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What Is an Autoimmune Diet?

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Ask a Doctor

I’ve found that processed meats like prosciutto or salami makes my autoimmune condition (psoriasis) flare up. Are there foods to avoid when you have an autoimmune disease? What is an autoimmune diet?

Doctor’s Response

There is no one specific diet for autoimmune disease. However, symptoms of autoimmune diseases may be affected by food choices.

For example, a study in the journal Rheumatology found a plant-based and gluten-free diet can improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study found long-term intake of dietary fiber, especially from fruit, was associated with a lower risk of developing Crohn’s disease.

Some foods have anti-inflammatory properties and can help boost the immune system. These include leafy greens, squash, onions, mushrooms, and some spices such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, and cinnamon. Foods to avoid include those that can increase inflammation and hamper immune response such as sugar, gluten, meat, and dairy.

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Reviewed on 4/9/2019
Sources: References
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