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What is the Best Diet for Lupus?

By Christina Edwards
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Although there is no specific strict diet for lupus patients, a healthy diet is considered to be extremely important. A well-balanced diet is an essential part of keeping flare-ups of lupus to a minimum. Physicians often recommend an easy-to-digest diet for lupus, as harder-to-digest foods can irritate certain parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Omega-3 fatty acids are also recommended for lupus patients. There is also some evidence that those diagnosed with lupus should avoid certain foods, such as alfalfa sprouts and known food allergens.

More than most people, lupus patients should take care of their bodies. This includes a healthy and varied diet. According to many experts, a diet for lupus should be low in saturated fats and sugar. Raw fruits and green, leafy vegetables are great sources of certain vitamins and minerals that are thought to be beneficial to many lupus patients.

Most nutritionists now agree that many people do not get enough of certain fatty acids, such as omega-3 fatty acids. Many lupus patients especially have very low levels of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Therefore, many nutritionists agree that a diet for lupus patients should include high amounts of certain types of fish, including mackerel, sardines, and salmon. Some studies show that these fatty acids can help relieve the swelling and inflammation that is characteristic of the disease.

Research has shown that a certain amino acid, known as L-canavanine, can cause or worsen flare-ups associated with lupus. Due to the fact that alfalfa seeds and sprouts contain L-canavanine, many physicians agree that a diet for lupus should not contain high quantities of alfalfa. Alfalfa tablets are thought to particularly worsen symptoms in some patients, and it is often recommended that these be avoided completely. There are also a few herbal teas that contain some quantity of alfalfa, so lupus patients should use caution when drinking these as well.

There has been some research that suggests that lupus is associated with a number of food allergies. Most lupus patients have some type of food allergy. Eating these foods can cause uncomfortable and painful flare-ups. Because of this, it is important that a diet for lupus does not include any foods to which the patient is allergic.

There are also a few other things that some believe should limited in a diet for lupus. Among these things are certain beverages such as coffee, tea, soda, and alcohol. Also, because lupus can cause certain kidney problems, and an excess amount of protein is believed to worsen kidney damage, some recommend that protein should be ingested in moderation.

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Discussion Comments
By serenesurface — On Feb 28, 2014

People with lupus are known to react badly to legumes which are beans, peas and lentils. Alfalfa sprouts are in this group too and that's why they are not allowed. Other foods may or may not cause problems, it depends on the individual. But everyone with lupus needs to be careful with legumes and limit or avoid them to prevent flare-ups.

Everything that's unhealthy in general is also unhealthy for people with lupus. Processed foods with lots of preservatives are problematic, as well as foods high in sugar and salt.

Moderate consumption of everything else is okay. Variety is key. It's important to eat foods that have real nutritional value with vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and protein. I personally try to eat organic and all natural. I cook my meals and try to include a little bit of everything in my diet.

By ZipLine — On Feb 27, 2014

@donasmrs-- Lupus affects everyone differently so it's difficult to make a general statement about dairy. I don't have problems with dairy but I know that many people with lupus do. On the other hand, I have problems with red meat, and many people with lupus have no problems with meat. So you have to figure out what works or doesn't work for you on your own. We all seem to have some trigger foods that cause or worsen lupus flare ups. Always pay attention to your symptoms and your diet to determine those trigger foods so that you can avoid them. And of course, you have to strictly avoid everything you are allergic or sensitive to.

Don't forget to tell your doctor about any diet changes because diet plays a big role in treatment for lupus.

By donasmrs — On Feb 27, 2014

Is dairy allowed on a lupus a diet? Does anyone here have lupus and have issues with dairy?

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