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There are over 100 different autoimmune diseases in the human body. Your own body can attack every part of your body. It’s a wonder that we are as healthy as we are! So many things have to go right for us to function without issue daily. More than 1 in 10 worldwide suffers from an autoimmune disease! Considering over 7 billion people are on this earth, that is hard to comprehend. It is more prevalent in certain parts of the world than others and has a strong genetic correlation, especially among some autoimmune diseases such as Celiac disease. Although technically, there is no cure for autoimmune disease, there are steps you can take to reduce symptoms and possibly bring your illness into remission. As an autoimmune nutritionist, I tend to focus on food first. 

How To Get Rid Of Autoimmune Disease:

  1. Remove nutrient-depleted food – This means removing processed food from your diet. Now, if you talk to some people, they will tell you everything we eat is processed. That is true; even that bag of lettuce you get from the store is processed. What I am referring to is very different. Processed, in this definition, means looking for food that has added very few ingredients and is as close to its natural state as possible. (Think fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat, etc). Look for foods low in unhealthy fats, added sugar, and salt. Check the ingredient list and avoid food that contains artificial ingredients and preservatives. 
  2. Remove infections – Getting tested for parasites, yeast, viruses, bacteria, or Lyme.
  3. Remove heavy metals & mold – Getting tested for mold and heavy metal toxicity. Certain metals can cause autoimmune disease.
  4. Remove stress – Remove relationships and stressors that don’t serve to increase your happiness in life.
  5. Replace with nutrient-rich food – Replace what you eat with whole foods such as nuts, seeds, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and healthy fats. Healthy fats include avocados, avocado oil, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. 
  6. Replace – Add digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid, and bile salts if necessary. 
  7. Replace lifestyle habits – Replace habits such as drinking and smoking with healthier habits like talking with friends, mocktails, and working with a counselor. 
  8. Reincoculate – Add probiotics and prebiotics from either supplementation, food, or both. 
  9. Repair your gut with supplements– This is done through all mentioned above, in addition to adding accessories or food you may need to include in your diet. This includes supplements like Vitamin D, glutathione, magnesium, NAC, and Omega-3 fatty acids. I have done several blog posts reviewing different accessories that may be helpful for autoimmune disease. 
  10. Repair your gut through diet – Sometimes, looking at food allergies or sensitivities is necessary. This can be done through testing; however, one of the best ways I have seen in my clinical practice is through food journaling. Writing down what you are eating along with symptoms for a couple of weeks is a surefire way to identify food that may be causing your body issues. Also, rotating your food every 3-4 days to ensure you do not gain additional sensitivities is something I commonly promote with my clients. In addition, intermittent fasting has also been shown to be helpful for some people in the gut-healing process. 
  11. Rebalance Sleep– Sleep is essential for the immune system because it allows the body to produce and release cytokines, which are proteins that help to fight infection and inflammation. Cytokines are also involved in regulating the immune system’s response to stress. During sleep, the body also produces white blood cells, which are the cells that fight infection. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body will not have enough white blood cells to fight infection. In addition, sleep helps the body repair damaged cells and tissues. This is important for the immune system because it allows the body to recover from infection and injury. When you don’t get enough sleep, you are more likely to get sick and recover from illness. 
  12. Rebalance Exercise – Exercise is essential because it can reduce inflammation, which can cause the immune system to weaken. It helps with stress and improves mood, boosting the immune system. Every time you exercise, your body releases hormones that help increase white blood cells. White blood cells are the body’s first line of defense against illness. It reduces the risk of almost all diseases and can help with sleep. The key here is balance. It is also possible to over-exercise, which can cause inflammation and have the opposite effect of what was said above. The key is moderation and to listen to your body. 
  13. Rebalance Stress – When stressed, your body releases certain hormones that can reduce your body’s ability to fight infections. Stress can cause inflammation, disrupt your sleep, and lead to unhealthy behaviors such as drinking, eating unhealthy, and smoking. Finding ways to reduce stress and have stress management skills is essential to recovery from any illness. This can be taking baths, exercising, talking with friends and family, meditation, getting outdoors, sauna, or any other healthy activity that allows your stress to feel more manageable. 
  14. Having a team – What does it mean to have a team? A team is a family, friends, nutritionist, provider, counselor, spiritual advisor, or anyone else who supports, educates, or empowers you. The saying it takes a village is true when it comes to your health.

The key to helping get better from your autoimmune disease is that you have to look at your whole life. There isn’t just one thing that will make your symptoms better. You have to look at it like an entire lifestyle change. It isn’t something you have to do all at once. You can choose to tackle one thing at a time. Over time, you will feel better and see results. Working with your provider and nutritionist is a great way to help you figure out which step to take first.

One-on-one nutrition counseling session focusing on autoimmune dietary strategies.

About Stephanie

Stephanie has earned the AIP Certified Coach Practitioner certificate, completed her internship at Elevate Health, clinical rotation at NUNM, then went onto open her own practice, Nutrition for Autoimmunity. She graduated from Portland State University and earned a master’s degree in Nutrition from National University of Natural Medicine.

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