Autoimmune Diseases: Which Foods to Eat and Avoid

Autoimmune Diseases: Which Foods to Eat and Avoid
Elisa Morales Lupayante

Written and verified by the pedagogue in physical education and nutritionist Elisa Morales Lupayante.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

If you have an autoimmune disease, you need to follow a diet that fits your needs.

Here are some tips for making a proper eating plan for people with autoimmune diseases. In this regard, there are some recommended and banned foods. The food you eat is very important if you have an autoimmune disease. Trying to make your body work better and even finding the cure for your immune system is important.

What are Autoimmune Diseases?

These diseases are caused by the immune system. It attacks the body’s own cells, so the body’s own immune system attacks and destroys certain organs and tissues. More than 80 autoimmune diseases have been discovered so far. Some of the best-known ones are celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.

woman with arthritis

The “autoimmune protocol” is a means to prevent the effects of autoimmune diseases. It’s a diet that helps heal the immune system.

What is the Autoimmune Protocol?

First of all, although this diet is recommended for people who suffer from autoimmune diseases, it’s totally suitable for anyone who wants to follow it. This is because all the foods in this diet are totally healthy.

The autoimmune protocol shares many of the Paleo diet principles. In the case of the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol), in addition to eliminating foods such as grains, legumes, dairy products, and added sugars, it also eliminates other foods that cause inflammation in the digestive system at the beginning of the diet.

Other potentially irritating foods that are removed from the meal plan are eggs, dried fruits and nuts, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, spices, coffee, and cocoa. As mentioned above, these foods are eliminated only at the beginning of the diet. This protocol will gradually cure the intestinal wall and leaky gut syndrome.

This is why the body attacks its own cells by mistake. You will gradually start adding these foods to your diet one by one in order to analyze your body’s inflammatory reactions.

This article may interest you: 5 delicious, nutritious and easy avocado recipes

Other Banned Foods in Cases of Autoimmune Diseases

First of all, you must eliminate snacks and industrially processed foods. These foods are usually forbidden in every diet but are especially bad for people who suffer from an autoimmune disease.

On the other hand, we don’t recommend meat products such as sausages, minced meat, and cold cuts or eating too much fish like salmon or tuna due to all the heavy metals they contain.

minced hamburger meat

Results of the Autoimmune Protocol

The truth is that almost all people who follow this protocol notice a lot of improvement or even a remission of their disease. However, this will obviously depend on the type of chronic condition that a person has.

Read this article too: How to Replace the Bread in Sandwiches with Gluten-free Alternatives

Since these diseases have no cure, you shouldn’t follow this eating plan for a short period of time. You should consider it more a lifestyle than a temporary diet.

Healthy Foods That Prevent Autoimmune Diseases

The best foods to fight autoimmune diseases are those that give you a lot of energy. Foods rich in gluten-free carbs, such as potatoes, cassava, yams, sweet potatoes, and tapioca are great. They’re perfectly healthy breakfast choices and you can also include them in soups, creamed vegetables, salads, or even eat them as chips.


Foods rich in healthy fats, like avocado, oily fish, seeds, and vegetable oils, are also great for preventing autoimmune diseases.  Although people run when they hear the word “fat”, the lipids in these products are important one’s for health.

From these foods, you can get nutrients such as omega-3 and omega-6, which are powerful anti-inflammatory agents. However, you must avoid all fried foods. Therefore, it’s best not to heat the oils, but add them raw.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

    • Gauree G. Konijeti et al. “Efficacy of the Autoimmune Protocol Diet for Inflammatory Bowel Disease”, Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2017 Nov; 23(11): 2054–2060.
    • Fasano, A (2012 Oct). «Intestinal permeability and its regulation by zonulin: diagnostic and therapeutic implications». Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 10 (10): 1096-100
    • Fasano, A (2011 Jan). «Zonulin and its regulation of intestinal barrier function: the biological door to inflammation, autoimmunity, and cancer». Physiol Rev 91 (1): 151-75.
    • Facundo Bitsh, “¿Nuevas terapias para librarse de las enfermedades autoinmunes” en blog medicapanamericana.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.