What is Autoimmune Diet? Its 2 Important Phases

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An autoimmune diet focuses on improving the overall health of a person. For someone who has any sort of autoimmune disease, the autoimmune protocol diet is very important. An autoimmune diet is quite similar to the paleo diet but it has more rules and regulations.

It is very important to know what is an autoimmune disease as well as an autoimmune diet. It is also very important to take care of your immune system as it protects us from a lot of foreign viruses, bacteria as well as other micro-organisms that cause disease and disorders.

This is Your Best Guide to Autoimmune Diet as well as Diseases.

1. What is an Autoimmune Disease?

Autoimmune disease is one where the immune system of the human body attacks certain cells or organs in the body instead of protecting them.

1.1) What is the Immune System?

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The immune system is supposed to take care of the human body. With the help of blood cells like red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, and many other tissues, the immune system protects the human body from various diseases and viruses.

But in some cases, the immune system does the reverse of what it is supposed to do. These issues are also known as autoimmune disorders. The immune system considers some cells or organs as foreign and attacks them thus making people sick.

Some examples of autoimmune diseases are rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, active inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, and many other such disorders.

Doctors and scientists state that some autoimmune diseases can be cured to some extent with the help of an autoimmune diet. That is why it is important to know which all foods must be avoided and what are their alternatives can be included in the diet. For instance, if someone has lupus then there are certain foods that they must avoid and there are other foods that must be added to the diet for seeing their benefits.

2. What is Autoimmune Diet or Autoimmune Protocol Diet?

An autoimmune diet focuses on reducing and dealing with the issues caused by autoimmune disease. For instance, it aims at reducing inflammation and many other such issues. Although clinical trials have shown mixed results it is worth a try.

The autoimmune diet has two phases: –

2.1) The Elimination Diet Phase: –

This is the first phase of the autoimmune diet plan. As the name suggests, the elimination autoimmune diet involves the elimination of all the foods and substances that in any way trigger inflammation or increase the symptoms of the autoimmune disease. This phase of the diet can also be known as the anti-inflammatory diet.

The eliminated foods are only the ones that can worsen your autoimmune diseases. This phase will help in maintaining the level of good and bad bacteria in the human body. It will help in preventing cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and autoimmune diseases.

According to the doctors, in the autoimmune diet phases foods like eggs, dairy products, grains, nuts, seeds, and nightshade vegetables are to be avoided. Dairy products like milk or yogurt can be harmful to some disorders which is why doctors tell their patients to avoid them. Likewise, other products like dry fruits might harm someone with allergies.

In this phase, certain beverages like coffee and tea are also avoided as they can act as a catalyst to your autoimmune symptoms. Certain foods like food additives, oily foods, and other such foods must be avoided for seeing better results. The best alternative for bad oil can be olive oil.

Alcoholic drinks and any kind of bad drugs must be avoided at any cost. Even if you take any alcoholic substance in a small amount, it will have bad repercussions. Certain medicines are also supposed to be avoided. But this depends strictly on the type of disease or disorder you have.

For instance, if someone has rheumatoid arthritis then they are supposed to cut the intake of certain specific medicines. On the other hand, if someone has Ulcerative colitis then they are advised to cut down on other types of medicines. Visit your doctor for testing which medicines are to be avoided by you.

This phase is not only about eliminating certain foods from your daily diet but also focuses on including certain foods in your diet. This makes your diet a balanced diet. The elimination phase will help you in dealing with any sort of chronic illness. Even if it doesn’t cure the disease, it is worth a try. Because this phase will keep your overall health good and keep you fit and fully functioning.

In this phase, foods like fermented foods and nutrient-dense foods are advised to be included in your diet. It will help you in dealing with any nutrient deficiencies that you might have. The main focus of this elimination phase is to reduce inflammation in any organ of the body.

The immune response after this phase is very positive and healthy. Some other good foods that can be included in the autoimmune diet are bone broth, organ meats, and other such foods.

This phase gives equal importance to physical activities like jogging and exercising etc. If you have a sedentary lifestyle then there is a dire need to change it. The AIP diet focuses on improving the lifestyle of a person. Therefore, doing some physical exercise is a must in this diet phase.

The autoimmune protocol diet also gives equal importance to mental health. It aims to provide good mental health to the patients. For this, they are advised to do things that are good for their mental health. Stress management is one of the most important steps in this phase.

People are also advised to have a proper sleeping schedule. The amount of sleep you get every night is very important. A good amount of sleep is required for keeping one’s body healthy. The perfect amount of sleep is at least six to eight hours. If you sleep less than six hours every day then this will negatively impact your body. Less amount of sleep not only causes dark circles but also affects the memorizing capability of a person.

It should be noted that this phase requires some time to show its results. For most people, it usually takes approximately thirty to ninety days. However, in some cases, it might show the benefits very quickly. For instance, some people might get to see the results in just two or three weeks.

Consistency is very important in this phase of an autoimmune diet. If you are not regular with the exercises you do or the healthy food that you eat then this phase will take a lot of time in showing its actual results.

There are various benefits of the elimination phase of the autoimmune diet: –

2.1.1) Helps in Dealing with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: –

Inflammatory bowel disease is a disease that causes inflammation in the digestive organs. For example, it can cause inflammation in the liver or any other organ of the digestive tract. There are two types of Inflammatory diseases: –

  1. Ulcerative Colitis: – In this disease, there is swelling in the colon as well as in the large intestine of the digestive tract.

  2. Crohn’s disease: – This disorder affects the digestive tract more deeply. It usually attacks the small intestine.

With the help of the elimination phase of the autoimmune diet, the symptoms of this disease can be handled nicely. The basic symptoms of the disorder are fatigue, bleeding, diarrhea, and many other similar symptoms. It is quite anti-inflammatory which ultimately helps in managing the symptoms

With the help of the elimination phase, the patients get healthy nutrients as well as physical exercises. Both of them are very much required by the human body for good functioning.

2.2) The Reintroduction Phase: –

In this phase, people are advised to reintroduce foods rich in various types of nutrients. The AIP diet aims at including all nutritious foods in the daily diet of the patient to make it a balanced diet.

After there is a certain amount of improvement in the symptoms, the patients are advised to start the intake of foods that were previously restricted to them. One previously restricted food is reintroduced at one time in the patient’s diet.

This reintroduction of the foods depends strictly on the tolerance of the patients. Here one food is introduced at a time. There has to be a mandatory gap of at least one week before the introduction of any other food.

The main aim of this phase of the autoimmune diet is to check which all foods are good for a patient. In other words, this phase checks what foods do not trigger the symptoms of a patient.

For instance, if a food that was previously restricted to the patient is reintroduced in this phase and it does not cause any reactions, then this means that the patient is allowed to eat this food.

This phase ensures that a person has all the required nutrients that might have been missed. It will also help a person in checking if they are still allergic to any particular food. In this case, they can avoid that particular food.

This test phase can be conducted from time to time. There might be some food items that might not work for you during the first test but they might work for you during the second or the third test.

This phase will also help in dealing with problems like leaky gut syndrome as well as other autoimmune diseases.

Various steps ensure the successful conduction of this test. All the required steps are mentioned below: –

1. Choose one food item. Eat this item for a few days and check for reactions.

2. Take only a small amount of the selected food. Do not eat a huge quantity of the food as the reaction to this food is not known.

3. If you do not experience any symptoms and see no reactions, then this means that this food is now safe for you. It means you can eat this food in more and more quantities.

4. However, if you see any reactions or experience any symptoms then you must immediately stop the consumption of this food. You might as well see your doctor who can prescribe you some medicines to deal with any symptoms.

5. Another step of this phase of testing is to wait for a few days and then eat the selected food again. Wait for at least a week or two before starting the consumption of this food again. If you still see the symptoms then you must stop eating this food.

One thing that must be remembered while following this step of the autoimmune diet is trying your best to avoid any chances of chronic stress. After following this diet plan for some time the body’s immune response will change and you will begin to notice significant differences in your body.

Now it is clear that this diet plan will help us fight certain specific autoimmune diseases or chronic diseases. It also helps in the production of healthy tissues and healthy cells. It takes care of gut health and it also improves intestinal permeability.

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It is also very important to know what all food items can be consumed during this diet and what all food items must be avoided.

3.1) Healthy Food Groups which are a Part of the Diet: –

The conventional treatment of many diseases involves eating healthy food and doing physical exercise. On this note, some of the food items that can be consumed are green vegetables, fermented foods, some fruits, sweet potatoes, yams, fish, seafood, probiotic supplements, lean meat, foods rich in fatty acids, and all good oils like olive, coconut or avocado oils. Some people find a gluten-free diet very useful. This will protect the body from various nutritional deficiencies.

3.2) Food Items that Must be Avoided During the Diet: –

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Certain food items must be avoided because they might bring out some negative outcomes. They might trigger the symptoms. These foods are nightshade vegetables, grains, rice, wheat, oats, peas, peanuts, tomatoes, eggplants, cumin and coriander seeds, dairy products, eggs, and nuts.

4. Precautions to be Taken While Following this Diet Plan: –

It is very important to take precautions while following this diet plan. If you do not follow the rules and regulations of the diet plan, it would not bring out the truly desired results. It will also have repercussions.

It is advised to see your doctor before starting the diet. A doctor would be able to tell what type of diet plan must be followed by you. They will prepare the whole diet chart according to the requirements of your body.

However, if you start your autoimmune diet after proper consultation then this diet plan would not bring out the full results. It is always good to visit a doctor and get some tests done and then prepare your plan according to your body’s needs and requirements.

However, certain precautions must be taken while doing this diet. If you are pregnant then the autoimmune diet is not for you. Pregnant women have different bodies. Since they have a baby growing inside them, their body needs special care, attention as well as nutrition. If they miss out on certain nutrients then this might lead to a bad impact on the baby as well as the mother.

Among pregnant women who follow the autoimmune diet, there might be a possibility of micronutrient deficiencies. Therefore, pregnant women mustn’t follow this diet at all.

Another important factor to be noted is that if you are malnourished then you must not follow the autoimmune diet plan. In this case, if your body already lacks certain nutrients then the autoimmune diet plan would not work for you. It might have negative repercussions. It is advised to visit your doctor; they might prepare an easier plan for you.

If you are underweight then again, the autoimmune diet would not work for you. Being underweight means that your weight is less than it should be according to your height. However, if you still think that you need to follow the autoimmune diet, then you must ask your doctor to prepare a diet plan which is not that strict. This mild yet effective plan would help you in achieving your diet as well as body goals.

5. Conclusion: –

Following the autoimmune diet will help you in fighting with the symptoms of various types of autoimmune diseases. Any sort of dietary intervention that might hinder the diet plan might lead to various difficulties and will also hamper the results of the diet.

However, there is less scientific evidence that proves the efficacy of the autoimmune diet plan but it is still worth a try. At least you will get to know what food items trigger your autoimmune disease symptoms and which food items help you in easing down the symptoms.


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Aparna is a Delhi University student majoring in sociology. She is an experiences medical content writer. She likes reading a lot of diverse types of articles so as to gather lot of new information for her articles. She tries to conduct an in-depth research in order to provide the readers with all the information.
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