Certain foods are likely to trigger lupus flares. So if you have lupus, take care of yourself by avoiding these lupus trigger foods.

9 Foods Are Most Likely to Trigger Lupus Flares

1. Salt

One of the foods to avoid with lupus is salt. Lupus can affect the heart, leading to some problems like chest pain, shortness of breath and stroke. Some people with lupus also develop heart failure at some stage, which can be fatal. Lupus nephritis can also be related to salt. If you’re adding more salt to your diet, your symptoms can get worse and over time this can lead to kidney failure.

Therefore, eating too much salt can be extremely bad for lupus patients. Doctors advise to cut down on salt. It can help reduce high blood pressure and protect your heart and kidneys from further damage.

2. Alfalfa

If you have lupus, you should definitely try to avoid alfalfa. It contains L-canavanine, an amino acid that can activate the immune system and lead to flares. In fact, alfalfa has been found to be linked to some lupus symptoms flares, like:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • Abnormal blood test results
  • Kidney problems

This ingredient can also trigger inflammation in other autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Thus, those with any of these two diseases need to avoid alfalfa sprouts and seeds. 

Alfalfa can make lupus worse

3. Garlic

Garlic is a great, natural remedy for ringworm. But for lupus patients, it can do the same as alfalfa. In fact, garlic contains 3 compounds: allicin, ajoene, and thiosulfinates. These are known to increase activity in the immune system and trigger lupus flares. Thus, avoid cooking with garlic or adding garlic to your foods. Those with other autoimmune diseases should also stay away from garlic.

4. Red meat

Red meat is bad for those with lupus. It is rich in fats and calories, which can cause inflammation in the body. It’s especially worse if you sear, fry or grill meat at high temperatures. This can produce toxins that can destroy proteins in your body. Usually, red meat can lead to heart diseases related to lupus. If you’re having the condition, cut down on the red meat and switch to fatty fish. Fill up on omega-3 fatty acids and fatty fishes. They can help protect against stroke and other heart diseases. Add more tuna, salmon, sardines and mackerel to your diet.

Red meat can make lupus worse

5. Alcohol

Without a doubt, alcohol can make your lupus worse. It not only damages your liver but also disrupts interactions between other organs. This can lead to inflammation in the entire body. Some studies show that red wine can help reduce pain and inflammation in the heart, muscles, and joints. But some have also found that excessive alcohol use can trigger a lot of conditions like:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Digestive problems

Drinking alcohol while taking lupus medications can be very harmful for you. It is believed that mixing alcohol and NSAIDs can be deadly. So if you’re struggling with lupus, give up drinking completely.

6. Coffee

Coffee consumption seems to increase the risk of developing lupus. And, it’s one of the foods to avoid with lupus. Lupus can also affect the gastrointestinal system. This leads to a lot of digestive problems including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation. Experts believe that drinking coffee and other caffeinated drinks can make your lupus symptoms worse. Besides, it can increase inflammation and trigger new lupus flares.

Coffee can make lupus worse

7. Trans-fats

These unhealthy fats can raise cholesterol levels and contribute to inflammation. Also, they can increase your risk of heart disease, making lupus worse and more dangerous. These fats can lurk in some dairy foods, meats, processed and hardened vegetable oils. You should replace them with healthy meat such as free-range, organic chicken. Eat more fatty fishes to reduce inflammation.

8. Sugar

Often, sugar can produce an inflammatory substance called cytokines. It can aggravate your symptoms, making it one of the foods to avoid with lupus. A study shows that high levels of inflammation have been linked to high levels of glucose. This is why people with lupus tend to have more painful symptoms when eating too much sugar. To protect yourself against pain and inflammation, limit refined sugar and sweets.

people with lupus should avoid sugar because it triggers flares

9. Processed foods

A study found that cutting back on processed foods may reduce inflammation in the body. These foods contain lots of trans-fats and saturated fats, which can worsen inflammation. Besides, they can make you eat more and as a result, cause you to gain weight. Doctors suggest replacing saturated and trans-fats with unsaturated fats, like olive oil. This can help improve your symptoms and benefit your health.

If you have lupus, avoiding processed foods is important.

Learn more: 8 Warning Signs You Have Inflammation in the Body

Along with eating a healthy diet, you can use a lupus supplement to prevent flares. LupuFree is one of the best dietary supplements for lupus. It can fight inflammation and relieve lupus symptoms. If you want to use it, you should discuss with your lupus doctor first.