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Food Tips and Autoimmune Diseases

Posted Jul 29 2010 12:00am

Autoimmune diseases effect the autoimmune system which is the body's defense against bacteria, virus, infections, and toxins in the body. They can be debilitating and lethal depending on the severity. A complex system of white blood cells (macrophages), T-cells, and B-cells to just name a few mistakenly attack healthy parts of the body. A list of these diseases depends on where it occurs. If it attacks the joints, we call it rheumatiod arthritis, if it attacks the bowels, its Crohn's disease, our nerves, is Multiple sclerosis, and the connective tissue, Lupus (and Scleroderma).

Scientific research has shown that people with autoimmune diseases have low antioxidant levels, and those with flare-ups have even lower levels. It's important to keep your body protected from free radical damage with some key antioxidants and vitamins. These nutrients work together to provide your body with the natural ability to prevent and even reverse the effects of these terrible diseases.

According to the scientific evidence above, an effective way to avoid and battle these diseases is to strengthen your immune system with proper nutrients. Inflammation can be reduced and symptoms of autoimmune diseases can be decreased by taking proper multi-vitamins and antioxidant supplements. Begin with a diet rich in antioxidant rich food and a high quality multi-vitamin.

All vitamins are not created equal. Dr. Douglas Heimburger, M.D. a professor of nutrition at the University of Alabama says about choosing a multi-vitamin to "look for the United States Pharmacopeia seal, it tells you that certain pharmaceutical standards have been met and proven." Very few vitamin companies meet pharmaceutical grade standards. Trust the vitamin company used by health care professionals to help treat autoimmune diseases.
Douglas Laboratories meets the strictest pharmaceutical standards and is not available to the general public. They are only available to health care professionals like my self. As an A.C.E. (American Council On Exercise) certified fitness trainer I have access to these vitamins.

Some popular choices of potent antioxidant supplements prescribed by doctors are CoQ10 and Grape Seed Extract. After a quality multi-vitamin these are the first line defense against inflammation.

Food Tips

Charlotte Haigh, who's published in several health magazines including "Fitness Magazine" wrote a book called "The Top 100 Immunity Boosters". The top 10 foods are: beets, shiitake mushrooms, avocado, curly kale, grapefruit, blueberry, brazil nuts, soy beans, green tea and garlic.

Eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day to maximize the variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants needed to battle free radical damage. Try to eat raw food with a variety of colors to battle autoimmune diseases. See my Whole Foods page to learn more about whole/raw foods.

Choose good sources of protein. Simin Meydani, Ph.D. at Tufts University states: "To increase immune cell proliferation, you need protein and amino acids." Lean cuts of meat from fish, seafood, poultry (without the skin), eggs, lentils, eans and soy products are best.
Know the difference between good and bad fats. Good fats are unsaturated fats from sources like olive oil, fish oil, and canola oil. Choose these over saturated fats from butter, margarine, and animal fats. These fats, especially trans-fats (partially hydrogenated oil) can cause inflammation in the body.

Antioxidant rich drinks like tea and red wine. Make time to enjoy a cup of tea at least once a day. It's high in antioxidants and gives you a boost of energy. Green and white tea are the highest in potency but lower in caffeine making them good choices throughout the day. Red wine has been known to be high in antioxidants for ages and is a good choice at night as long as you don't over-consume. 1-2 drinks can be beneficial. Any more and you risk liver damage over time.

Healthy Chocolate is getting more attention for it's anti-inflammatory properties. Dark chocolate is best and has been shown to contain very high levels of antioxidants. A small quantity at night is actually a good thing and it even triggers the pleasure center part of the brain raising mood and lowering blood pressure slightly. Another good choice before bed time to wind down and enjoy a guilt free treat.

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