Autoimmune disease is one of the most prevalent types of diseases in the United States. Over 23 million Americans have an autoimmune disease, and the number rises each year. Essentially, an autoimmune disease prompts the body to attack itself, starting with organs, tissues, and cells. There are more than 80 varieties that attack our bodies in different ways. Although lifestyle factors play a major role in the development of these diseases, it is unclear what exactly can trigger them. Following an anti-inflammatory diet and knowing your family history can help prevent and minimize flare-ups of your condition.
1. Rheumatoid Arthritis
This autoimmune disease manifests as chronic inflammation in the joints. The cartilage wears away as the bones rub against each other, resulting in pain, swelling, and stiffness. Over time, the joints lose strength, and any excess weight or previous injury can exacerbate the symptoms. The goal in treating rheumatoid arthritis is to reduce pain and prevent further damage. Because arthritis is an inflammatory disease, it can help to eat anti-inflammatory foods. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of the disease and can be found in foods such as salmon, chia seeds, and flax seeds. Patients can also add selenium and vitamin D to help absorb calcium and protect bones.