Can the Paleo Diet Help Calm Autoimmune Issues?

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Paleo Diet can help alleviate symptoms of autoimmune diseaseBy Nell Stephenson
Author of Paleoista

Following the Paleo Diet is not just a way to reach one’s healthy, lean body weight. It also happens to be an excellent conduit to addressing symptoms of autoimmune disease, including multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid disease.

Autoimmune diseases are the third most common class of illnesses in the U.S., and women make up nearly 80 percent of those who suffer from them, according to Dr. Loren Cordain, the father of Paleo, in his latest book, The Paleo Answer.

I’ve worked with many clients who’ve found tremendous relief—and sometimes complete cessation of their symptoms—once they cut out the dietary culprits that can make day-to-day living a painfully excruciating existence. The bottom line is that the Paleo Diet is a very alkaline and anti-inflammatory diet.

When we cut out grains, we stop the process known as “leaky gut,” which occurs as a result of ingesting the anti-nutrients found in even the gluten-free grains. They not only prevent us from properly absorbing the vitamins and minerals from the healthy fruits and veggies we eat, but they create a process whereby microscopic lesions begin to develop in the gut, increasing intestinal permeability and subsequently allowing food and bacteria to leak out into the bloodstream.

Inflammation begins in the gut, but unfortunately it spreads throughout the entire body. When someone is already on “high alert” while battling an auto-immune disease, this heightened inflammation can cause things to go from bad to worse very quickly.

Eating legumes, which possess a different set of anti-nutrients and are no less harmful, elicits the same reaction. The good news is that when the Paleo Diet is followed properly, people don’t need to worry about either of these groups of plants wreaking havoc on their bodies.

Another note of caution to consider if doing the Paleo Diet as part of an auto-immune treatment. All the nightshade plants—tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and peppers—need to be eliminated. This group of foods is also associated with inflammation.

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Joshua Graham earned his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University, and a master's degree from Juilliard. He has performed as a soloist and principal cellist domestically and internationally. Today he lives with his wife and children in San Diego. Graham has served on the faculties of Columbia Union College, Western Maryland College, Shepherd College, and Brooklyn College.

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