The 4 mentioned food groups are all considered inflammatory foods. Surprised about the eggs?
The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is a nutrition plan that eliminates these foods, plus a long list of others, that are thought to increase inflammation.
The idea is that removing these foods helps restore balance to the digestive system and promotes healing.
Keep reading to learn more about which anti-inflammatory foods are included and which are inflammatory foods are avoided on the AIP diet.
Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) 101
Most people diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, or even Crohn’s disease, are familiar with flare-ups – episodes where symptoms of their condition suddenly become more severe and/or resurface after a period of remission.
These flare-ups are often frustrating and uncomfortable for those living with these conditions.
Many autoimmune diseases have been linked to a leaky gut syndrome – a compromised environment in the small intestine due to increased intestinal permeability and/or an imbalance in gut bacteria.
“Holes” in the gut are thought to let food particles pass through into the rest of your body, where they trigger inflammation and activate an immune response.
Autoimmune Diseases & It’s Association To Inflammation
The basis of autoimmune diseases is inflammation – in the gut and throughout the body.
One of the most common ways to manage symptoms, flare-ups, and inflammation related to autoimmune disease is through a good nutrition plan (what we know as a DIET).
Following an anti-inflammatory nutrition plan / diet can help
- decrease fatigue
- brain fog
associated with inflammation and help
- promote longer periods of remission
- help decrease inflammation
- “leaks” in the gut
Decreasing inflammation and repairing a leaky gut are thought to help calm the immune system and decrease flare-ups in the long run.
An Anti-Inflammatory Type Diet (like the Autoimmune Protocol) Is Key To Managing Autoimmune Diseases
The Autoimmune Protocol – or AIP is similar to the meat & veggie-focused Paleo Diet, but it’s more strict in the foods that are allowed vs. avoided.
The following foods are thought to be anti-inflammatory and make up the bulk of the AIP nutrition/diet:
- Clean Meats
- Vegetables – minus nightshade varieties
- Healthy fats – avocado, coconut, olive oil
- Gelatin/collagen (bone broth or supplements)
- Non-dairy fermented foods – sauerkraut and kombucha
- Some herbs, spices, and vinegar
- Herbal teas
FYI – The difference between AIP and Paleo is that the Paleo allows eggs, nuts, seeds, and nightshade veggies. Both focus on increasing intake of Omega-3 fats and nutrient-dense vegetables.
Sugar tolerance is individual on the AIP nutrition/diet. Some people find they even have to completely even fruit and natural sweeteners, like honey and maple syrup, while small quantities may be tolerated by some.
Note! The following foods tend to increase inflammation in the body and should be avoided on the AIP diet:
- Legumes & beans
- Refined sugars
- Processed foods
- Nuts & seeds
- Nightshade vegetables – peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes
- Vegetable oils
- Coffee & alcohol
- Artificial sweeteners
How Long Do You Need To Be On The Autoimmune Protocol?
The AIP nutrition/diet can be used short-term to promote gut healing as well as to learn which foods you may be reactive to. The nutrition/diet plan can also be followed long-term as part of an overall anti- inflammatory lifestyle.
Some people are able to have a little wiggle room with the AIP nutrition/diet as their body heals. Some eliminated foods may be reintroduced and better tolerated once the gut heals.
Let’s preface all of that with this…the AIP diet is not for everyone.
It’s best for people who suspect certain foods trigger their particular autoimmune condition.
Some people also find reducing inflammation through other lifestyle factors, like
- getting adequate quality sleep
- stress relief,
- avoiding alcohol & NSAIDs (i.e. ibuprofen)
Speaking of . . . how about trying a new recipe that’s also AIP-approved?
This I will share with you in the next blog post.