According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), an astounding, 23.5 million Americans currently live with an autoimmune disorder. Of those people, approximately 75-80% are women!
Autoimmunity develops when your immune system misidentifies your body’s own tissues as a foreign intruder and launches a response. One cause of autoimmune disorders is the gut – when the body develops an intolerance to certain foods that are consumed, it can penetrate through the lining of the gut, which then leads to autoimmunity. Symptoms of autoimmunity can range from fatigue to headaches, brain fog, skin rashes, stomach upset and muscle aches.
There are simple, everyday things you can do to prevent the development of an autoimmune disease. Here are five tips Dr. Vojdani recommends:
1. Go gluten free!
Gluten is extremely inflammatory, and considered one of the leading causes of autoimmune disease. While not all gluten-free foods are created equal, or necessarily good for, you can begin to slowly convert to gluten-free foods with something simple like pasta.
2. Add a fermented food to your meal three times a week.
Fermented foods like Kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut or kimchi, contain healthy bacteria that help eliminate toxins, and aid the digestion of nutrients from the foods we eat. Adding one of these fermented foods to your diet, several times a week, can also help strengthen the lining of your digestive tract to prevent leaky gut.
3. Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to your daily smoothie.
Flaxseeds are 41% fat and 21% protein. Increasing your protein intake with something like ground flaxseeds or chia seeds is an excellent source of protein to boost the immune system. Mix a tablespoon into your daily smoothly or yogurt parfait!
4. Skip breakfast once a week.
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. Intermittent fasting gives digestion a break and calms down the immune system. As you begin to take baby steps into prevent an autoimmune disease, you can also gradually increase the number of days you skip breakfast.
5. Improve your sleep hygiene to get a better night’s rest.
Sleep is the most important immune boosters! When you sleep cortisol and adrenaline levels drop, helping to counteract any inflammation your body has developed during the day.
Set yourself up for a good night’s rest with good sleep hygiene habits. A few great sleep hygiene habits you can do include, setting a consistent sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, eliminating the use screens like your computers, smartphones and TV during your bedtime routine and exercising regularly.
Ten percent of the world’s population are living with some form of autoimmune disease – and that number is rapidly growing. While there are many contributing factors to developing an autoimmune disorder, the foods we eat are a very big contributing factor.
Founder of Regenera Medical, Elroy Vojdani, MD, IFMCP, newest book, When Food Bites Back, Taking Control of Autoimmune Disease, is being released very soon.
This easy to digest, must-have consumer guide explains the relationship between the foods we eat and how they can lead to one of over 100 autoimmune disorders.