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Foods to Help Lyme Disease

by
author image Sukhsatej Batra
As a scientist and educator, Sukhsatej Batra has been writing instructional material, scientific papers and technical documents since 2001. She has a diverse scientific background, having worked in the fields of nutrition, molecular biology and biochemistry. Batra holds a PhD in foods and nutrition, and a certificate in professional technical communication.
Foods to Help Lyme Disease
A bite from an infected tick causes Lyme disease. Photo Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

Lyme disease, also known as Borreliosis and Bannwarth syndrome, is a bacterial infection prevalent throughout the world, and most cases in the United States occur in the Northeastern and Upper Midwest regions. The transfer of bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, by a bite from an infected tick initially causes a rash, headache, fever and fatigue, but untreated Lyme disease can cause arthritis and even affect the heart and nervous system. Early diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics, along with healthy meals can lead to a complete recovery.

Symptoms

Several days or even weeks after the tick bite, people infected with Borrelia burgdorferi develop erythema migrans or a red, circular rash, similar in appearance to a “bull’s eye,” at the infected site. If Lyme disease is untreated in the initial stages, the rash may appear on other parts of the body. People may also experience severe headaches, stiffness of the neck, pain and swelling of joints, heart palpitations and dizziness. If still untreated at the second stage, Lyme disease goes on to cause nerve damage, Bell’s palsy or paralysis of facial muscles, memory and sleep disorders, numbness and tingling in the hands or feet, and even problems with vision.

Treatment

Early treatment of Lyme disease with antibiotics such as doxycycline, amoxicillin or cefuroxime generally results in a rapid and complete recovery. However, in cases where there is a delay in diagnosis of Lyme disease, a more aggressive treatment entailing intravenous drug treatment may be required. In some cases, symptoms of Lyme disease may reappear even after treatment and cause Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome or PTLDS. Eating nutritious meals in addition to medical treatment is essential in helping you recuperate from Lyme disease.

Foods to Include

In a publication of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, Dr. Joesph J. Burrascano recommends that people recovering from Lyme disease eat meals high in protein and fiber, but low in simple carbohydrates and fat. Include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, tofu as well as milk and milk products such as cheese and yogurt that are rich in protein in your meals. Add a side of green vegetables and salads such as spinach, celery, kale, collards, mustard greens, cilantro and parsley to your meal. Make fiber-rich fruits such as grapefruit, lemons, limes, tomatoes, avocado, pears, apples and strawberries part of your diet.

Foods to Avoid

While caffeine-free and sugar-free sodas can be part of your diet if you have Lyme disease, you should avoid alcohol and caffeine-containing beverages like coffee and regular soda. Do not consume drinks that are naturally sweet such as fruit juices, or sodas and other beverages sweetened with sugar or syrups advises Dr. Joesph J. Burrascano. Additionally, foods rich starch such as rice, pasta, potatoes, cakes, breads and cookies should also be avoided.

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