If you have an autoimmune disease, the AIP diet (autoimmune paleo protocol diet) may help fulfill your dietary needs. Reducing cellular inflammation is touted as the most effective treatment for autoimmune diseases. The AIP diet consists primarily of:
- Healthy fats and oils
- Grass-fed or organic meat
- Coconut products
- Grain or nut-free starches and flours
The AIP diet is not intended to be a long-term diet. Rather, it is an elimination diet that allows you to identify what is contributing to your inflammation by removing any potential allergens and inflammatory foods and then gradually reintroducing them.
6 types of foods included in the AIP diet
1. Healthy fats
Help regulate the inflammatory process in the body. Examples:
- Olive oil (extra virgin)
- Coconut oil
- Avocado and avocado oil
Low in sugar and high in antioxidants. No more than 2 servings per day. Examples:
- Berries, such as blueberries or raspberries
Root vegetables and leafy greens, which can be baked, roasted, or boiled. Examples:
- Sweet potato
High-quality meats, such as grass-fed, pasture-raised, and wild-caught, with no added growth hormones or antibiotics. Examples:
- Bone broth made using chicken feet or beef bones
- Shellfish (shrimp, clams, mussels)
- Organ meats liver, tongue, heart)
5. Fermented foods
Fermented foods with probiotics or good bacteria. Examples:
- Pickled fruits
- Pickled ginger
- Apple cider vinegar
6. Spices and herbs
Fresh herbs. Examples:
20 foods to avoid while on the AIP diet
The AIP diet aims to eliminate any potentially inflammatory foods, such as:
- Nightshades (tomatoes, bell and hot peppers, eggplant, and white potatoes)
- Nuts and nut butter
- Seeds and seed-derived spices
- Cane sugar
- Most forms of caffeine
- Gums or emulsifiers
- All grains (including gluten-free grains)
- Legumes, such as beans, peas, and peanuts
- Foods with added sugar
- Processed vegetable oils
- Artificial sweeteners
- Preservatives and additives
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs
What are the potential benefits of the AIP diet?
The AIP diet eliminates potential autoimmune food triggers, allowing the immune system to settle down. After 30 days, people may begin to reintroduce foods one at a time to see how their bodies react and discard the foods that cause negative reactions.
Benefits may include:
- Identifying food intolerances. The AIP diet aims to help identify food intolerances. This gives the body time to heal and flush out any troublesome foods.
- Reduces inflammation. Because of the nature of the diet, nearly all potentially inflammatory foods are avoided. Many people notice changes after just a few weeks on the protocol.
- Gut healing. By eliminating foods that consistently irritate the gut, the gut will begin to heal and restore its integrity over time.
- People who follow such diet have noticed:
- Increased energy
- Mental clarity and focus
- Decreased chronic pain
- Improved immune function
- Better sleep
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What are the challenges involved in the AIP diet?
Because autoimmune disorders are complicated and the AIP diet is highly restrictive, it can be difficult to sustain. People occasionally report increased symptoms or sensitivity. There is also insufficient scientific evidence to suggest that this is the diet that everyone with an autoimmune condition can follow and experience improved symptoms.
Although genetics play a role in the development of autoimmune illness, diet and lifestyle are likely to play a role as well. Choosing foods wisely is one of the most efficient strategies to reduce chronic inflammation in the body.
However, the American Gastroenterological Association and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists do not endorse the AIP diet. Talk to your doctor before starting any new diet plan to understand what’s right for you.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Mindd. The Autoimmune Paleo Diet. https://mindd.org/diet/autoimmune-paleo-diet/
Velikova L. What Is the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Diet & Does It Work? MedAlertHelp.com. https://medalerthelp.org/blog/aip-diet/
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