Can Life Style and Diet Help Ease Lupus Symptoms?
Here is my testimony: Yes, it can. Lupus causes inflammation, and people living with this condition often deal with resulting symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and fatigue. During winter, the cold and excessive rain make things worse.
Like me, you probably have a list of meds to take every day. These medications come with many toxins and side effects hitting our bodies. So, here comes my suggestion: in addition to the treatments your health care team recommends, you may also consider adjusting your diet and lifestyle to help reduce some of the symptoms.
Lupus does not have a cure, but we can help control the flare-ups by consciously choosing our lifestyle, including what nutrients we give to our body and how we spend our hours.
No single specific diet is recommended for people with lupus. However, many lupies have noticed that certain foods can trigger symptoms, and others can help keep symptoms at bay.
A lupie wrote another day, “I have found that with lupus, you have to become a scientist. Test foods and keep a journal of the effects.” Another said, “I don’t feel that good when I eat processed foods — it gives me brain fog — but when I eat whole foods like fruits and veggies, I instantly feel better.”
I found excellent advice at My Lupus Team, a free social network for people managing treatment or therapies for lupus:
The Benefits of Keeping a Food Diary
One way to evaluate which foods or other triggers may cause symptoms is to keep a diary that includes a list of what you consume and other changes you make to your lifestyle. Then you can go back and track what may have helped ease your symptoms and what might have exacerbated them. Believe, I have tried – it works! Adding, for example, large doses of turmeric, ghee, and omega 3 foods into my diet had a significant impact in reducing my daily pain.
Remembering taking notes is a little time-consuming, but it’s self-care. Some apps can help track our daily meals and lifestyle. I have been using NOOM as I am trying to lose some extra weight by having COVID during the holidays. It works for me.
Take notes of what you’re eating every day, the exercises you did, and how you slept. Then, notice the change in your symptoms. It has really helped me. I have learned what makes a positive impact on the quality of life. Comparing each day with the symptoms will help adjust your lifestyle.
I still take my meds for the autoimmune condition every day, and I don’t plan to stop them, but building a strategy that uses anti-inflammatory ingredients rich in antioxidants, exercises that work my joints and strengthen my body has complemented my doctor’s treatment plan.
How to Stick To The Plan
You might consider hundreds of different strategies as you review the foods and exercises that help control your symptoms. Please don’t choose a plan so extreme you know you won’t adhere to it in the long run – this is a marathon, not a sprint contest. You need to be your best friend. If you change all your habits at once, it may be too hard. Swap those ingredients and unhealthy behaviors with better options, little by little. Eventually, you will get there. Be kind to yourself.
Some suggestions I adopted at my home:
- Don’t buy items or ingredients that will make you flare.
- When you are feeling well, make a double batch of meals, and freeze the second one.
- Buy frozen vegetables and choose different colors. They are easy to make, don’t spoil fast, and retain most nutrients after cooking. Rotate the variety each week for new nutrients.
- When preparing food, use it as an opportunity to meditate. Be present. Remember to breathe.
- Get nice cooking tools — such as peelers, knives, and spoons — comfortable to hold and lightweight, so you don’t negatively impact your hand or wrist joints. Places such as HomeGoods are a great option to find these tools at a reasonable price.
- Save money on non-perishable ingredients by buying in bulk.
- Explain to your family members and friends that you’re trying to avoid specific triggers that can cause a flare. Ask for their help!
- Be compassionate with yourself – if you fall off your diet plan, just start again.
For snacks and breakfast — fruits, oats, honey, chia seeds, eggs are good options. Everyone is different, but these are fast and easy to make. Remember to choose whole foods and organic as much as you can.
Talk to your doctor before pursuing any special diets or changing your eating routine. Each person is different.
Are you living with lupus? Have you found that certain foods trigger your symptoms? Please share your experience in the comments below. We can all learn with each other!