Lupus Answers Mini-Course & Newsletter

Foods That Trigger Lupus Flares


What not to eat so you don't trigger a lupus flare with Lupus Diet and Nutrition Tips

As you may or may not know (depending on your doctor), if you have lupus your diet does matter!

When I was diagnosed with lupus and asked my doctor what I should be eating, she said ‘continue to eat what you’ve always eaten. It doesn’t matter’. There is no 'lupus diet'. Well go figure. I suppose my chicken burgers, french fries and diet pop was going to be ok after all!! Just what I wanted to hear… but I knew it was a lie.

Diet matters even if you aren’t ill, so of course it matters if you are! No amount of processed food, caffeine, pop and artificially stuffed foods are going to support your immune system or way back to health. If we put dirty oil in our car is that going to help it run better? NO!! The same goes with our body.So here’s the deal. Food does matter (and so does drinking water!). So do supplements for that matter… but that’s another email.

Today’s topic is on avoiding foods that make lupus worse…  sorry to lecture you but this is here to help you (I had a hard time changing my diet from from my bad habits too... so if you're resisting this I understand, but heed the words anyway!!)

Avoid Foods That Make You Feel Worse!

Lupus and allergies

People with Lupus often find they have an allergy to an amino acid called L-canavanine, which is found in all legumes. If foods such as green peas, chick peas or alfalfa make you feel nauseous or dizzy then no, you’re not crazy. You’re likely sensitive to that food group so you may want to avoid it.    Because alfalfa is also contained in many food products do be careful about checking ingredients when purchasing your food. Even beef may be alfalfa fed and can cause a reaction, so do your due diligence when shopping and ask about ingredients if you are unsure.

Other common food culprits

Other foods that lupus patients should avoid are peanuts, soybeans and lentils. There is also evidence that suggests corn, spinach and carrots can cause a food reaction for some so keep an eye out when you eat these foods. Do a simple food test (just below) to find out what triggers you.

Sulfu foods

Sulfur-containing veggies are also difficult for many lupus sufferers to digest without upset. These include cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale and cauliflower. Because we know that many people with lupus are sensitive to sulfa drugs, it seems reasonable to be wary of these particular foods as well. Because some foods trigger some people and not others it is very important to know what your body is telling you is ok for you.

Do a simple food test

I suggest consuming one vegetable at a time to start with, and pay special attention to how you feel. Your body will let you know which foods work and which ones don’t. Your job is to pay attention to how you feel after each meal. Sometimes science rules out common sense, but you don’t have to!!

What about drinks? The no no’s

Speaking of common sense, coffee, tea and cola all contain caffeine. We all know that this is not healthy, and it is especially true for those living with lupus. It’s time to kick that habit and the time is now.

These caffeinated products are toxic substances for the body to metabolize. By the way this includes decaffeinated coffee as well! Sorry, the best substitute for all of us is water!And… that’s not even taking into consideration that caffeine is a stimulant which can increase your stress level. Stress is a very, very strong trigger for lupus flare up’s so make your health number one eliminate all caffeine from your diet. If you experience headaches from caffeine withdrawal, know that it will pass. If necessary, slowly eliminate caffeinated drinks from your diet to avoid the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

What about a drink here and there… as in alcohol

For those of you who enjoy alcohol this too is a no no. Sorry, it is literally a ‘poison’ and very hard on the liver. Repeated alcohol consumption can impair the livers ability to digest properly and you should not be putting your body through the potential damage… especially when trying to work with your immune system to fight lupus.

The sweet stuff

The kicker of all foods (well, it’s not really a food) is refined sugar. These are high allergy-inducing and addictive. They lack any essential nutrients worthy of being consumed and digestion of sugar is also very hard on the liver. Even worse, sugar inhibits the immune systems ability to fight disease. Agreed, removing sugar from our diet can be very difficult, due to the addictive nature and prevalence in canned, packaged and processed foods.

But it is worth it if you are serious about conquering lupus.There are ‘non sugar’ solutions out there, such as stevia that may help you through your sweet tooth. Check it out! 

I hope you enjoyed the information. Use it wisely to support your body’s ability to heal your lupus.

Wishing you the best, especially in good health!

Stacey Becker
P.S. If you have a question or would like to offer feedback please contact me at

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