Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is treated using antibiotics. However, treatment doesn’t always work to rid the body of all the bacteria that causes Lyme. Antibiotics can only do so much, and fragments of the bacteria can remain within the body’s tissues. Those remaining fragments keep alerting the body to a foreign pathogen, which it aims to fight off. When that happens, inflammation occurs.
Inflammation is a normal part of the immune response. The body uses inflammation to alert the immune system that something is wrong. Inflammation also helps with the healing process. Without a proper inflammatory response, the body’s immune system doesn’t act appropriately.
But with Lyme disease, that inflammation can get out of hand, causing more harm than good. However, there are ways to treat Lyme inflammation and curb the negative impacts it can have on overall health. One such way is through diet, so let’s take a look at the role of anti-inflammatory foods in Lyme recovery.
How to treat Lyme inflammation
There are a few ways to fight off Lyme inflammation. One is through sleep. The immune system’s function is heavily reliant on sleep quality. If a person fails to get good quality sleep, their immune health suffers. The body suppresses the action of the immune system and encourages an increase in inflammation. If you can manage to get good quality sleep, you can mitigate these effects.
There are also some safe and natural remedies for inflammation. Curcumin, for example, is the active ingredient found in turmeric. While often used in cooking, it has been a staple ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine and Indian Ayurvedic medicine. Curcumin supplements help to block the inflammatory signal pathway known as NF-kB. This specific pathway plays a significant role in Lyme-induced inflammation.
Other natural ingredients that can help with chronic inflammation include:
- Japanese knotweed
- Cat’s claw
While sleep and supplementation is helpful, there is one thing that’s arguably more important: diet. When a person has Lyme disease, watching what they eat can be vital.
Is there such a thing as a Lyme disease diet?
While there is no single diet dedicated to helping people with Lyme disease, the anti-inflammatory diet is a great place to start. It is perfect for those who want to eat their way to less inflammation. There are two simple components to the anti-inflammatory diet:
- Eat foods that lower inflammation
- Avoid foods that trigger inflammation
The “standard American diet”, by contrast, is made up largely of foods that cause inflammation. These include:
- Refined carbohydrates
- Industrial seed oils
- Foods high in refined sugars
- Foods high in trans and saturated fats
- Red and processed meat
- Fried foods
Even healthy people can experience chronic inflammation by eating this kind of diet. So, if a person has Lyme disease, eating the abovementioned foods can make symptoms much worse than they have to be.
What foods are good for Lyme disease?
Eliminating foods from your diet isn’t always fun. However, there are plenty of delicious food options to choose from that fit into an anti-inflammatory diet. These types of foods are what people with Lyme disease should eat.
The anti-inflammatory diet’s main focus is to fuel the body with foods that are high in vital nutrients, healthy fats, and antioxidants. Some of the foods included on the anti-inflammatory diet list include:
- Tuna, salmon, and other oily fish
- Berries such as strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries
- Dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach
- Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli
- Nuts and seeds
- Olive oil
- Foods high in fiber such as wholegrain breads and pasta, chickpeas, and edamame
One food that may check a lot of anti-inflammatory boxes is bananas. Currently, there are no studies saying that bananas can be a holy grail when battling inflammation. However, there is a correlation between bananas and Lyme disease inflammation based on the nutritional value a banana has to offer. Bananas contain:
These four healthy elements can help to curb inflammation in the body. Bananas also have antimicrobial properties, which may further aid in the fight against any remaining Lyme disease bacteria.
When cooking up meals that lower inflammation, it’s important to stay away from sugary sauces. Replacing these sauces with spices allows you to keep the flavor at the same time as avoiding added sugar. Ginger and turmeric, for example, are tasty additions to any recipe, and they can also help to reduce inflammation in the body.
Other foods to include an in anti-inflammatory Lyme diet are:
- Pre- and probiotics
It may be difficult at times, but an anti-inflammatory diet is best for people with Lyme disease. When planning meals, keep in mind that variety is key, so stock up on a diverse selection of fresh food sources. Above all, remember that the less processed the food, the less likely it is to increase inflammation.