Five Healthy Foods That May Be Making Your Autoimmune Disease Worse

Eggs and Nuts
By Be Well Health Coach Megan McGrane

Are you eating healthfully and watching your diet as a way to manage your autoimmune symptoms, but you just don’t know why you continue to have symptoms such as bloating, upset stomach, joint pain or rashes?  Although you are eating foods you believe to be healthy, here are five foods that may be triggering your autoimmune symptoms and keeping you inflamed, despite your best intentions.

Corn

You may already know that avoiding gluten is essential to your health if you have an autoimmune disease, but did you know that even though corn does not contain gluten, it can be almost equally as irritating to the gut lining? This is because corn can look like gluten to your body and cause what is known as a ‘cross-reaction’.  Your body actually thinks the proteins in corn are gluten and sets off your immune system.  Many believe this is because corn has been genetically modified and cross-bred for decades, altering its genetic structure. Additionally, corn is a higher glycemic index vegetable, meaning it readily converts to sugar in the body. We know that any foods rapidly converting to sugar will cause an insulin response and can contribute to inflammation.

Nuts

While nuts are a convenient snack that can provide quick energy, eating too many nuts could be hindering your healing.  While nuts contain anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids, they are also high in Omega-6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory. Striking the right balances is critical and over-eating nuts can actually cause increased inflammation. Nuts are also high in phytic acid which is known as an ‘anti-nutrient’. Phytic acid binds to essential minerals in digestive tract and can prevent the minerals from being absorbed. While having nuts or nut butter on occasion is great, overindulging can hinder your healing.

Goji Berries

Goji Berries are part of the nightshade family, which includes vegetables like eggplant, tomatoes, white potatoes, and peppers.  Nightshades often cause inflammation and joint pain in patients with autoimmune disease.  While goji berries are loaded with antioxidants and super food qualities, they may not be a super food for you if you suffer from inflammation and joint pain.

“Gluten Free’ Foods

While maintaining a gluten free diet is essential to repairing your gut and lowering your inflammation, eating packaged and processed “gluten free foods” may be hindering your healing.  Processed foods, even if gluten free, often contain preservatives, sugar, additives and chemicals that will not support your healing. As I tell patients, if the product has to tell you on the label that it is gluten free you probably should not be eating it. Consider it this way: organic protein, fruits, fresh vegetables and healthy fats do not have labels announcing that they are gluten free.  Sticking with whole foods, and eliminating processed foods like packaged “gluten-free” items will help minimize your inflammation.

Eggs

Organic, grass-fed eggs are a fantastic food for quick and filling protein that is high in amino acids and nutrients.  Unfortunately, if you are dealing with gut inflammation, leaky gut and autoimmune disease, eggs could be making your symptoms worse.  Egg whites tend to be particularly troublesome in autoimmune inflammation because they can permeate the gut lining and cause the immune system to react even more. Luckily, this does not mean that eggs are off of the table forever. Often times patients find that once they heal their gut and cool off the inflammation in their bodies, they can return to having eggs in their diet. Removing all eggs for two to four weeks can help you identify if they are troublesome for you.

By focusing on a whole foods diet, eliminating processed foods and also watching out for these five trigger foods, you can begin to heal your gut and decrease your autoimmune symptoms.

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  • Layla Ward

    When you say nuts, would this include almond milk? Its a staple for me.

  • Layla Ward

    I tested sensitive to corn and have been avoiding it for a year. Is it ok to ocassionally eat organic corn?

  • Sound Body Life

    Interesting article. It is good to know that Goji Berries may be exacerbating a problem. In my experience I have observed that joint inflammation can be affected by the acidity level of a diet as well. For example, acidic substances such as tomatoes and coffee can contribute to inflammation, while balancing the acidity in your diet can reduce it. Arthritic-prone individuals in particular may see vast improvements through controlling the alkalinity of their drinking water.

  • Anonymous

    It really depends on your symptoms and the severity of your autoimmune condition. If you keep corn out of your diet generally, you may notice an unpleasant reaction when you have corn occasionally and that can help you determine how strict you need to be.

  • Anonymous

    As Megan explains in the article, it really depends upon your specific condition and finding the right balance for you. If you are healing an auto-immune disorder, you may want to cut the nuts and almond milk for 2 weeks and then see how you feel when you re-introduce it. That can help you determine if it is a problem for you. Best of luck with your health.

  • Layla Ward

    Thanks!

  • healingjourneygirl

    Not surprised about the corn. A while ago I was reading someone’s work in a paper about their theory how they believe corn intolerance will be the next big thing (just like gluten intolerance). As with gluten / refined wheat, corn is very cheap to add to foods and people are consuming it in large amounts (particularly in processed cereals, foods, etc). I know I can’t eat corn products, unless it is fresh / lightly cooked on the cob (even then I don’t know if it is that great for my body). I know Mexican people have been consuming corn for hundred of years and it is a big part of their culture. However, from my understanding, Mexicans have used an old age soaking and fermentation process (with some form of lime powder) to make it more digestible.

  • healingjourneygirl

    Also, in parts of Africa where corn is eaten, people use a similar soaking and fermentation process. Unfortunately, in the Western diet / world, a lot of people do not know about preparing grains in such a way that makes them easier on the stomach. That is my experience and observation anyway. I know I never grew up learning that it is important to soak certain grains, nuts, etc. Good thing I know now and I can teach others. : )

  • Dan

    Lay off the egg whites and include the whole egg’s Shell’s and all, inside the shells is membrane composed of collagen 1, also 3,4,5,10, these collagen’s heal on contact, and since we cannot attack our food, the collagen molecules in eggs membrane is a perfect match to our own, shuts off AI attacks, lets your body start healing, eat the whole thing, membrane in eggs is living collagen, if you cook it you kill it and render its medicinal properties virtually useless, so eat them raw, stay on and build up slowly from 1-2 a day till you get to 4 eggs 2 x daily over months to come and watch AI conditions dissappear and your health return,

  • Dan

    http://www.regenerativenutrition.com/content.asp?id=268
    oh I wash mine like I do my hands, (your hands contamanate the egg’s shells, and I eat the shells as well for the calcium and 27 nutrents in the shells for better blood transport, the rest below, but they are good for you raw !!!

  • Dan

    IF you eat the Whole Raw Egg it has Collagen type 1 in the egg shells membrane (most toss this away !) however with the ultra dense nutritional HBV of the egg is scores 100% (no food is higher than eggs ) now here is the surprising part the ingested collagen from the eggs are identical to our own and will induce Oral tolerance ! = thus you stop degrading collagen from AI attacks and now are producing healthy cells and collagen from a food source that literally has every possible nutrient to be able to Create a living creature ! (As we are ! )

  • Dan

    IF you eat the Whole Raw Egg it has Collagen type 1 in the egg shells membrane (most toss this away !) however with the ultra dense nutritional HBV of the egg is scores 100% (no food is higher than eggs ) now here is the surprising part the ingested collagen from the eggs are identical to our own and will induce Oral tolerance ! = thus you stop degrading collagen from AI attacks and now are producing healthy cells and collagen from a food source that literally has every possible nutrient to be able to Create a living creature ! (As we are ! )

  • Char

    How do you prepare and eat the egg and eggshells?

  • Dan
  • Dan
  • Dan

    MY VEGAN / PLANT BASED DIET CHINA STUDY ! if 30’s is old > http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/history-of-life-expectancy

  • Graham Ansell

    Nice one :D

  • Graham Ansell

    Sounds perfect, thanks for sharing

  • Graham Ansell

    Store bought Almond milk usually only contains 2% almonds so it should be fine, especially as it’s mostly liquid, already broken down