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Lupus

Content provided by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School

Question:

I have lupus. Do you have any dietary suggestions pertaining to my condition?


Answer:

Unfortunately, there are no foods or combinations of foods known to be helpful for lupus. And no specific foods have been identified that should be avoided. As a result, there aren't any specific dietary recommendations that will help you control the symptoms and signs due to your lupus.

However, there is growing evidence that people with lupus have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (such as stroke and heart attack) than people without lupus. And diet can make a big difference in one's cardiovascular disease risk.

So, I would recommend a "heart-healthy" diet—not because it may make your lupus better, but because it can help prevent cardiovascular problems. Such a diet might include:

  • Plenty of fruits and vegetables

  • High fiber, low-fat foods, especially whole grains

  • Limited intake of saturated and trans fat; instead choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (as found in nuts, fish, and canola oil)

  • Alcohol in moderation, for those who choose to drink

  • Moderation in total calorie intake (to avoid excess weight)

Of course, there are measures you can take besides modifying your diet to keep your heart healthy. Don't smoke. Exercise regularly. And get your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels checked regularly. Keep them in an ideal range through diet, exercise, and, if necessary, medications.

Some day we may discover particular foods or diets that help or worsen lupus. Until that happens, the dietary focus for people with lupus should be less about lupus and more about the heart.

Last Annual Review Date: 2011-12-15 Copyright: Harvard Health Publications

Reference: Bones, Joints and Muscles section on Better Medicine



Did You Know?

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Lupus occurs most frequently in women ages 15 - 40.