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There are so many different autoimmune disorders out there, and they affect so many different body parts that it’s easy to forget that they all share a common cause…
Ongoing, system-wide inflammation confuses your immune system and causes it to attack organs and body parts that you don’t want it to attack.
That’s autoimmunity in a nutshell. Whether you’ve got lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease or any of the other autoimmune diseases that exist (there are more than 100!), your immune system is responding to inflammation in your body.
The good news is, there are a lot of proven, natural ways to reduce inflammation… and top among them is diet.
Inflammation-fighting diets (like the paleo diet, plant-based diets, the Mediterranean diet, etc.) have helped people with serious autoimmune disorders recover. These diets have also likely helped prevent more autoimmune diseases than we’ll ever know.
But today, rather than focusing on a whole diet overhaul, I want to make you aware of one food that continuously demonstrates an astounding effect on inflammation and autoimmune diseases…
The fishy way to prevent MS
A while back, I wrote about how eating fish at least twice per week significantly reduced symptoms in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
I was impressed by this research. Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious disease, and if eating fish a few times per week can make it less severe, that’s pretty amazing.
Now, it seems the simple act of eating fish can have equally amazing benefits for multiple sclerosis prevention.
A recent study from Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena found that high fish consumption significantly reduced the risk of multiple sclerosis and clinically isolated syndrome (the first time a person experiences neurologic symptoms that may eventually develop into MS).
The study included 1,153 people, and those who ate a lot of fish (one to three servings per week) and took a fish oil supplement were an astounding 45 percent less likely to develop MS or clinically isolated syndrome.
This is great news for everyone! MS is one of the most feared autoimmune diseases, so if frequently eating fish can reduce your risk, I’m sure a lot of people will be on board.
But it’s even better news for people who have a first-degree relative with MS. They have higher odds of developing the disease, so prevention is top on their mind.
But why is fish such a powerful form of autoimmune disease protection?
Well, it contains omega-3s, one of nature’s greatest inflammation fighters. The more of these healthy fatty acids you feed your body, the lower your inflammation levels, and the less likely you are to develop autoimmune disorders.
In fact, researchers in this study also found that some people have a genetic advantage where omega-3s are concerned. They regulate fatty acids more effectively than others, which means the fatty acids they consume get put to good use. Nothing goes to waste, and they’re healthier for it.
Eating fish for life
As autoimmune diseases become more and more common, it’s time we all make fish a more prominent part of our diet.
Schedule at-least two fish-focused meals per week. Here’s a tuna salad with avocado recipe and a salmon lettuce wrap recipe to get you started. FYI… the healthiest fish to put on your plate are the ones with the highest omega-3s, like:
- Wild Alaskan salmon
- Arctic char
- Atlantic mackerel
- Rainbow trout
- Albacore tuna
- Pacific halibut
Of course, if this study shows us anything, it’s that even if you eat fish (but especially if you don’t) fish oil supplements should be a staple in your vitamin collection. Just like you take your multivitamin and probiotic daily, don’t forget to pop this pill that’s so important to protect yourself from serious autoimmune diseases. If you’re unsure what fish oil supplement to buy, check out Easy Health Options contributor Craig Cooper’s advice for shopping for fish oil supplements.
- Eating fish may be tied to a reduced risk of MS — ScienceDaily
- High fish intake may reduce MS risk — Healio
- Autoimmune Disease List — American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc.
- What Causes MS? — National Multiple Sclerosis Society
- Clinically Isolated Syndrome — National Multiple Sclerosis Society
- 13 Best Fish: High in Omega-3s – and Environment-Friendly — US News & World Report