The 20 Best Foods To Fight Lupus

Young, gorgeous, famous and on top of the world: Selena Gomez is the last person you’d expect to come down with a scary, chronic autoimmune disorder. Yet when the “Good for You” singer revealed this week that she’d undergone chemotherapy treatment for the illness, a lot of women realized that they needed to know more about this disease that strikes 1.5 million Americans, primarily women between the ages of 15 and 44.

The 20 Best Foods To Fight Lupus

Young, gorgeous, famous and on top of the world: Selena Gomez is the last person you’d expect to come down with a scary, chronic autoimmune disorder. Yet when the “Good for You” singer revealed this week that she’d undergone chemotherapy treatment for the illness, a lot of women realized that they needed to know more about this disease that strikes 1.5 million Americans, primarily women between the ages of 15 and 44.

Lupus sets the immune system into attack mode, but in this case, it starts attacking one’s own body. While lupus is treatable with medication, there is no way to prevent the disease.

“We’d all like to believe eating right and exercising could help prevent autoimmune disease, but if you look at it from a distance, and an objective POV, the data is not rock solid,” says Dr. R. Swamy Venuturupalli, MD FACR is the Clinical Chief of Rheumatology, Cedars Sinai Medical Center and the Co-Chair of the Lupus LA Medical Advisory Board. “I really need to make that clear. The studies have been too small or inconclusive. That said, a society, we go for fast meals, on-the-go, high-energy foods, which generally means we’re overdoing carbs and processed foods. And many of those lead to inflammation, which affects the immune system. There are also big offenders like gluten, soy, peanuts—they seem to capture a lot of people’s sensitivities. Having more anti-inflammatory foods that are raw and have enzymes and vitamins in them that can be processed by the body—that makes sense to me. As do foods rich in Vitamin D and calcium.”

With this in mind, Eat This, Not That! compiled a list of the top anti-inflammatory foods—as well as those high in calcium. And as an added bonus, they’ll help lower your risk of other inflammation-based health issues, from obesity to heart disease. And to see how Maria Menounos, Padma Lakshmi, Insanity trainer Shaun T and others blast dangerous belly fat fast, don’t miss these 50 Best-Ever Weight-Loss Secrets from Thin People!

LUPUS SUPERFOOD #1

GREEK YOGURT

Don’t be fooled into thinking the offerings at Pinkberry are going to do your body biome right. All of the processing that frozen yogurt goes through kills off most of the healthy cultures. And even most yogurts you buy in the dairy section are so high in sugar that they’ll do more for the bad bacteria in your belly than they will for the good. If you choose to eat yogurt, look for the words “live active cultures” on the label, and for brands with less than 20 grams of sugar per serving. Most Greek yogurts are higher in protein and lower in sugar than their non-Greek counterparts. And for a mega-dose of healthy proteins—without the inflammation—click on this essential list of The 29 Best Proteins for Weight Loss.

LUPUS SUPERFOOD #2

SUNFLOWER SEEDS

Top salads with these seeds for some added crunch, or munch on a one-ounce serving as a snack. In addition to their calcium content, these tiny seeds are also a good source of antioxidant-rich vitamin E and copper—a nutrient that supports white blood cell health.

LUPUS SUPERFOOD #3

WHITE TEA

Any tea will help soothe your nerves, but white tea packs a particular one-two punch that can actually attack belly fat. A study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism showed that white tea can simultaneously boost lipolysis (the breakdown of fat) and block adipogenesis (the formation of fat cells). The tea’s combination of caffeine and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) seems to set fat cells up for defeat. We at Eat This, Not That! love tea so much, we made it part of our bestselling new diet plan, The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse! Test panelists lost 10 pounds in one week!

LUPUS SUPERFOOD #4

FIGS

While figs may be best known for their inclusion in the famous Fig Newton cookies, you’ll have to eat the whole fruit to reap its bone-building benefits. Chop up fresh or dried figs and add them to oatmeal, salads or Greek yogurt with some honey, cinnamon and slivered almonds. Alternatively, you can eat them whole as a quick, on-the-go snack. Three of them will cost you 110 calories.

LUPUS SUPERFOOD #5

BROCCOLI OR BROCCOLI RABE

It seems mom was onto something when she told you how important it was to eat your broccoli. This cruciferous vegetable is rich in calcium and a host of other good-for-you nutrients—as is its slightly bitter-tasting cousin, broccoli rabe. A cup of the steamed variety has a whopping 301 milligrams of bone-protecting calcium and is a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C, too. Add both veggies to your diet to stay strong and healthy—and to lose weight fast, read these 25 Most Overlooked Ways to Lose Weight!

LUPUS SUPERFOOD #6

SWEET POTATOES

This humble root vegetable is a good source of calcium, potassium, and vitamins A and C. That’s a serious line up for such a simple spud. Instead of baking one in the oven, why not tap into your culinary creativity and use the spuds to make some homemade fries? (Who doesn’t love fries?!) After slicing the potato lengthwise into strips, top with coconut oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder, and pop them into the oven on 350 degrees F until they’re crispy.

LUPUS SUPERFOOD #7

ORANGES

While this citrus fruit is best known for its rich vitamin C content, one large orange also provides 74 milligrams of calcium. Enjoy the fruit solo as a snack, or pair some slices with spinach, slivered almonds, grilled chicken, shallots and a ginger dressing to create an Asian-style salad. And to learn which foods NOT to eat, read these 20 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet.

LUPUS SUPERFOOD #8

KELP

kelp

Kelp, a variety of sea vegetable, is commonly found in Asian dishes. A cup of the greens serves up 134 milligrams of calcium, in addition to a hefty dose of fiber and iodine—a mineral that helps maintain thyroid health. If you like making homemade smoothies and juice, substitute kelp for kale to reap the benefits. Big fan of miso soup? Throw some kelp into the broth to up its nutritional value.

LUPUS SUPERFOOD #9

COLLARD GREENS

A staple of Southern cuisine, collard greens have an incredible ability to cleanse your system of excess cholesterol, especially when steamed. A recent study published in the journal Nutrition Research compared the bile-acid-binding capacity of steamed collard greens to Cholestyramine, a cholesterol-lowering drug. Incredibly, the collards improved the body’s cholesterol-blocking process by 13 percent more than the drug! Just hold the artery-clogging fried chicken. (“But what about kale?” you might be asking. The robust salad staple is a wonderful food to have on hand, but we found 10 Greens Healthier Than Kale!

LUPUS SUPERFOOD #10

WHITE BEANS

White beans serve up not only a healthy dose of belly-filling fiber, muscle-building protein and bloat-busting potassium, but also a significant dose of calcium. Need another reason to add some to your plate? The musical fruit is rich in something called resistant starch, a nutrient that increases metabolism and helps promote fat oxidation and prevents long-term fat accumulation.

LUPUS SUPERFOOD #11

GUACAMOLE

Think of guacamole as a designated driver for your digestive system. A study in The Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry analyzed the effects of feeding 22 different fruits to a group of rats with liver damage caused by galactosamine, a liver toxin. The fruit that proved most beneficial? You guessed it: the avocado. Cilantro, the savory herb that gives guac its distinctive flavor, contains a unique blend of oils that send a “simmer down!” message to an upset stomach. In fact, these two oils (specifically, linalool and geranyl acetate) are so powerful they’ve been shown to have a positive impact on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a study published in the journal Digestive Diseases and Science. (There are easy ways to enjoy it on the run, too. Check out the 50 Best Snacks for Weight Loss!

LUPUS SUPERFOOD #12

SAUTÉED GREENS

You likely know that adding more greens to your plate is a low-cal, healthy move, but did you know that kale, turnip and mustard greens can also help keep your bones strong? It’s true! To get the most of the mineral from these vegetables, you’ll want to consume them cooked—not raw. So take out your steamer or sauté up a batch with some seasoning for a quick, strengthening side dish.

LUPUS SUPERFOOD #13

SARDINES

Sardines are one of the best sources of dairy-free calcium out there, with 33% of your recommended daily intake (that’s 325 mg). Look for varieties canned with the bones, which are soft and completely edible. Sorry, that’s a non-negotiable. The bones are where all the calcium comes from! So while it may seem hard to swallow, this is the variety you’ve got to consume if you want to reap the benefits. Toss the fish into a bed of leafy greens with tomato, cucumber, olives, feta and red wine vinegar. The combo makes for a tasty, Mediterranean-inspired dish. For a quick snack, top whole-grain crackers with two or three sardines and a squeeze of fresh lemon for added flavor—and read these other 28 Ways to Get Skinny From Weight-Loss Experts!

LUPUS SUPERFOOD #14

TURMERIC

You can put an ice pack on your throbbing head, but to get the same anti-inflammatory effect throughout the rest of your body, order the curry. Curcumin, a compound derived from the bright-orange spice turmeric, works as a powerful anti-inflammatory in the liver, research shows. A study in the journal Gut found supplementing with curcumin could significantly reduce bile duct blockage and curbed scarring (fibrosis) by interfering with chemical reactions involved in the inflammatory process.

LUPUS SUPERFOOD #15

WILD SALMON

If quitting smoking is a New Year’s resolution, add a side of salmon. Researchers say a healthy diet rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids may then help to reverse arterial stiffness—a common side effect of smoking, which, like a kinked hose, inhibits the flow of cleansing blood through the arteries and to vital organs. A three-week study in the International Journal of Cardiology found smokers who supplemented with just 2 grams of omega-3s a day—what you’ll find in a 4-ounce portion of salmon—saw marked improvement in the elasticity of the arteries, allowing for healthy blood flow. (Just make sure you’re buying wild versions. Find out why in our exclusive report on the 8 Reasons You Should Never Order the Salmon.)

LUPUS SUPERFOOD #16

LEMON WATER

Start each day by making a large pitcher of “spa” water filled with sliced whole lemons, and make a point of sipping your way through at least 8 glasses before bedtime. Citrus fruits are rich in the antioxidant de-limonene, a powerful compound found in the peel that stimulates liver enzymes to help flush toxins from the body and gives sluggish bowels a kick, according to the World Health Organization.

LUPUS SUPERFOOD #17

OATMEAL WITH BERRIES

What’s so magical about this combination? Each ingredient provides insoluble fiber that helps feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. By doing so, you trigger your gut to produce butyrate, a fatty acid that reduces fat-causing inflammation throughout your body. In a Canadian study, researchers discovered that those whose diets were supplemented with insoluble fiber had higher levels of ghrelin—a hormone that controls hunger. Shed pounds easily—and in minutes—by cooking up these essential, delicious and proven Best-Ever Overnight Oats Recipes!

LUPUS SUPERFOOD #18

ASPARAGUS

When you’re huddled over a plate of greasy diner food, begging the Hangover Gods for forgiveness, ask the waiter for a side of steamed asparagus. According to a study in the Journal of Food Science, the amino acids and minerals found in asparagus may alleviate hangover symptoms and protect liver cells against toxins. The veggie spears are also a natural diuretic, which will help flush the excess toxins from your system.

LUPUS SUPERFOOD #19

DARK CHOCOLATE

A recent study found that antioxidants in cocoa prevented laboratory mice from gaining excess weight and actually lowered their blood sugar levels. And another study at Louisiana State University found that gut microbes in our stomach ferment chocolate into heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory compounds that shut down genes linked to insulin resistance and inflammation. To enhance the effects, try pairing your chocolate with some apple slices: The fruit speeds up the fermentation process, leading to an even greater reduction in inflammation and weight. Speaking of enjoing “guilty” pleasures, learn how to eat cheaply and nutritiously with this list of Every Menu Item at McDonald’s—Ranked!

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