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This is simply the 30-Day Paleo Reset diet, with the following additional foods removed completely:
- Eggs (both whites and yolks)
- Nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, pepinos, pimentos, paprika and cayenne pepper)
- Nuts (optional). While nuts are widely recognized to be nutritious and beneficial to health, a 30-day elimination may be a good option for very sensitive patients. Nuts are one of the most common allergens, and people with autoimmune disease are more likely to develop allergies and sensitivities, which could counteract efforts to heal the gut.
In addition to eliminating the foods above, I suggest you emphasize the foods below:
- Bone broth. Bone broth contains nutrients which help restore the integrity of the gut barrier (i.e. heals the “leaky gut”), an important goal for those with autoimmune disease.
- Meat on the bone and fatty cuts of meat. Like bone broth, meat on the bone or fatty cuts of meat contain gelatin, which helps heal the gut lining.
- Fermented vegetables and beverages (i.e. sauerkraut, kimchi, beet kvaas, coconut water kefir, etc.). Fermented foods are loaded with probiotic bacteria, which help restore the ecology of the gut and improve immune function.
- Fish and shellfish. Fish and shellfish contain high amounts of omega-3 fats, which are anti-inflammatory. Autoimmune diseases involve a chronic, low-grade state of inflammation. They also contain vitamin D, which helps to regulate the immune system. I recommend consuming at least one pound of cold-water, fatty fish per week to meet your EPA and DHA needs.
- Organ meats. Organ meats are loaded with all of the micronutrients that promote healthy immune function.
In addition to the foods above, the following micronutrients are important for those with autoimmune disease:
- Vitamins A & D: the fat-soluble vitamins play a crucial role in immune health. Vitamin D is particularly important as it supports proper T-regulatory cell function. High vitamin cod liver oil is the best source of A & D.
- Iodine & selenium: iodine and selenium are also crucial for immune health.
- Glutathione: One of the main functions of glutathione is to promote healthy function of immune cells called T regulatory cells. As their name suggests, T regulatory cells balance and regulate the immune system. If they’re not doing their job, the immune system can become overactive, which is a hallmark of autoimmune disease. Thus, it’s no surprise that people with autoimmune disease often have low levels of glutathione and T regulatory cells, and that improving glutathione status and T regulatory cell function can improve autoimmune disease. Standard, oral glutathione supplements are generally ineffective. Glutathione is a tripeptide, a molecule composed of three amino acids: glycine, cysteine, and glutamate. When glutathione is taken orally, these amino acids are broken down and absorbed individually in the digestive tract—which means the glutathione molecule is not absorbed intact in the cells where it’s needed. Another popular approach is to use glutathione precursors like N-acetyl cysteine (also called NAC) to provide the body with the “raw material” it needs to make glutathione. However, the ability to make this conversion may be impaired for several reasons in those that are chronically ill. Finally, some doctors like to administer glutathione intravenously. This is effective, but the effects are short-term and it involves significant expense and frequent office visits. Fortunately, two new forms of oral glutathione have been developed that both effectively increase cellular gluathione levels: liposomal glutathione and S-acetyl glutathione. The recommended doses are 400-500 mg per day and 300 mg twice per day, respectively.
- Other micronutrients such as niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), vitamin C, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, and manganese. The best way to optimize your intake of these nutrients is to focus on the foods which are highest in nutrient density, including: organ meats, herbs and spices, nuts and seeds, cacao, fish and seafood, fresh vegetables, red meat, pork, and poultry, and seaweed.