There are many triggers that contribute to autoimmune disease. These include genetics, stress, environmental triggers, gut health, toxins and of course DIET…
5 Ways to help the immune system
Restoring health to the immune system is not an easy task but can be worked on by doing the following things:
1. Correcting the diet by avoiding foods that cause sensitivity.
2. Healing the stress in the body through activities that calm the nervous system.
3. Optimizing the function of the adrenals and thyroid hormones.
4. Improving the intestinal flora and heal the gut lining.
5. Remove and reduce the toxic load in the body.
An Anti-inflammatory Diet has tremendous influence on the gut microbiome which is the foundation for immune health. The Mediterranean Diet serves as a great example. This style of eating has plenty of fruit, vegetables, fish, healthy fats (like olive oil) along with modest portions of meat and poultry. This is one of the best cuisines to support long term health.
When food shopping – these are important considerations.
1. Limit or eliminate refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, soy coffee and refined grains. (Basically any processed breads, cookies, pastries, cereals, fruit juices etc. are best to avoid).
2. Eat healthy fats coming from sources such as extra virgin olive oil, avocado and coconut and avoid refined oils and hydrogenated fat.
3. Look for animal protein that is organic, free range, grass fed, (and choose low mercury fish).
4. Increase fiber and phytonutrients through eating more fruits and vegetables. Organic is always best.
5. Be careful with dresses, sauces and condiments that are often full of salt, chemicals and preservatives.
Digestive Healing Nutrients for AutoImmune Disease
Repairing the gut lining is necessary since there is a definite connection between gut health and autoimmune disease. 70-80% of our immune system lives in the gut so this should be our first line of defense. Besides probiotics (which we all know about), the following nutrients are very useful in the digestive healing process.
Glutamine is an amino acid found in grass fed dairy, bone broth, organic poultry and vegetarian sources such as broccoli, cabbage, beans, asparagus and Spirulina.
Ghee is made from heating butter although it is free of casein and lactose (which are typically the issues for most people consuming dairy). Ghee is one of the healthiest sources of saturated fat and helps to promote brain health. It contains choline and omega-3 fatty acids which are cognitive nutrients to help inflammation, mood and well-being.
Ghee also contains butyrate that promotes growth and repair of new tissues in the digestive tract. It can help to decrease inflammation in the gut, improve colon health as well as balance and strengthen the gut flora.
3. Coconut Oil
This oil is a healing nutrient for Leaky Gut and people who have compromised digestion. If helps those with poor absorption to digest and absorb calcium and magnesium in addition to eradicating candida. Coconut oil contains caprylic and lauric acid which helps to kill pathogenic yeast and bacteria.
It strengthens the stomach lining and boosts the secretion of mucus which protects against damage from gastric acid. Curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) prevents gas and bloating in addition to balancing the gut flora and immune response. It encourages the glands on the surface to regenerate and heal when leaky gut or pathogenic bacteria is present. The anti-inflammatory properties from turmeric also are beneficial for relieving joint and muscle pain (often present in autoimmune patients).
How Stress Affects Immune Function
Stress and immune function are directly related. Stress can be the trigger that precipitates an autoimmune disease. Chronic stress following an emotional event can be the event that is the final moment before the health decline occurs. Over time, the adrenals are no longer able to produce adequate hormones such as cortisol DHEA and testosterone. This syndrome is referred to as Adrenal Fatigue.
Chronic stress also can alter the microbiome causing digestive issues such as dysbiosis (responsible for leaky gut, yeast and parasites). Acid indigestion, constipation and diarrhea can also occur as a result of stress.
To deal with stress – good nutrition, therapy, meditation, yoga, light exercise and adrenal supplements are very useful. On the top of that list is adequate sleep!