Sjogren's syndrome is a persistent disease that results in the deficiency of moisture in some of the glands in the body. Sjogren's syndrome is often the result of an autoimmune condition in which the immune system starts attacking the glands in the body that produce moisture, like the lacrimal glands which generate tears and salivary glands which create saliva. The organs that seldom get affected by this syndrome include the bowel and the lungs.
The Swedish optician, Henrik Sjogren was the first person to discover this condition which is why it is named Sjogren's syndrome.
General Rules for Sjogren's Syndrome Diet
The general rule for a Sjogren's syndrome diet is to address the cause of the condition. Since most of the diseases have inflammation at their heart, eating an anti-inflammatory diet can prove to be a healthy option for patients that are suffering from Sjogren's syndrome and many other diseases. It is better to include such foods in the diet that do not have a long list of ingredients. Even when making any food yourself, it is better to use fresh ingredients that have been either boiled or steamed instead of fried or highly processed.
Try to eat a healthy food that contains low amount of saturated foods like breads and a moderate quantity of proteins like healthy meats. Variety is also important to so try to include 10 to 15 different types of food in your daily diet. Keep the servings of the food small and if you are having difficulty in swallowing the fruits or vegetables then turn them into soups or casseroles to make them easier to eat.
What to Eat in Sjogren's Syndrome Diet
1. Foods with Lots of Moisture
Eating becomes a big problem in Sjogren's syndrome because of the dry mouth. Therefore, it is better to moisten the foods that you are eating by adding mayonnaise, yogurt, sauces or gravies to them so that they become easy to swallow for you. Moreover, liquefying foods can also be a good option for you when eating foods that are otherwise dry in nature. You can do this by adding skimmed milk, melted margarine, broth or water into your food.
2. A Variety of Fruits and Vegetables
Eat colorful fruits and vegetables as they are rich in phytonutrients, fiber and antioxidants that can help you in reducing the inflammation in your body. For instance, fruits and vegetables having a deep orange, red, yellow or green color can provide you a great deal of effective antioxidants and fiber. However, in order to get the maximum out of these fruits and vegetables, you would have to consume them as close to their raw form as possible.
3. Healthy Fats
Include healthy fats like omega 3 in our diet. For instance, omega 3 oils contained in fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel and other food items like raw nuts, extra virgin olive oil, seeds and avocados. In addition to this, seasoning items like ginger, garlic and turmeric also have a lot of anti-inflammatory properties and including them in the diet can help you in fight against Sjogren's syndrome.
4. High Fiber Intake
Including fiber in your diet is also necessary. You should consume a tablespoon of flaxseed each day to get a good quantity of fiber in your system. Fiber can help you in detoxifying your body and promotes timely bowel movements.
5. Certain Meat from Grass-Fed Animals
Eat the meat of animals that have been fed natural grass or a diet based on vegetables or grains. For instance, bisons and cows that are grass-fed have a meat that contains a high value of anti-inflammatory essential fats.
What to Avoid in Sjogren's Syndrome Diet
1. Make sure that you do not include any Trans or hydrogenated fats in your diet
The reason for this is that the body cannot digest them and they can lead to inflammation. Thus, it is better to avoid them having in your diet. Red meats are rich in arachadonic acid, which are pro-inflammatory and can cause inflammation which is why it is in your best interest to refrain from eating such meats.
2. Refined oils and processed foods are also not favorable for people suffering from Sjogren's syndrome
The commercially available canola and corn oils are rich in omega 6 fats that convert into arachadonic acid when digested and can cause inflammation while the processed foods like cakes, pastas, candy, bread and corn syrup are high in carbohydrates and get digested very quickly which leads to an inflammation response produced by insulin.
3. Spicy, sugary foods as well as alcohol and coffee
The foods that cause pain or irritation to a dry mouth like spices and citrus fruits should be avoided by a patient who suffers from Sjogren's syndrome. Moreover, it is better to avoid drinking alcohol and coffee as well since they tend to make the mouth dry. In addition to this, avoiding sugary items is also important because not producing saliva will make you prone to tooth decay and eating products that contain sugar can promote tooth decay.
4. More foods to avoid
Artificial sweeteners, preservatives and gluten-rich wheat can all promote inflammatory reactions in the body which is why it is important to avoid having them in your diet.
Moreover, it is also better to avoid hard and tough meats, carbonated drinks, crispy breads, nuts and popcorn as they are dry and can cause pain when eating for you in Sjogren's syndrome.
FAQ on Sjogren's Syndrome Diet
Q: Are herbs and supplements really helpful?
A: Herbs and other so called nutritional supplements that promise to boost the immune system are nothing but frauds that can cause serious complications and side-effects for some people without providing any kind of boost to the immune system. If you really want to strengthen your immune system’s ability to fight against diseases then you must make use of fresh fruits and vegetables instead of herbs and supplements.
Q: Are vitamins and minerals the more the better?
A: Vitamins and minerals should only be taken in a limited amount that has been prescribed to you by your doctor. Although they can help you in improving your overall health, overdosing them can create a lot of health problems for you. Therefore, it is best to keep your vitamin intake in check and try to obtain all your mineral and vitamins from your diet instead of purchasing vitamin supplements from the drugstore.
Q: How much meat should I eat and how?
A: You can consume meats in your diet, but make sure that you do not eat too much of it at a single sitting. Keep the portions of the meat you eat small and keep on rotating the types of meat you have on a daily basis. Cook the meats with as little canola or olive oil as possible and try to grill them instead of frying.
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