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2 Foods That May Reduce Lupus Risk (and what to avoid)

Lupus remains one of medicine’s biggest mysteries. Researchers still don’t fully understand exactly what triggers this autoimmune disease, but it’s thought to develop when certain types of genes that may predispose someone to lupus interact with the environmental factors like common viruses. The immune system gets misdirected and produces antibodies that target the body’s tissues and organs. As these antibodies, called auto-antibodies, build up in various organs, inflammation results. There are several types of lupus, the most common being systemic lupus erythematous (SLE). It can be mild, causing fatigue, joint pain, or skin rashes, or severe, affecting major organs like the kidneys.

Although there is no lupus diet per se, some very preliminary studies in animals and humans suggest that nutrition may be useful for reducing the severity of flare-ups and encouraging remission.

There’s some evidence that in cultures like Japan and the Eskimo communities in Greenland, where people consume a lot of omega-3 fatty acids from fish, seafood, and other sources, the rates of autoimmune disease are lower than in countries where intake of omerga-3s is low. That doesn’t mean necessarily that fish lowers the risk of lupus, but it’s worth noting that there’s already a fairly well established association between high fish consumption and lower rates of conditions like depression and heart disease, so the idea isn’t very farfetched.

Green tea:
Some population studies suggest that lupus incidence is lower in countries like China and Japan, where green tea is a diet staple. One explanation may be that green tea contains potent compounds called polyphenols that are both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It’s possible that adding green tea to your diet or even applying it directly to the skin rashes that often accompany lupus may be helpful. When green tea polyphenols were mixed with skin and salivary gland cells in lab studies done at the Medical College of Georgia, researcher noted a significant decrease in the markers for SLE.

Stay away from safflower, sunflower and corn oils, as well as most margarines, since they are rich in omega-6 essential fatty acids, the polyunsaturated fats believed to increase inflammation.
Packaged and commercially fried foods, since they are often loaded with trans-fat also contribute to inflammation.

Alfalfa seeds and sprouts contain the amino acid L-canavanine, which appears to aggravate lupus symptoms.
Finally avoid foods high in zinc, zinc is one of the most effective natural immune system boosters, and Echinacea, because this herb stimulates immune function, and can initiate flare-ups.