7 Foods You Should Avoid if You Have an Autoimmune Disease

The right diet is extremely important to overall health. If you have an autoimmune disease, you know just how important it is to eat the right food in order to keep inflammation down and promote overall healing. Interestingly, it is just as important to know what foods that you shouldn't eat as it is to know what foods you should eat. Use the following list as a guide to help you understand which foods you should stay away from in order to keep yourself healthy, happy, and free from the bondage of your autoimmune disease. 

First Thing's First

Before we jump into the list of foods to avoid, we should first discuss why we need to avoid them. Every autoimmune disease is characterized by inflammation which causes pain and other issues. If we choose to eat healthy and nutritionally rich foods, the inflammation will decrease. On the other hand, there are foods that will increase inflammation by causing an exaggerated immune response within the body.

Also, we will mention the term "leaky gut" often throughout this list. The term refers to holes within the gut through which food can escape. While there is yet to be a study showing causation, some research suggests the food particles that escape through these holes will cause an immune response and are responsible for autoimmune diseases.

The following list consists of seven foods that you should avoid because they increase inflammation and make autoimmune symptoms flare up.


Humans have been eating wheat for centuries because it is durable, versatile, and easy to transport. However, the wheat that is available to us today is very different than the wheat that our ancestors ate. Modern wheat has been modified to make it cheaper, easier to produce, and resistant to pests. Some people also believe it contains microscopic dangers that can cause a leaky gut which will bring on an immune response and cause symptoms to become worse. Also, wheat is a primary source of gluten, which is known to cause problems for some people with autoimmune diseases.


For people who do not have an autoimmune disease, eggs can be a part of a healthy diet. They contain protein and a variety of vitamins.  However, eggs contain the enzyme known as lysozyme which causes problems for people with autoimmune disease. This enzyme has the ability to work its way through the gut and into the body's circulatory system. The immune system will see it as a threat which causes it to attack the lysozyme. The action of the immune system typically results in pain and inflammation.  

Nightshade Vegetables (Tomatoes, eggplants, Peppers, Potatoes)

There are multiple reasons to cut nightshades out of your diet. Nightshade vegetables contain lectins. Lectins are sugar binding proteins that serve many biological roles. Lectins are not Digestible and they have the ability to increase the permeability of the intestines. Nightshades also contain saponins. Saponins are known to elicit an immune response. For people with an autoimmune disease this can cause extreme discomfort and an drastic increase in inflammation. 


Nuts contain a large amount omega-6 fatty acids. The body can use these fatty acids, but they must be in the correct ratio to omega-3 fatty acids. Too much omega-6 acids will trigger the body to produce chemicals that will increase inflammation. This can be particularly damaging for people who have an autoimmune disease.


Consuming alcohol directly leads to an increase in intestinal permeability. Alcohol actually causes holes in the barrier between the inside and outside of the gut, which results in a leaky gut. These holes are large enough for pretty big molecules to penetrate. When the food escapes the gut it typically causes an immune response which will cause pain, discomfort, and a lot of inflammation. 


We all know the health risks of excess sugar consumption. A diet that has too much sugar can cause obesity, cancer, and diabetes. In addition to those risks, sugar is also known to cause inflammation by increasing the permeability of the gut. Sugar is so widely used in food products that it is very difficult to avoid. If you are able to cut sugar out of your diet, then you will feel healthier for a variety of reasons, including reduced inflammation. 


Dairy is one of the more interesting categories on this list because one of its functions within humans is to actually cause a leaky gut. As infants, we need our guts to be permeable so that some hormones and antibodies from breast milk can get into the bloodstream. This gives babies crucial immunity and other materials that they need to survive and grow. Though this is beneficial when we are young, it becomes problematic as we age. The problem seems to be even worse when we drink the milk of other species. Milk contains chemicals that inhibit the action of enzymes that are meant to break down food. When the body senses that the enzyme is needed, it produces many more enzymes which can cause a leaky gut.

Give Your Body What it Needs

Everyone can benefit from avoiding foods that cause them harm. Individuals who have an autoimmune disease need to be extra careful about what they put in their body. Many foods that have become staples of our modern diet are actually hazardous to their health. The foods on this list are known to trigger an immune response in the body which increases inflammation and can cause pain, discomfort, and sickness. 

At Paleo Angel, our desire is to provide information, motivation, and delicious snacks that will satisfy and nourish. We want to help people achieve health and happiness through their diet. Paleo Angel was born out of the need to find a way to live with autoimmune disease. As we have progressed, we have come to understand that our real mission is to show people how to thrive despite their disease. If you are ready to conquer your autoimmune disease, contact us to find out how Paleo Angel can help you break free.