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Foods to Avoid If You Have Lupus

author image Laurel Lake
Based in Western Washington's wine-tasting country, Laurel Lake has enjoyed working in research and writing since 2001. She also enjoys backpacking, cooking, teaching abroad, teaching fitness classes and is a former registered yoga instructor. Lake holds a Master of Public Health from George Washington University.
Foods to Avoid If You Have Lupus
The first symptoms of lupus usually appear in women ages 15 to 44. Photo Credit: Jack Hollingsworth/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About one and a half million people have the painful autoimmune disorder lupus. By far, the majority of people with lupus are women, but men are also at risk. A diet rich in vegetables and fruits, as well as whole grains, proteins and fats is important for managing lupus symptoms and supporting healthy responses. However, there remain foods that should be avoided.

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Alfalfa Sprouts

While some foods are up for debate in diets for lupus, alfalfa sprouts are not. The Lupus Foundation of America states that alfalfa sprouts should be avoided. Dr. Daniel J. Wallace explains in "The Lupus Book: A Guide for Patients and Their Families, Third Edition," that it is the "amino acid L-canavanine, which increases inflammation in patients with autoimmune disease." Dr. Wallace also warns that "Alfalfa is an ingredient in many food products..."

Uncooked Mushrooms

Uncooked food grown in fertilizer, i.e. fecal matter, is risky for people who have weakened autoimmune systems. Thus, people with systemic lupus should avoid eating uncooked mushrooms in order to avoid toxoplasmosis. While toxoplasmosis can be treated, the condition can cause serious medical problems. This parasitic disease can also be transmitted by coming into contact with infected cat feces.

Raw Meats

Undercooked and raw meat dishes such as seared rare tuna, beef steak and uncooked seafood sushi are risky for those with a weakened immune system. Special precautions should be taken when handling raw meat to avoid toxoplasmosis, which can have dangerous consequences for the eyes and organs of someone with an immune system weakened by lupus. Consider asking family members to handle raw meat during food preparation and cleanup. Instead of eating raw meat, incorporate balanced vegetarian meals such as bean stews and burritos.

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