Try these 6 heal­ing foods and cre­ative recipe ideas for each to soothe symp­toms tied to a host of au­toim­mune con­di­tions.


Dis­cover 6 heal­ing foods to soothe symp­toms of au­toim­mune dis­eases.


One 3-ounce serv­ing has more than a full day’s worth of vi­ta­min D, which is linked with re­duced risk of rheuma­toid arthri­tis, mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis, lu­pus and other au­toim­mune dis­eases. Other good sources of vi­ta­min D in­clude sal­mon, mack­erel, sar­dines, white­fish and tuna. For veg­e­tar­ian sources, opt for egg yolks or mush­rooms grown in sun­light or UV light. TRY THIS: Mar­i­nate hal­ibut steaks in olive oil and gar­lic then grill un­til done and gar­nish with lemons, ca­pers and pars­ley; layer hal­ibut fil­lets with rose­mary and shal­lots, wrap in parch­ment or foil, and bake un­til done; poach hal­ibut in white wine, cut into strips and serve on a salad of arugula, thinly sliced fen­nel, or­ange seg­ments and black olives.


This bright or­ange spice con­tains cur­cumin, a pow­er­ful heal­ing com­pound that’s been shown to al­le­vi­ate mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis, rheuma­toid arthri­tis, pso­ri­a­sis and in­flam­ma­tory bowel dis­ease by reg­u­lat­ing in­flam­ma­tory sub­stances in the body. Cur­cumin is hard for the body to ab­sorb, so to in­crease its avail­abil­ity, com­bine it with black pep­per and try heat­ing it, both of which make it eas­ier for the body to use. TRY THIS: Cook but­ter­nut squash cubes with co­conut milk, turmeric, black pep­per and curry paste then purée for an easy, creamy soup; sim­mer co­conut or al­mond milk with turmeric and black pep­per, and sweeten with raw honey for a dairy-free golden milk; toss cau­li­flower flo­rets in turmeric, black pep­per, salt, gar­lic and olive oil then roast un­til ten­der.


Tra­di­tion­ally fer­mented sauer­kraut is loaded with pro­bi­otics, which help bal­ance the gut mi­cro­biome and im­prove the in­tes­tine’s bar­rier func­tion, crit­i­cal in pro­tect­ing against au­toim­mune con­di­tions. Stud­ies show that peo­ple with rheuma­toid arthri­tis who take pro­bi­otics feel a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in stiff­ness, swelling, pain and in­flam­ma­tion. Other good dairy-free pro­bi­otic sources in­clude kim­chi, fer­mented vegetables, pick­led gin­ger, co­conut yo­gurt with added pro­bi­otics, and water ke­fir. TRY THIS: Purée sauer­kraut with mus­tard, horse­rad­ish and raw honey for a zesty sand­wich spread; grill chicken or tur­key sausage, slice on the di­ag­o­nal and serve on a bed of sauer­kraut; mix sauer­kraut with grated car­rots, daikon radish and shred­ded spinach for an easy side.

Green Tea.

It’s high in a com­pound called epi­gal­lo­cat­e­chin-3-gal­late (EGCG), which has been shown to im­prove symp­toms and re­duce the pathol­ogy in some an­i­mal mod­els of au­toim­mune dis­eases. The dys­reg­u­la­tion of T cell func­tion is a crit­i­cal fac­tor in the de­vel­op­ment of au­toim­mune in­flam­ma­tory dis­eases, and green tea has a dra­matic ef­fect on T cell func­tion, es­pe­cially their dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion, in a way that can fa­vor­ably im­pact au­toim­mu­nity. While fur­ther stud­ies in hu­mans are needed, the re­sults are promis­ing. TRY THIS: Brewed green tea with mint tea, slices of gin­ger and raw honey; mix brewed green tea, ba­nanas and co­conut milk then freeze in an ice cream maker.

Au­toim­mune dis­eases such as rheuma­toid arthri­tis, lu­pus and thy­roid disor­ders are painful, dis­rup­tive and of­ten dev­as­tat­ing. At their core, they have one thing in com­mon: an out-of-con­trol im­mune re­sponse, linked with sys­temic in­flam­ma­tion. The right diet can help ease pain and heal au­toim­mune dis­eases. In gen­eral, avoid caf­feine, al­co­hol, sugar, grains, dairy and red meat, and fo­cus on fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and fish. Try these six foods to make liv­ing with au­toim­mune con­di­tions eas­ier.

Wild Alaskan Sal­mon. It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which re­duce in­flam­ma­tion, mod­u­late im­mune ac­tiv­ity and pro­tect against sev­eral in­flam­ma­tory and au­toim­mune dis­eases, in­clud­ing rheuma­toid arthri­tis, Crohn’s dis­ease, ul­cer­a­tive coli­tis, pso­ri­a­sis and mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis. Tuna, sar­dines, mack­erel and other fatty fish are also good sources of omega-3 fats. TRY THIS: Sim­mer sea­weed noo­dles in a broth with gin­ger and gar­lic then top with bok choy, scal­lions and crum­bled cooked sal­mon; in a food pro­ces­sor, com­bine sal­mon, leeks, zuc­chini, gar­lic and onions then pulse to mix and form into patties and sauté in olive oil; toss canned sal­mon with av­o­cado cubes, chopped kale, shred­ded car­rots and a sim­ple vinai­grette.


Like other sul­fur-rich foods (cau­li­flower, radishes, cab­bage, onions, kale), it’s rich in a pow­er­ful an­tiox­i­dant called glu­tathione, which has been shown to help al­le­vi­ate au­toim­mune dis­eases. It’s key in tam­ing chronic in­flam­ma­tion and pro­tect­ing against ox­ida­tive stress, and stud­ies show glu­tathione status may be di­min­ished by as much as 50% in peo­ple with au­toim­mune disor­ders. TRY THIS: Toss whole broc­coli spears in olive oil, gar­lic and red pep­per flakes and grill un­til ten­der; cook broc­coli, cau­li­flower and leeks in broth then purée un­til smooth for a creamy, dairy-free soup; grate or shred broc­coli stems, red cab­bage, cel­ery, green ap­ples and onions, add golden raisins, and dress with may­on­naise, raw honey and ap­ple cider vine­gar for an easy slaw.

Turmeric-Roasted Vegetables with Pars­ley Al­mond Gre­mo­lata cleaneat­ing.com/ turmer­icveg­gies

Sal­mon & Broc­coli with Tangy Lemon Herb Sauce cleaneat­ing.com/lemon­salmon

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