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Nutrition Matters When You Have Lupus

By Brandi Goodman 

Lupus Awareness Month arrives in May. Although there's no cure for the disease, there are methods that help to treat symptoms. Eating a healthy diet is one of them. Nutrition matters greatly when you have lupus.

The Goal: Reducing Symptoms

The goal of a healthy diet is to reduce your lupus symptoms. Certain foods can help to fight inflammation, keep your bones strong, maintain your weight, and even combat the side effects that medications may cause. On the opposite end, a poor diet can exacerbate these symptoms and cause a significant flare-up.

Choose Foods With Antioxidants

Many fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants. These work to fight off toxins within the body and prevent them from causing damage to your cells. Fruits are especially helpful, such as apples high in Vitamin C, blueberries, and strawberries. Leafy green vegetables are beneficial as well.

Avoid Saturated Fats

Saturated fats can cause inflammation. They are also known to raise blood pressure. Both of these are harmful to anyone, but especially those with lupus. Avoid foods with saturated fats so you can prevent these problems. Fried foods, creamy soups high in sodium, red meat, and dairy products high in fat can all be detrimental to your health. Choose baked and lean meats, homemade soups low in sodium, and low-fat dairy products instead.

Increase Calcium and Vitamin D Intake

Certain medications used to treat lupus can interfere with bone health. Some put you at higher risk for developing osteoporosis. For this reason, it is necessary to increase your intake of both calcium and Vitamin D. Just be sure you're getting low-fat dairy products to avoid too many saturated fats. Low-fat yogurt, skim milk, and low-fat cheese should be on your menu. Dark green vegetables also contain calcium. 

Combating Nausea

Some medications may also cause nausea. If you find it difficult to get your food down, try eating smaller meals throughout the day. You don't have to consume a large amount at once to get your calories in. Some bites of dry, whole grain cereal may help when you're particularly feeling ill. Don't eat any greasy or spicy foods when you're feeling this way. They can worsen the problem.

Consider your diet carefully if you're someone who lives with lupus. The right foods can significantly help to reduce symptoms and help you have a good day. Nutrition not only matters when you have lupus, but for everyone hoping to lead a healthy life.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Santee, Calif.

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