Along with taking the correct antibiotics, many people have found better health by changing their diet in an effort to reduce the symptoms of Lyme and maximize their immune system’s own response to the illness.
Many of the issues associated with Lyme can be addressed through improving ones diet.
You may not be able to – or may not want to go “all the way” with any of these concepts – but even changing your diet just a little can help.
Gluten is a protein most commonly found in breads and pastas as well as other starchy foods that give it their “gluey” and “stretchy” quality. Some people’s systems have a bad reaction to gluten while most do not.
These days, gluten-free seems to be the answer to healthy eating. But is that true? The problem is that eating truly “gluten-free” can be very time consuming just shopping for gluten-free foods and expensive. While sales of gluten-free foods have soared by some 70% over the past few years, only a small percentage of the population really needs to avoid gluten.
A recent study showed that 21% of the people include gluten-free foods in their diet while some 17% of Americans avoid gluten-free products altogether and another 58% never think about gluten-free foods.
High sugar diets and diets comprised of simple carbohydrates (incidentally like white bread, white rice etc) are also inflammatory and should be avoided when possible.
In addition, high sugar intake is yeast promoting. High sugar ingestion gives yeast (Candida organisms) the perfect food to consume. Proliferation of yeast causes rashes, fungal infections and a number of nasty skin conditions– it also can affect the GI (gastro intestinal) system with devastating consequences.
The gastrointestinal system is the first line of defense for the immune system. Up to 90 percent of the antibodies used to combat infections are produced in the gut. Candida (a fungal infection caused by yeasts) exists in a careful balance with other microorganisms in the GI tract but when excessive amounts of sugar are consumed, the Candida can take over and spread like wild fire.
For some this can cause GI upset to include diarrhea, gas, cramping and sometimes constipation. Incidentally, high fiber and complex carbohydrates from natural sugars found in fruit (like apples), vegetables and whole grains – don’t have the same effect. Lactobacillus found naturally in yogurt is excellent for digestion presuming you are lactose tolerant.
Oxalates are inflammatory chemicals that are present in some types of food and may cause negative reactions in some people. The list is a short list:
- Instant Coffee
- Citrus Peel
- Black Pepper
Eating foods that are high in oxalic acid or oxalates increases the inflammation in the body which can lead to pain, headaches and fatigue. Supplements such as calcium citrate and magnesium citrate can bind oxalic acid – but Lactobacillus can also help. Other supplements are also thought to help like Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B6 and the Amino Acid Arginine.
For better overall health and improved digestion consider:
- Eliminating or reducing gluten
- Eliminating or reducing refined sugar and carbohydrates
- Eliminating or reducing oxalates
- Taking Lactobacillus supplements on a regular basis
Bonus: 1 Food You Definitely SHOULD Eat if You Have Lyme Disease
There is one food that is very helpful and is worth making sure you eat. That food is coconut oil. Coconut oil has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties, making it a useful addition to any diet but particularly one meant to help the healing process. Coconut oil is borderline miraculous with all its benefits to skin and ease of absorption by the body.
At our house we usually buy this one because it's organic, reasonably priced, very neutral tasting and comes in a large container. Great for cooking any time natural oil is needed. Replace your vegetable oils with coconut oil, it is so much better for your body. You can also put a teaspoon in your hot coffee or tea to reap its many benefits.
This is just the start of what you need to know about Lyme disease. Take a look at our Lyme disease topic page to get a fuller education on the subject.