Millions of people suffer from autoimmune diseases and the epidemiological data show evidence of a stable rise throughout the world. However, conventional medicine still hasn’t found a completely adequate and effective treatment. If you’re affected by an autoimmune disease, your doctor has probably told you it’s something you have to live with and that all you can do is manage the symptoms with surgeries and harsh medications. 

What your doctor might not have told you is that autoimmune disease can be alleviated, prevented, and even reversed with a diet tailored to minimize the effects of this condition. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the available research and previous experiences of patients to see the connection between autoimmune disease and diet.


How do diet and autoimmune disease affect each other?

If you’re reading this post, you probably already know that this is a condition where your immune system attacks healthy cells. Conventional medical treatments for autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and type 1 diabetes often include drugs accompanied by a list of potential side effects. Some of the adverse effects can be weight gain and diabetes. 

But first, you should know what not to eat

There are some foods that can contribute to inflammation and autoimmune disease symptoms. Because autoimmune diseases are often linked to chronic inflammation, it’s important to try to exclude inflammatory foods from your diet. The most common inflammatory foods are dairy, gluten, eggs, citrus, legumes, yeast, corn, and soy. You can gradually reintroduce some or all of these foods if you determine they’re not harmful to you.

The “rules” with toxic foods are not nearly as flexible. The foods and drinks that should find no place in your lifestyle are alcohol, trans fats, additives, sugar, caffeine, high fructose, GMOs, processed foods, fast food, and preservatives.

Diet plans for autoimmune disease

There are different nutritional plans you can adopt in order to eliminate or alleviate the symptoms of autoimmune disease.

1. Basic Paleo diet

A basic Paleo diet plan instantly removes all of the potentially inflammatory ingredients. It’s based on the foods our human ancestors have eaten thousands of years ago: healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, seeds, and herbs. The result is, as reported, a healthier gut.

2. The Autoimmune protocol diet (AIP)

This approach is similar to the Paleo diet, but unlike Paleo, it also excludes alcohol, coffee, eggs, seeds, and nuts. The autoimmune protocol diet promotes the consumption of healing and nutrient-dense foods, such as fermented foods, organ meats, and bone broth. It is relatively simple to follow and once you identify your food intolerances, you can reintroduce the ingredients that suit your body. 

3. Keto diet

There’s no concrete scientific evidence of the positive effect the keto diet has on autoimmune disease patients. However, common sense tells us that a low-carb, high-fat diet such as keto can have a positive impact on the composition of the gut microbiota. Still, not everyone with autoimmune disease will benefit from the ketogenic diet. Persons suffering from thyroid conditions will respond better to a moderate intake of carbs.

4. Low-starch diet

While the basic Paleo diet removes some sources of starch, it still includes other vegetables that contain these long chains of sugar. These starchy veggies are sweet potatoes, tapioca, plantains, yucca, parsnips, and arrowroot. In normal circumstances, starchy vegetables are healthy, but some individuals with autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis, uveitis, and Crohn’s disease can be particularly sensitive to starch. 

5. Wahls protocol

Another modified option of the Paleo diet, the Wahls protocol, puts an emphasis on optimal mitochondrial and neurological health. The diet includes nine cups of vegetables and fruits daily. It is recommended to consume three cups of sulfur-rich vegetables, three cups of leafy greens, and three cups of colorful fruits and veggies. The veggies should be raw or cooked at a very low temperature. 

6. Fasting

Fasting is often associated with religious rituals and based on water alone. Following such a rigorous diet plan for a short time can bring many benefits, but when it comes to prolonged periods, it is extremely harmful. Fortunately, there are diets mimicking fasting without complete restriction. In a moderate form, it can reawaken the embryonic development genes and trigger the regeneration of pancreatic beta cells.



Essentially, the key to finding the right approach for you is personalizing your diet. To do this successfully, you’ll need to experiment and observe. You can try each of these diet plans for 30 days or less. In any case, it’s always particularly beneficial to choose organic and fresh foods, which are free of chemicals and toxins. Your choices can have a fantastic impact on your health, so don’t hesitate to also seek guidance from your doctor or a nutritionist.

Author's Bio: 

Biologist by day, writer by night, and a huge geek. My fields of expertise could be summed up to health, psychology and lifestyle-related topics.