Why Does Food and Nutrition Affect Lyme Disease?
- Your food has a direct affect on the performance of your immune system, and therefore, your ability to kill infection.
- Your food has a direct and immediate affect on your metabolism and energy levels, and therefore, your ability to function in your daily life.
- Your food has a direct and immediate affect on your inflammation levels, and can increase or reduce your joint and muscle pain.
- Your food can damage or strengthen your digestion, which has an effect on how much nutrition you can absorb.
- Your food can affect your mood as quickly as 20 minutes after consumption, making you irritable, happy or depressed.
- Your food itself can have antibiotic properties, and can help your body kill infections including fungal, viral and bacterial.
3 Pillars of the Chronic Lyme Nutrition Protocol
I’ve broken this down into three pillars, or steps, to make this easier to follow. To me, the steps make it more logical!
1. Remove foods that suppress and irritate your body’s processes and immune system.
Certain “foods” put more stress onto your body and can suppress your immune system, detox pathways, hormone production and digestion. You especially do not want to put unnecessary stress on your immune system because it needs to focus on killing the Lyme infection(s).
These foods can be organized into three categories, as outlined below:
Common Food Allergens are foods that our immune systems are marking as “foreign invaders” and reacting negatively to, causing inflammation in all systems of the body to which these food proteins can travel. You do not want to eat these foods because they distract your immune system from focusing on your Lyme infection(s).
- The two reasons why our bodies are reacting this way to food now more than ever are 1) the food has been altered from its normal state (genetic modification) or sprayed (with carcinogenic pesticides) and our body is recognizing these as “poisons”, and 2) the lining of your digestive tract has been damaged (due to pesticides, prescriptions and antibiotics that destroy the protective layer of beneficial bacteria in your gut) and your gut is now compromised, allowing undigested proteins to get into our bloodstream. Now, I just made that very simple in an effort to keep this post short and sweet, but of course the science is complex and entire books have been written on the subject.
- Some of the common food allergens to avoid include dairy, gluten, soy and corn, among others.
High Calorie, Low Nutrient Foods are also referred to as “processed foods.” In processed foods, the valuable nutrients that also give foods a short shelf life, like antioxidants and enzymes, have been removed, leaving behind isolated and processed fats, carbohydrates and proteins.
- These processed foods take more energy to digest, energy that Lyme Patients do not have, and they lack the plethora of minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and vitamins that your body desperately needs.
- These foods include grain-based dry cereals, wheat-based pastries, regular ice creams, white sugar, white flour, wheat pasta, conventional canned soups, frozen dinners, wheat crackers, cookies, pasteurized milk and creamers, corn syrup, and the list could go on.
Carcinogens and Free Radicals are prevalent in our food supply and this is a problem for you because they cause rampant inflammation, they distract your immune system from the Lyme infection(s), and they damage vital organs and tissue.
- These carcinogens and free radicals include pesticides, heavy metals, trans fats, rancid oils, petroleum based ingredients and more. They are found in food-grade products including supplements, fruits and vegetables, conventional meats and fish, chapsticks, toothpaste, mouthwash, processed foods like cookies, pastries and chips, tap water, bottled water, prescription drugs, marijuana. As you can see, they are in most everything we eat, which is why in this case, the quality of the food is more important that what the food is.
- Example 1: Grass-fed and organic beef grown locally is full of healing fatty acids, iron and protein that Lyme Patients desperately need. Conventionally raised beef is full of GMO corn, pesticides, antibiotics and omega 6 fatty acids, which are damaging to Chronic Lyme Patients.
- Example 2: Lead is reported in higher than healthy levels in over 30% of the American supply of tap water as reported on the EPA’s website. On top of many fatal side effects, lead blocks communication between cells and the passage of nutrients in and waste out of cells. So, if you’re dealing with Lyme, lead can interfere with your immune response and it can trigger a greater immune response. It can also block your detoxification pathways.
2. Add foods that strengthen your immune system.
From your food, your body gleans the building blocks for every part and function of your body, including your hormones, immune cells, muscle tissue, blood cells, etc. These building blocks include antioxidants, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Standard american diets, “healthy” diets and typical vegetarian diets do not provide the needed building blocks for even basic human needs. That’s why it is harder and harder to find someone who isn’t experiencing at least one chronic symptom or disease.
On top of basic needs, patients with Chronic Lyme Disease need extra nutrients to face the damaging effects of chronic infection and to strengthen immunity further than normal.
If you have Chronic Lyme Disease, you need to be on a diet that is intentionally packed with antioxidants to repair tissue damage and kill infection, protein to repair tissue damage, build hormones and build immune cells, vitamins and minerals to alkalize, strengthen immunity and lend energy, and fat to build hormones and strong new tissue. See which foods contain these nutrients below…
Superfoods is a term generally applied to a group of foods that have a much higher ratio of nutrients to calories than other foods. They are generally extremely high in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, enzymes, omega 3 fatty acids and/or amino acids, all nutrients that are extremely healing and essential. Some of these superfoods contain specific phytonutrients that are so full of anti inflammatory antioxidants that they can relieve severe joint pain. Noni juice is an example of a superfood that reduced my knee inflammation and drained the fluid out of it. Another example is Camu Camu Berry, which is a fruit that is extremely high in an antiviral combination of Vitamin C and phytonutrients. Some of my other recommended superfoods include Blue Green Algae, Bee Pollen, Sprouts, Bone Broth, Garlic and Coconut Oil.
Protein is an extremely essential nutrient for chronically ill patients. It is used in the synthesis of co-enzymes and hormones, immune response and cellular repair. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation going around about a vegetarian and vegan diets. Those diets are therapeutic for some illnesses in some stages of life, but they are not appropriate for most Chronic Lyme Patients. The immune system uses protein to build immune cells and new tissue. If you choose to be a vegetarian or vegan, you need to be sure to include a plentiful source of amino acids. Some of my favorite protein sources include: Blue Green Algae, Bee Pollen, Hemp Seeds, Animal Protein especially Organ Meat, Collagen Protein from a protein powder supplement
Minerals like iodine, chromium, calcium, phosphorous and iron perform many functions in the body including wound healing, energy metabolism, immune system health, oxygen delivery through the blood, thyroid hormone production, blood sugar regulation, and many other tasks. Being deficient in just one mineral, can throw off an entire system in your body, like oxygen delivery to cells in the case of iodine, or thyroid hormone production/energy metabolism in the case of iodine deficiency. You can find minerals in high concentrations in Canned wild salmon and sardines (with the bone-in), Seaweed, Sea salt,
3. Customize based on any additional health challenges you’re dealing with.
This is where it’s important to take into consideration other symptoms or chronic illnesses you may be experiencing. It is possible that they are all related to the Lyme Disease, but you need to be careful. For example, high blood pressure and diabetes are both conditions where you need to be very careful about what you are eating so that you don’t instigate a catastrophic event. Autoimmune disease is a condition where you can relieve a significant amount of your symptoms within two weeks by changing your diet. There are many other conditions to consider, but I will leave that up to you and your holistic nutritionist, doctor and health coach team.
Your Next Steps
After overcoming Chronic Lyme Disease through a complementary approach including nutrition therapy, I now consult with Chronic Lyme Patients to support them with their own recovery. I am a member of the American Board of Drugless Practitioners.
Please visit this page for more information on consultations: http://clubtbyh.com/consultations/
Chronic Lyme Nutrition:
If you would like no-brainer nutrition support including meal plans, recipes and shopping lists, visit my resource website here: www.ChronicLymeNutrition.com
Keep taking back your health,