mechanism that protects it by producing substances called antibodies. These antibodies help fight foreign substances that can harm the body such as viruses and bacteria.
What Is An Autoimmune Disease?
Autoimmune disease causes the body to turn on itself by attacking the healthy cells and tissues causing serious damage and inflammation. According to a recent report, there are 50 known autoimmune diseases such as leaky-gut syndrome and Celiac, affecting approximately 2 million Canadians and up to 700 million people worldwide. 80% of the patients suffering from autoimmune disorders in Canada are female.
Can It Be Prevented?
The bad news is that a recent study shows a rapid increase in autoimmune diseases due to different genetic and environmental factors, including our diet. The good news is that numerous studies have shown that a significant lifestyle change, particularly changes in food choices can help in reversing and preventing various autoimmune diseases.
Here is a list of potential landmines that can trigger an inflammatory immune response in the body:
Gluten is the key ingredient in many starch-based comfort foods. It’s a common protein found in barley, wheat, rye, spelt, and other grains. Gluten sensitivity is common in people struggling with autoimmune diseases.
Studies have shown an increased risk of autoimmunity due to gluten-induced inflammation of the gut and small intestines. Research conducted in 2014 showed a significant improvement of health as a result of a gluten-free diet among autoimmune patients as well as improvement in other diseases including multiple sclerosis, asthma, and the leaky-gut syndrome.
It comes as no surprise that sugar made it to this list. Sugar has one of the highest negative effects on human health and patients with autoimmune conditions are particularly susceptible. Some people believe that going for healthier sounding sweeteners such as agave nectar or organic glucose is not that bad.
However, according to a study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, all forms of sugar have the ability to hurt the white blood cells that are essential for a healthy immune system. The best thing for a healthy functioning immune system is to try and minimize sugar consumption, ideally to around 5% of your dietary makeup.
Quinoa and Gluten-Free Grains:
Quinoa is a healthy grain-like substance that’s a favourite in the health community. However, it is high in saponins, which is a heavy protein that can damage the lining of the gut and can trigger an autoimmune response from the body. Some people soak and rinse their quinoa, which can reduce gut-damaging effects. However, it can still have negative effects on people that already have an autoimmune condition.
Extra consumption of certain grains, such as corn and rice, can also cause autoimmune symptoms to flare up. Although they’re categorized as gluten-free, the protein found in these grains is similar to gluten and create sensitive gastrointestinal issues triggering an autoimmune condition.
Show Your Gut Some Love!
There are a lot of foods that have healthy anti-inflammatory properties and can help you maintain a healthy immune system. Leafy greens such as cabbage, broccoli, and kale are rich in calcium and beneficial vitamins and minerals. These can be easily included in your diet through salads, smoothies, and tasty stir-fry recipes.
Various fungi, onions and different types of squash like zucchini, butternut, and pumpkins have tremendous anti-inflammatory potential. They’re also rich in anti-oxidants and fatty acids, which aid in the anti-inflammatory efforts of your body.
Heal Your Body Through Food!
Living with an auto-immune disease can be frustrating. It’s important not to overlook the powerful healing ability of certain foods. Sticking to a healthy, well-balanced diet can boost your immune system and fight back against illnesses caused by a failure of your body’s natural defence. Avoid the trigger food and add more healthy options to your current diet plan for a healthier and energetic lifestyle!
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