An autoimmune disorder is a condition in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy cells, tissues, and organs. There are over 80 different autoimmune disorders, each with its own set of symptoms and triggers.
Functional medicine practitioners take a holistic and personalized approach to treating autoimmune disorders, recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Diet plays a crucial role in managing autoimmune disorders and can help to reduce inflammation and support the overall health of the immune system.
The first step in developing a dietary plan for someone with an autoimmune disorder is to conduct a thorough evaluation of the individual’s health history, symptoms, and current dietary habits. From there, a functional medicine practitioner may recommend an elimination diet, which involves removing certain foods known to be common triggers for autoimmune symptoms, such as gluten, dairy, soy, and nightshades. This helps to identify any personal food triggers that may be exacerbating symptoms.
Once potential triggers have been identified, a functional medicine practitioner will work with the individual to reintroduce these foods one at a time and monitor for any symptoms that may occur. This process helps to identify the specific foods that may be causing problems and allows the individual to develop a personalized plan that minimizes symptoms and supports overall health.
In addition to identifying and avoiding personal triggers, a functional medicine practitioner may recommend certain dietary changes to support overall health, such as:
- Emphasizing nutrient-dense, whole foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
- Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods, such as leafy greens, berries, and fatty fish
- Limiting or avoiding processed foods and added sugars, which can contribute to inflammation
- Incorporating healthy fats, such as olive oil and avocado, which can help to reduce inflammation and support overall health
- Experimenting with a low-FODMAP diet for those with gut issues, as the gut plays a crucial role in autoimmune disorders
- Considering a gluten-free or paleo-based diet, as gluten has been linked to autoimmune disorders
It’s important to note that dietary recommendations should be tailored to the individual and their specific autoimmune disorder. It’s also important to work with a functional medicine practitioner or a registered dietitian to develop an appropriate plan that meets the person’s unique needs and goals.