What is the Sjögren’s syndrome diet?
The Sjögren’s syndrome diet is a food-based approach to reducing inflammation and other symptoms of Sjögren’s syndrome. While not a cure for this autoimmune condition, modifying your diet can help to treat symptoms, provide a higher quality of life, and improve your overall health.
What is Sjögren’s syndrome?
Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease most common in older women, though it can affect people of all ages. Autoimmune disorders cause your immune system to attack healthy parts of your body, mistaking them as threats.
The disease causes your immune system to attack glands that produce tears and saliva. This affects your body’s ability to produce moisture.
The most common symptoms from this disorder are dry mouth and dry eyes. However, you may also experience other symptoms including:
- joint pain
- dry skin
- dry throat
- dry nasal passages
- vaginal dryness
- difficulty swallowing
Sjögren’s syndrome is often linked to other autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Sjögren’s Syndrome & Diet
Similar to many recommended diets, the Sjögren’s syndrome diet focuses on well-balanced meals rich with vegetables, lean proteins, and fruits. Other than increasing nutrients and healthy proteins in your diet, the Sjögren’s diet reduces or eliminates foods that can cause inflammation or trigger allergic reactions.
Combined with a prescribed treatment plan, a moderated diet can help to prevent or reduce dryness and inflammation from Sjögren’s syndrome.
Foods to avoid
Pursuing the Sjögren’s diet or a similar anti-inflammatory diet means eliminating common trigger foods and allergens.
Some foods to avoid include:
- red meat
- processed foods
- fried foods
- sugars and sweets
- refined grains
- safflower, corn, and canola oils
Some foods affect people differently. Though these foods can trigger inflammation and worsen Sjögren’s syndrome symptoms, some can be eaten in moderation. This specifically applies to some dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese.
If your symptoms begin to worsen after eating specific foods, consider eliminating them from your diet. Also, discuss your symptoms with your doctor to ensure you receive the best treatment.
Foods to eat
Maintaining a diet rich in foods with anti-inflammatory effects can reduce dryness symptoms and provide relief from other associated conditions. Some foods high in anti-inflammatory benefits include:
- leafy green vegetables
- fatty fish
- olives and olive oil
- whole grains
How you cook your foods can also affect dry mouth symptoms. Here are some additional tips to make your meals more enjoyable:
- If you choose to make a sandwich, consider adding vegetables that are high in moisture, such as cucumbers.
- Adding sauces to your meals can ease swallowing, but use creamy sauces in moderation to limit fat content.
- Try soups and smoothies as alternatives to dry foods.
- Drink with your meals to ease swallowing.
- Soften your foods with broth.
- Tender-cook your meats to prevent them from drying out.
Always consult your physician before beginning any treatment program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate treatment plan.
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Article Source: Healthline