There are so many reasons why good nutrition is essential to your health. Boasting everything from disease-fighting properties to the ability to help your skin glow, a balanced, clean diet can result in you having an overall healthier system. Good nutrition becomes even more vital if you’re battling a chronic illness like Lyme disease. In this case, your body needs even more assistance in getting all the vitamins and nutrients you require to keep up your strength and even reduce some of your symptoms.
For people with Lyme disease, nutritionists recommend eating as healthily as you can, which means regional and seasonal foods (all organic, if possible). Foods that contain antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides will only serve as a detriment to your already fragile system. Your best bet is to purchase foods that haven’t been prematurely harvested or transported over long distances – these foods are more likely to have retained their nutrients and healthful qualities. Here are some other ways that good nutrition can serve as a secret weapon in your fight against Lyme disease.
1. Reduces inflammation
There are several ways you can adjust your diet to help reduce the amount of inflammation in your body. Inflammation is connected to Lyme disease because patients can experience joint pain and swelling, fatigue, brain fog, and headaches. Cutting back on sugar can be a huge help in reducing inflammation, so consider kicking sugar-sweetened beverages to the curb (such as soda, fruit juices, and sports drinks), as well as processed foods (cakes, cookies, pastries, sugary breakfast cereals, etc.). Aside from causing more inflammation in the body, a diet filled with sugar can also slow down your metabolism and put you at a higher risk of obesity. There are several other ingredients that you should think about removing, including white flour, foods with additives (such as artificial flavors, taste enhancers, and coloring agents), and foods with gluten. Switching to an anti-inflammatory diet can improve your immune system and gut health, too. One other suggestion is to add healthy oils to your diet, like fish or nut oils – they’re full of omega 3 fatty acids, which have also been shown to reduce inflammation.
2. Improves the immune system
Having a strong immune system is vital to staying healthy while you’re dealing with Lyme disease. To combat free radicals (chemical by-products that suppress the immune system), eat a diet high in antioxidants, which are found in many fruits and vegetables. Additionally, adding omega 3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil or flaxseed, makes your body more capable of producing compounds that actually boost immunity. Some people also choose to add supplements to their regimen to ensure they’re getting the most help supporting their immune system. You can also try including foods like garlic to your meals to get extra virus and bacteria-fighting support.
3. Helps to reduce fatigue and low energy
Eating a nutritious, balanced diet can also help you reduce some of your symptoms, such as fatigue and tiredness or low energy. Many people with chronic illnesses also tend to develop iron deficiencies. When your body doesn’t have enough iron, you don’t have enough hemoglobin, which is a protein that enables red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. Without the appropriate amount of oxygen in the system, your muscles and tissue aren’t able to work to the best of their ability. This means you can end up feeling extra tired, on top of the fatigue you might already be experiencing from Lyme disease. Adding iron-rich foods to your diet – such as spinach, broccoli, shellfish, red meat, turkey, quinoa, tofu, and dark chocolate – can help lessen your fatigue and give you increased energy levels.
4. Improves weakness and reduces nerve damage
If you have Lyme disease, you might experience some muscle weakness. This problem can be exacerbated by a lack of vitamin B12 in your diet. Like the iron we mentioned above, vitamin B12 helps with red blood cell production. If you’re deficient in this critical vitamin, you could start feeling even more tired and weak. If your deficiency is severe, there’s a possibility of developing nerve damage. So, to make sure you’re getting enough B12, include foods like fish, meat, eggs, and dairy in your diet. Eating these healthy foods means you can improve your muscle weakness, whether it’s from a vitamin B12 deficiency or from Lyme disease.
5. Keeps your bones healthy
To help ensure your body is in the best possible shape, it’s essential for you to be getting the magnesium you require. Not getting enough magnesium can lead to fatigue and muscle weakness, which you especially don’t need if you’re fighting Lyme disease. A magnesium deficiency can also lead to osteoporosis, or increased risk of bone fractures or breakages, as well as mood disorders and high blood pressure. Therefore, eating foods high in magnesium can help keep your bones healthy. Consider adding dark chocolate, avocados, nuts, tofu, whole grains, bananas, and leafy greens into your daily meals for a magnesium boost. Healthier bones will make your whole system feel stronger – all the better to fight your Lyme disease symptoms.
6. Promotes better digestion
Having a healthy digestive system can be essential during a bout with Lyme disease. Many Lyme disease patients experience stomach issues, including nausea, diarrhea, and constipation, which can throw their bodies even more out of whack. Luckily, you can use nutritious foods to help alleviate this problem. Doctors recommend eating a fiber-heavy diet, along with probiotics to encourage a healthy microbiome. Try adding in foods such as yogurt, apples, whole grains, ginger, beets, dark green vegetables, and salmon to encourage healthy digestion.
Eating nutritious foods can easily be your superpower in fighting Lyme disease. Just remember to steer clear of fried, greasy, sugary, or processed foods, and you’ll start to see some of these health benefits right away.