If you're living with an autoimmune disease, you know that every day can be a challenge. And when it comes to weight loss, things can feel downright impossible. What if I told you that making a few small tweaks to your diet and daily routine could help ease symptoms of your autoimmune disease, improve your overall health, and even promote weight loss? Believe it or not, it’s true! Read on for our list of seven easy ways to boost your autoimmune weight loss.
Drinking water has many benefits, especially for those of us living with autoimmune disease. Water is key to helping our kidneys filter out toxins and waste (aka urine and stool). Many autoimmune diseases cause inflammation within our joints and muscles. A hydrated body is an important tool to limber up your connective tissues, muscles, and joints. Water also is important for our vascular system (blood supply), lungs, and heart to function. Add a warm glass of water plus lemon first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything else and start your day off hydrated!
Choose The Right Type Of Exercise
Exercise is so incredibly important for autoimmune diseases but if you aren’t doing the right types of autoimmune exercise, you can actually cause exercise induced flares. Symptoms include excessive joint and muscle pain, headaches, flu like symptoms, fevers, chills, fatigue, and autoimmune-specific symptoms. Exercise induced flares are common and often overlooked thanks to the toxic “no pain, no gain” mentality common in the fitness industry. Instead, try to walk 20-30 minutes everyday to help stimulate your immune system but not overtax it and cause debilitating flares.
Eat Plenty Of Fiber
Eating fiber is a great way to improve your health. It helps with weight loss, lowers cholesterol levels and improves the overall function of your gut. Fiber feeds the gut microbiome in our bodies and that microbiome has been shown in many studies to have a massive influence over inflammation and weight loss. The USDA recommendation for women under 50 is 25g (38g for men) and women over 50 21g (or 30g for men). Your best sources for fiber are fruits and vegetables (leave the edible skin on!) and whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and beans.
Eat Lean Protein
Protein is arguably the most important macronutrient we consume every day. It’s used for practically everything the body does from vitamin and mineral transport, to waste transport, digestion, homeone balance and production, and many more. Eating protein at every meal has been shown to help control hunger, reduce cravings, and increase feelings of fullness. Add 1 (2 for men) palm sized amounts of protein at each meal. Protein loves to be paired with fiber, so don’t forget those veggies!
Get Your Vitamin D And B12 Levels Checked
Vitamin D is super important for immune function. According to some studies, as much as 42% of the US population may be deficient in Vitamin D. There are over 130 studies showing a correlation between low vitamin D and various autoimmune diseases. Vitamin B12 is nicknamed the energy vitamin and is found naturally in meat proteins. Both of these vitamins can result in fatigue, weakness, and inflammation. If you are a plant-based eater, it's very important to monitor your B12 levels with your medical team and review the option of B12 shots if your levels are low. Reach out to your doctor and get your vitamin D and B12 levels checked.
Remove Added Sugars From Your Diet
A diet with added sugars over 100 calories (24 g/6 teaspoons) per day is considered high. Higher amounts of added sugar is known to increase inflammation throughout the body. It is also stored around your abdomen and other areas for later energy use. Added sugars also throw off your hormone levels, blood sugar, muscle ability to use insulin, not to mention they don’t have any nutrient benefit. Nutrient benefit meaning fiber, vitamins, minerals, or protein. Reducing your daily intake of added sugars to under 24 g per day, can have an amazing impact on your autoimmune healing, including weight loss, hormone balance, and reducing inflammation.
Remove Saturated Fat From Your Diet
Saturated fat is the unhealthy fat associated with ultra processed foods including donuts, pizza, and fried foods. The USDA recommends that Americans consume less than 10% of their total daily calories from saturated fats. If you are at risk for heart disease, they recommend further reducing it to no more than 7% of your daily calories. If you eat 2,000 calories a day, this is 22g at 10% or about 1 8-oz steak. High dietary saturated fat levels are associated with increased inflammation, higher cancer risks, heart disease, obesity, and metabolic disease. Don’t confuse saturated fat with total fat. Fat is an essential macronutrient, but the Standard American Diet (SAD) tends to rely too much on the unhealthy (saturated) fats versus the healthier fats found in avocados, legumes, and beans.
Weight loss can seem impossible when you have an autoimmune or other chronic health condition. But it doesn't have to be! By making these small tweaks in your diet and daily routine, you may find that symptoms of your autoimmune disease improve as well as the overall health of your body. And if these changes also help promote weight loss? That's just icing on the cake! (See what I did there??)
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