What You Need to Know About Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum is a food thickener made from bacteria that infect numerous plants. It is an ingredient in a wide variety of foods, as well as products such as toothpaste. Though it may offer some health benefits, it is used primarily to change the texture of food, not for any specific health need.

Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide, a type of sugar that is made from a bacteria called Xanthomonas campestris, through a process of fermentation. Xanthomonas campestris infects a wide range of cruciferous plants, such as cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, causing diseases such as black rot and bacterial wilt.

Manufacturers make xanthan gum by pulling bacteria from many different plants. The finished product does not contain any viable bacteria, so there is no risk of xanthan gum causing infections.

Fast facts on xanthan gum:

  • Xanthan gum thickens food and other products and also prevents ingredients from separating.
  • Non-food products, such as oil and cosmetics, also contain xanthan gum.
  • Xanthan gum may help lower or stabilize blood sugar.
  • As with any food or food additive, some people may not tolerate it.

What is xanthan gum used for?

Xanthan gum serves two primary purposes:

  • As a thickening agent: It is added to toothpaste and some other products to keep them uniformly thick. It is also used in industry, for example, helping to thicken drilling oil.
  • As an emulsifier: Its ability to bind moisture means it can prevent products from separating. For this reason, it is an ingredient in some oil-based salad dressings and cosmetics.

Potential health benefits

Some research suggests that xanthan gum can improve health in the following ways:

Lowering or stabilizing blood sugar

rice on a chopstick xanthan gum

Studies suggest that the glycemic index of rice may be lowered if coated with xanthan gum.

2016 study found that xanthan gum could lower the glycemic index of rice. After a group of people ate rice that was coated with xanthan gum, their blood sugar levels were lower.

The benefits were most significant when participants consumed rice covered with xanthan, instead of using xanthan gum before or after meals.

So foods containing xanthan gum might offer the most potent blood sugar-lowering benefits.

Xanthan gum may also stabilize blood sugar. A 2013 study found that xanthan gum mixed with beta-glucan (a type of sugar found in plants) could help prevent blood sugar spikes.

Reducing cholesterol

Some research suggests that, when taken in very high doses, xanthan gum may lower cholesterol levels. A 1987 study, for example, found that men who consumed xanthan gum for about 3 weeks experienced a 10 percent reduction in cholesterol.

There is little evidence that xanthan gum is beneficial on its own in the treatment of high cholesterol. A newer study has yet to be done to confirm these results.

Saliva substitute and treating dry mouth

Xanthan gum may be a useful and safe saliva substitute for people who experience chronic dry mouth. Some varieties of toothpaste for dry mouths contain xanthan gum to help lock in moisture.

Laxative

Because xanthan gum helps to bind water, it may also help act as a laxative. The food thickener swells in the digestive tract, helping the intestines to remain moist and supporting gastrointestinal function.

Making it easier to swallow

Some diseases can make swallowing difficult, especially when the mouth and throat are dry. A 2014 study found that xanthan gum could help people with dysphagia, a swallowing disorder, safely swallow their food.

Xanthan gum does this by thickening food and saliva, making it easier for both to move down the throat. This could reduce the risk of choking and make eating safer.

Treating cancer

Xanthan gum may help treat some forms of cancer by slowing their growth. A 2009 study, for example, looked at mice with melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Mice treated with xanthan gum lived longer, and their tumors grew more slowly.

Role in gluten-free food

For people with celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity, foods containing gluten can cause intense stomach pain, diarrhea, and other unpleasant symptoms. Flour and other ingredients in many baked goods contain gluten.

Gluten-free products rely on substitutes that can make them resemble the texture, crumb, and flexibility of gluten-containing bread. Xanthan gum thickens food and binds moisture, potentially improving the properties of gluten-free baked goods.

Potential health risks

Toothpaste being added to a toothbrush

Xanthan gum is a thickening agent added to toothpaste and is considered safe for most people.

While xanthan gum provides emulsifying properties, it is a type of carbohydrate known as a polysaccharide. It is not in the same category as some other emulsifiers that can negatively alter gut bacteria, drive intestinal inflammation, and worsen conditions, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

There is no widespread or consistent evidence of any adverse health effects associated with xanthan gum.

In 1987, researchers asked five men to consume xanthan gum every day for over 3 weeks. There were no adverse health consequences; in fact, there were a few modest health improvements. These results suggest that xanthan gum is safe for most people.

For some people, xanthan gum might be less safe. Those people include:

  • People with a history of diarrhea or intense gastrointestinal pain: Xanthan gum binds moisture in the digestive tract, potentially making diarrhea worse.
  • People with a history of fecal incontinence: Because xanthan gum can act as a laxative, it may make it more difficult to control the bowels.
  • Allergies: People with a history of adverse reactions to xanthan gum.
  • People who are severely allergic to cruciferous plants, such as broccoli, cabbage, or kale: Xanthan gum is made from the bacteria that live on these plants. Products containing xanthan gum may be contaminated as a result.

People with any severe food allergies, particularly to plants, should talk to a doctor before using xanthan gum.

Substitutes for xanthan gum

A handful of alternatives to xanthan gum can thicken food and ensure an even texture:

  • Psyllium fiber works well as a binding agent and adds fiber to food.
  • Chia seeds absorb water and make food more gelatinous.
  • Gelatin helps moisturize food and maintains an even consistency.
  • Agar is a vegan alternative to some other thickeners, such as gelatin.
  • Ground flax seeds can bind food and promote a more even texture.
  • Potato, arrowroot, or cornstarch can also improve the texture, thickness, and other properties of both cold and baked foods.

Also,

Xanthan gum is present in a wide range of foods. It is not a cure for any specific illness and is not a nutritional supplement, yet some foods treated with xanthan gum may offer health benefits.

People interested in trying xanthan gum should consider it only as a complement to their usual medical treatment plan. Research on the benefits of xanthan gum is limited, and there is no evidence that it can replace medication for various ailments.

It may, however, improve the effects of some medications, make food taste better, and help people with swallowing issues and dry mouth enjoy their food.

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Creative Organic Green ~ Mini Tech Detox

OUR BODIES PHYSIOLOGICALLY DEPEND ON ELECTRICAL CURRENTS—our nervous and cardiac systems being the core systems of course that rely on tiny electrical impulses. Even though you can’t feel it, our modern world is increasingly exposing us to larger and larger volumes of electromagnetic fields (EMF), emitted through the use of electricity and particularly from increasing dependency on “wireless” technology (not only are we dependent in terms of modern-day conveniences, but our entertainment often revolves around it too). The advent of smart, connected homes, the use of wireless routers in every home, or simply the simple act of plugging things into an electrical outlet, even things like lamps, means that our exposure is 24-7.

In 2011, the WHO classified cellphones as a possible carcinogen and have launched an International EMF program—after years of research, the results are still inconclusive but there is enough cause for concern that limits on exposure have been suggested. We know that EMF affects our body, placing stress on our systems as the electrical “flow” within our bodies becomes agitated and disturbed. The trouble is that technology has evolved faster than the research, and we don’t truly know what the long-term effects of exposure are. But we suspect… and it’s not very encouraging. Chronic conditions such as fatigue, headaches, adrenal fatigue or sympathetic system hyper-drive (fight or flight stress response) are rampant, and tumors located in the vicinity of where people hold their cell phones have increased. And nearly everyone I know experiences sleep problems—a physiological function that seems to be heavily affected by EMF—and sleep is when your body does most of its regenerative work.

In my own life, I have found that as I remove toxins of all kinds from my life I become more sensitive to them as my body has lowered it’s ‘tolerance’ levels. It’s a positive thing as I can detect pollutants in my immediate environment really easily, but EMF has been a form of pollution I had not yet tackled until now. It’s a tricky field, as it operates on a level we cannot directly feel, and the symptoms can be attributed to any number of things. A quick internet search of EMF-blocking products yields results that can feel, shall we say, dubious. It’s left me questioning how best to deal with the issue, and the easiest most immediate solution has been to make massive efforts to reduce my personal exposure by changing my habits (and I say massive because I truly think we’re addicted to our devices and modern conveniences—it’s taken a lot of conscious effort to leave mine alone).

The following are some super quick, very simple changes you can make in your own home to reduce how much EMF you’re exposing yourself to (and your kids too, whose delicate systems have shown to be even more sensitive).

  1. Replace your cordless phone with an old-school plug-in. The reason this is important is that cordless phones, like cell phones, are constantly emitting a signal to the “home base” within the confines of your own home. A bonus is that you’ll never have to hunt for the handset in the couch cushions again.
  2. Make calls from a landline whenever possible (such as when you are at home or at work).
  3. Don’t charge your phone (or keep any wireless electronics) in your bedroom, and DON’T use your phone as an alarm clock—get a battery-operated one (and then use rechargeable!).
  4. Don’t keep your cell phone on your body all day long (especially in your pocket).
  5. Create a “drop spot” in your home, where you automatically place your phone (and maybe keys, etc.) when you get home. Make a conscious effort to leave it there and resist the urge to check it for messages or updates too frequently.
  6. Don’t use your laptop on your lap, and even avoid if you can using an iPad resting against your body for too long.
  7. Use hard-wired internet connections for desktop computers at home and at work.
  8. Turn your devices off at night.
  9. Unplug your modem/wifi at night. If this sounds too inconvenient for you, you can purchase power bars with built-in timers so that they will shut off and turn back on automatically at the time of your choosing, say 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  10. Don’t make checking your device and browsing Facebook etc. the first thing you do in the morning. Give your body time to wake up and use the time for something different instead (family time, meditation, breathwork, yoga, etc.).

What Are the Health Benefits of Wheatgrass?

Wheatgrass is a grass that is closely related to wheat. It is a thick, dry grass that looks like hay or straw. It has played a role in natural and holistic medicine for generations.

Wheatgrass is harvested early in its development before it reaches full size — usually 7-10 days after sprouting. Grown primarily to make hay, or for animals to graze, wheatgrass may also offer several health benefits.

Wheatgrass is sometimes called “green blood” because it contains high levels of chlorophyll that gives wheatgrass products an unusual green hue.

Fast facts on wheatgrass:

  • Wheatgrass first became popular in the United States in the 1930s.
  • Wheatgrass must be processed before being consumed.
  • Some studies suggest that wheatgrass can improve health.
  • There is no evidence that wheatgrass poses health risks unless a person is allergic to it.

What is wheatgrass?

wheatgrass and wheatgrass drink

Wheatgrass has a number of health benefits and first became popular in the United States in the 1930s.

In the 1930s, agricultural chemist Charles F. Schnabel used young grasses to try to save dying chickens. The chickens survived and produced more eggs than other hens.

Quaker Oats and other companies began funding research into the benefits, and soon wheatgrass supplements, juices, and powders were widely available. Proponents of wheatgrass say that it is dense in plant nutrients that can improve health and offer supplemental nutrition.

When people consume the raw grass, they usually do so as part of a juice. Powdered wheatgrass is also available in capsules, liquid suspensions, or as a powder to add to smoothies.

Benefits of wheatgrass

Some of the benefits of wheatgrass include:

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory

Wheatgrass can be used to help relieve stomach pain and improve symptoms of other gastrointestinal problems.

Some studies have shown that wheatgrass acts as an antioxidant because of it contains vitamins A, C, and E.

Antioxidants reverse the effects of free radicals. These volatile compounds in the body have links to aging and other health issues, including cancer. Antioxidants help fight chronic inflammation, which occurs when the immune system reacts to particular health issues, such as arthritis, stomach problems, skin issues. Antioxidants might even help with mental health concerns, such as depression.

Many health benefits of wheatgrass may be due to its role as an antioxidant. So it may offer benefits similar to many other plant-based foods.

Cancer prevention and treatment

Like other antioxidants, wheatgrass may help prevent cancer. It could also supplement traditional cancer treatments. A 2017 study found that wheatgrass could slow the growth of oral cancer.

Other studies have reached similar conclusions. A 2015 study, for example, found that wheatgrass slowed the growth of colon cancer and caused some cancer cells to die.

Wheatgrass may also improve the effects of chemotherapy. One study has found wheatgrass can reduce side effects associated with chemotherapy.

Fighting infections

Some research has found that wheatgrass can kill or slow the growth of certain infections. This can be especially helpful in the treatment of infections that are resistant to antibiotics, or in people who are allergic to specific antibiotics.

2015 study carried out in a test tube found that wheatgrass has antimicrobial properties that can fight certain types of strep infections, as well as some forms of a bacteria called LactobacillusLactobacillus bacteria play a role in many infections, including dental infections.

Treating gastrointestinal distress

Practitioners of traditional medicine have long used wheatgrass to reduce stomach pain and manage minor gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea.

The purported gastrointestinal benefits of wheatgrass may be partially due to its fiber content. Wheatgrass is gluten-free, making it a good option for people with gluten intolerance.

Some research suggests that wheatgrass may be particularly useful in treating ulcerative colitis. Compared to a placebo, wheatgrass appears to reduce pain and other symptoms in some people.

For people who do not see improvements using traditional medications, wheatgrass might be an alternative remedy.

Preventing and treating diabetes

Research has found that wheatgrass may benefit those with diabetes. A 2014 study on rats, for example, found that wheatgrass could raise insulin levels, helping to lower blood glucose. By fighting inflammation, wheatgrass may also help reduce the side effects of diabetes.

Preliminary research points to the power of wheatgrass to fight obesity. Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes and can intensify the adverse health effects of diabetes.

Nutritional breakdown

In addition to the health benefits, wheatgrass offers a number of nutrients that are essential as part of a balanced diet.

Though low in calories, wheatgrass is a good source of protein. It is not, however, a complete protein. Like most plant-based foods, wheatgrass is an excellent source of fiber, which can help reduce blood glucose. Wheatgrass can also support healthy digestion and help people feel full for longer than they usually would.

Wheatgrass is a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and K, and of vitamin B6, zinc, iron, selenium, and manganese.

Risks

People who are allergic to other grasses may also be allergic to wheatgrass. Likewise, due to cross-contamination and cross-pollination, it is possible for wheatgrass to contain the pollen of other plants.

People with plant allergies should consult a doctor before trying wheatgrass.

Side effects

Some people experience nausea or constipation after consuming wheatgrass, perhaps due to its high fiber content. People with a history of constipation should talk to a doctor before trying wheatgrass.

Sometimes, the raw form of wheatgrass is contaminated by mold or bacteria. If preparing wheatgrass at home, wash it thoroughly to remove contaminants before using.

When consuming wheatgrass supplements, buy only from a trusted source. Consider contacting the manufacturer to ask what steps it takes to reduce the risk of contamination.

Wheatgrass taste and ideas for consumption

Wheatgrass tastes like grass, and it can overpower other flavors.

How to make it taste better

Mixing raw wheatgrass in a smoothie can still produce a drink that tastes like something out of a lawnmower. But combining wheatgrass with other ingredients that have a strong taste, such as pineapple or citrus fruit, can help balance the flavor.

Ways to consume wheatgrass

vegetable and fruit juices

Including citrus fruit or pineapple in a wheatgrass drink can help to improve the taste.

Some people prefer to take powdered wheatgrass in capsule form. This almost eliminates the taste and can make it easier to get a daily dose of the grass.

A few wheatgrass supplement manufacturers offer flavored wheatgrass capsules or tablets that include citrus fruits or other dominant flavors.

For people who prefer not to experiment with smoothie or juice recipes, these may offer a tasty solution.

Also,

Many studies on the benefits of wheatgrass have produced promising results but have not been well designed. This means it is not possible to know for sure whether wheatgrass can treat or prevent any specific medical condition.

Because most people tolerate wheatgrass well, it is safe to use alongside other treatments. Nobody should take wheatgrass as a substitute for medical treatment. To test the benefits of wheatgrass, try a daily wheatgrass smoothie or supplement.

As research evolves, it may become clear that wheatgrass is an effective medical treatment for other medical conditions. For now, however, the research is inconclusive.

What is the Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

The human body uses inflammation to help fight illness and also protect areas from further harm. In most cases, inflammation is a necessary part of the healing process.

However, some medical conditions cause faulty inflammatory responses. These are called chronic inflammatory diseases.

One of the best measures a person can take to prevent or reduce inflammation is to try an anti-inflammatory diet. An anti-inflammatory diet involves eating certain foods and avoiding others in order to minimize the symptoms of chronic inflammatory diseases.

What is an anti-inflammatory diet?

vegan stew with chickpeas and vegetables, including tomatoes, broccoli, and peppers.

The anti-inflammatory diet includes nutrient-dense plant foods and avoids processed foods and meats.

An anti-inflammatory diet consists of foods that reduce inflammatory responses. This diet involves replacing sugary, refined foods with whole, nutrient-rich foods.

An anti-inflammatory diet also contains increased amounts of antioxidants, which are reactive molecules in food that reduce the number of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules in the body that may damage cells and increase the risk of certain diseases.

Many popular diets already follow anti-inflammatory principles. For example, the Mediterranean diet contains fish, whole grains, and fats that are good for the heart. Research has shown that this diet can reduce the effects of inflammation on the cardiovascular system.

What conditions can an anti-inflammatory diet help?

Doctors, dietitians, and naturopaths recommend anti-inflammatory diets as a complementary therapy for many conditions that are worsened by chronic inflammation.

An anti-inflammatory diet can help many conditions, including:

  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • psoriasis
  • asthma
  • eosinophilic esophagitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • colitis
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • metabolic syndrome
  • heart disease
  • lupus
  • Hashimoto’s disease

Additionally, eating an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce the risk of certain cancers, including colorectal cancer.

Foods to eat

Cherries and blueberries piled up.

Cherries and blueberries contain antioxidants, which may help to ease inflammation.

Good choices for a person following an anti-inflammatory diet include the following:

  • dark leafy greens, including kale and spinach
  • blueberries, blackberries, and cherries
  • dark red grapes
  • nutrition-dense vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower
  • beans and lentils
  • green tea
  • red wine, in moderation
  • avocado and coconut
  • olives
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, and almonds
  • cold water fish, including salmon and sardines
  • turmeric and cinnamon
  • dark chocolate
  • spices and herbs

Foods to avoid

The main foods that people following an anti-inflammatory diet should avoid include:

  • processed meats
  • sugary drinks
  • trans fats, found in fried foods
  • white bread
  • white pasta
  • gluten
  • soybean oil and vegetable oil
  • processed snack foods, such as chips and crackers
  • desserts, such as cookies, candy, and ice cream
  • excess alcohol
  • too many carbohydrates

Some people find that foods in the nightshades family, such as tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and potatoes, can trigger flares in some inflammatory diseases. There is limited evidence of this, but a person can try cutting nightshades from the diet for 2–3 weeks to see if their symptoms improve.

There is some evidence that suggests a high-carbohydrate diet, even when the carbs are healthful, may promote inflammation. Because of this, many people on an anti-inflammatory diet choose to reduce their carbohydrate intake.

Can a vegetarian diet reduce inflammation?

People considering an anti-inflammatory diet may also want to consider eliminating meat in favor of vegetarian protein sources or fatty fish.

Research suggests that people following a vegetarian diet have higher levels of plasma AA, a marker of overall health that is associated with lower levels of inflammation and heart disease.

A 2017 study found that eating animal products increased the risk of systemic inflammation, while another study suggests that reduced inflammation is one of the key benefits of a vegan diet.

Anti-inflammatory diet tips

Anti-inflammatory diets may be a big adjustment for people who tend to eat different kinds of food.

There are several things a person can do to make the transition to an anti-inflammatory diet easier, including:

  • eating a variety of fruits and vegetables
  • reducing the amount of fast food eaten
  • eliminating soda and sugary beverages
  • planning shopping lists to ensure healthful meals and snacks are on hand
  • carrying small anti-inflammatory snacks while on the go
  • drinking more water
  • staying within the daily calorie requirements
  • adding supplements, such as omega-3 and turmeric, to the diet
  • exercising regularly
  • getting the proper amount of sleep

What is inflammation?

Woman with asthma using inhaler outside

Conditions such as asthma, diabetes, arthritis, and psoriasis may be managed with an anti-inflammatory diet.

Inflammation is the body’s response to illnesses including infections or injuries. The body’s immune system sends an increased amount of white blood cells to the area fighting off the infection or injury.

Inflammation is not usually a bad thing — it is just the body trying to protect itself from further injury or illness by increasing the immune response in the area being threatened by bacteria or injury.

However, there are several chronic inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis, psoriasis, and asthma that can cause the immune system to go into overdrive and attack healthy tissues.

In addition to taking any prescribed medications, a person with an inflammatory disease can try to reduce inflammation by making changes to their diet.

Also,

Anti-inflammatory diets promote a reduction in inflammation. A person may be able to reduce their body’s inflammatory response by implementing these healthful dietary changes.

Reducing inflammation may help a person feel more comfortable by alleviating some symptoms of inflammation.

Also, it may help the person avoid some of the potential health problems that chronic inflammation can cause or decrease the need for medication.

A dietitian can help a person develop a dietary plan to tackle a chronic inflammatory condition.

What is the AIP Diet?

The autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet is designed to help reduce inflammation in the body to relieve symptoms of autoimmune disorders. But what can you eat on this diet and what evidence is there of the benefits?

An autoimmune disease is any condition where a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks and damages its own bodily tissues. Inflammation is a common feature of an autoimmune disease. Examples include psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.

This article explores what the AIP diet is and what foods a person can and cannot eat if they want to follow the diet. It also considers the scientific evidence available to support the effectiveness of the AIP diet in the management and treatment of autoimmune diseases.

What is the AIP diet?

vegetarian sweet potato curry.

The AIP diet is a version of the Paleo diet, designed to help treat autoimmune diseases.

Also known as the paleo autoimmune protocol, the AIP diet is a much stricter version of the Paleo diet (which is based on meat, fish, vegetables, nuts and seeds).

It advises eliminating foods that may cause inflammation in the gut and eat nutrient-rich foods.

The AIP diet is based on a belief that autoimmune conditions are caused by something called a “leaky gut”, which is medically now referred to as altered intestinal permeability.

The theory is that small holes in the gut cause food to leak into the body. This is thought to cause the immune system to overreact and start attacking bodily tissues in error.

By eating nutrient-rich foods and avoiding inflammatory ones, the AIP diet aims to heal any holes in the gut. This is thought to help:

  • reset the immune system
  • prevent the autoimmune response
  • reduce symptoms of autoimmune diseases
  • prevent the occurrence of secondary autoimmune diseases

People who do the AIP diet should follow it strictly for a few weeks and then slowly reintroduce foods that they have avoided.

The idea is to see if there is a reaction when the food is reintroduced. If there is a reaction, the suggestion is that a person should exclude this food from their diet long-term.

Foods to eat on the AIP diet

These include:

  • meat and fish, preferably not factory raised
  • vegetables (but not nightshades, such as tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and potatoes)
  • sweet potatoes
  • fruit (in small quantities)
  • coconut milk
  • avocado, olive, and coconut oil
  • dairy-free fermented foods, such as kombucha, kefir made with coconut milk, sauerkraut, and kimchi
  • honey or maple syrup (but only to be used occasionally, in small quantities)
  • fresh non-seed herbs, such as basil, mint, and oregano
  • green tea and non-seed herbal teas
  • bone broth
  • vinegars, such as apple cider and balsamic

Foods to avoid on the AIP diet

These include:

  • all grains, such as oats, rice, and wheat
  • all dairy
  • eggs
  • legumes, such as beans and peanuts
  • nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and potatoes)
  • all sugars, including sugar replacements (except for occasional use of honey)
  • butter and ghee
  • all oils (except for avocado, coconut, and olive)
  • food additives
  • alcohol

Recipes and snack options

Here are some AIP meal plans to get started.

Breakfast

Green smoothies in glasses on wooden chopping board, with spinach leaves, banana, and avocado.

A green smoothie can be nutritionally dense, and filling enough to replace a small meal.

This AIP smoothie recipe, from Paleo Mum, is a tasty breakfast meal replacement:

  • ½ banana
  • ¼ avocado
  • 1 cup vegetable juice
  • 2-3 cups fresh leafy greens (for example, spinach and kale)
  • 1-2 scoops AIP-friendly (collagen) protein powder

Blend all the ingredients except for the protein powder in a food processor for up to 2 minutes. Add the protein powder and pulse the food processor to blend it in.

Lunch

This soup recipe from AIP Lifestyle is a simple and tasty idea for lunch that a person can make in advance:

  • 3 cups of fresh, washed baby arugula
  • 2 ½ cups of bone broth
  • 2 cups steamed parsnips
  • 1 cup roasted spring onions
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • pinch of salt

After heating the bone broth in a pan and steaming the parsnips, add all the ingredients into a food processor and blend.

Dinner

This quick and easy AIP chicken dinner idea is inspired by Eat Something Delicious:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 lb. frozen cubed sweet potato
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 ¾ AIP-friendly herb blend (such as garlic and herbs)
  • 1 lb. frozen broccoli

Arrange the frozen vegetables and chicken in a baking tray and season with the oil, salt, and herb blend.

Cover the tray with foil and roast in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and roast in the oven for a further 20 minutes, or so.

Carob chip bars for snacking

This tasty snack idea is from Angel Slice:

  • 2 large ripe plantains
  • ½ pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp. tigernut flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 3 tbsp. coconut butter
  • ¼ coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • ¼ carob chips

Blend all ingredients except for carob chips in a food processor. Pour into a greased loaf pan and add in the carob chips. Bake for up to 50 minutes. The bars can be served with whipped coconut cream on top as an addition.

Does the AIP diet work?

The logic behind the AIP diet is that avoiding gut-irritating foods and eating nutrient-rich ones will reduce inflammation and heal any holes in the gut.

This is believed to reduce or prevent the immune system from attacking bodily tissues. In this way, the AIP diet aims to reduce the symptoms of autoimmune diseases. But what evidence is there that it works?

The link between gut health and autoimmune disease

3D model of gut and digestive system in human body.

Gut health may affect inflammatory diseases. The AIP diet attempts to treat such diseases with a specific diet.

There is some scientific evidence to support the link between gut health and inflammatory disease.

2012 study suggested bacterial growth in the gut might be linked to inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

This study in 2014 notes that the gut wall is maintained by networks of proteins. It explains that inflammation affects how well the gut wall functions. It also notes that food allergies can make the gut wall more porous.

The study concludes that problems with the gut wall are associated with autoimmune diseases. This goes some way to support the idea of the “leaky gut” proposed by supporters of the AIP diet.

However, the study adds that more research is needed to confirm that gut wall dysfunction is a primary risk factor in the development of inflammatory disease.

The AIP diet and autoimmune disease symptom reduction

2017 study found that eliminating certain foods as part of the AIP diet can improve symptoms of the autoimmune disease inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

This is one of the first clinical studies into the effectiveness of AIP diet. Further studies are required to support claims that it can reduce symptoms of other autoimmune diseases.

Also,

Research suggests that autoimmune diseases may be linked to how porous the gut wall may be.

It follows that a diet that promotes gut health may be beneficial for those with autoimmune diseases. There is evidence that one such regime, the AIP diet, may reduce symptoms of the autoimmune disease IBD.

More research is needed to say with certainty that the AIP diet can improve symptoms of all autoimmune diseases. However, the AIP diet is a healthful diet that people with autoimmune diseases may find beneficial. This diet may also reduce the need for certain medications or high dosages.

Anyone with an autoimmune disease looking to try the AIP diet should discuss this with their doctor.