With the plethora of diets that have overtaken the health and wellness industry such as keto, whole 30, low carb, juicing, etc., there arises the question of whether a specific lupus diet exists and if so, what does it entail? Is it the Mediterranean diet?
According to the Lupus Foundation of America, there is no particular diet that can be labeled as the “lupus diet.” Every individual is unique and can have different experiences. However, there is new research that suggests that diet therapy could play a role in treatment. From these studies, we can learn more about general recommendations and findings about nutrition for those with lupus.
Lupus patients often experience weight gain as a result of corticosteroid therapy. In a 6 week study conducted with 23 women all diagnosed with lupus SLE and receiving low doses of corticosteroids, all women were placed either on a low calorie deficit or low glycemic index diet. At the end of the 6 week period, both groups experienced significant weight loss and a reduction in fatigue levels. There appeared to be no statistically significant difference in weight loss between the two diet groups. These findings suggest that there are multiple ways lupus patients can go about maintaining their health, and that diet manipulation can potentially help reduce fatigue, a symptom of the disease.
In another study, researchers conducted a systematic review of the effects of dietary intervention in people with lupus. Researchers concluded that
- omega-3 supplements helped reduce inflammation and disease activity
- vitamin D supplements reduced inflammatory markers
- turmeric supplements helped reduce hematuria and blood pressure.
In another review in which researchers hoped to determine the effects particular nutrients have on lupus disease activity, researchers highlighted the importance of the following:
- a diet rich in vitamins A, B6, C, D and E
- adequate Fiber Intake
- balanced calorie consumption
- moderate protein
- no smoking or vaping
- optimal Blood pressure
Lastly, in a cross-sectional research study conducted with 280 individuals with lupus, researchers found that the Mediterranean diet does, in fact, reduce disease activity and cardiovascular risk. The Mediterranean diet includes plant-based foods, foods with anti-inflammatory properties, vegetables, nuts, legumes, moderate protein, whole grains, fruits and avoids foods like red meat, alcohol, and processed foods.
So what do all these studies and findings suggest? While there is no lupus diet, the most optimal diet for an individual with lupus is one that includes vitamins, minerals, moderate calories, anti-inflammatory foods and supplements. There actually isn’t much difference between the optimal nutrition of a lupus patient and an individual without any conditions. The goal is to pick nutritious foods that make you feel good and find what works best for you! For more helpful tips, check out our previous blog about the best diet and nutrition based on research.