We should all be aiming towards a healthy diet, but people living with scleroderma should take some special care to look after themselves.
Scleroderma can often lead to gastrointestinal involvement (GI) including, incontinence, constipation, gastroesophageal problems, diarrhoea, weight loss/nutritional issues and abdominal pain. All of these can be helped or hindered by your diet but finding a diet that works for you can be a long journey of trial and error.
The recommended diet for those with scleroderma, naturally, is not the same for everyone, but there are some general guiding principles. We've outlined a few below, as recommended by the NHS 'Eating Well' guidelines.
1. Consider eating less meat:
A way to aid the production of healthy gut bacteria is to cut down on meat consumption. Studies have shown that those who subscribe to a plant-based diet have less inflammation and lower cholesterol than their meat eating peers.
However, followers of plant based diets aren't always healthier. Even vegetarians and vegans can eat their share of processed foods. Avoiding overly processed food can be extremely beneficial to the growth of healthy bacteria in the stomach and aid digestion.
2. Add some spice to your life:
Adding some spices, such as cinnamon, ginger, turmeric liberally to foods can provide some benefit to a balanced diet. Research has shown that spices such as turmeric and cinnamon have anti-inflammatory effects. Cinnamon in particular has been shown to help maintain ideal blood glucose levels. Cutting down on added sugars is beneficial in many ways, so be sure to check the ingredient labels for added sugars such as sucrose, corn syrup and glucose.
3. Stay hydrated:
Making sure that you are well hydrated can aid digestion and helps to flush out any lingering toxins. The NHS guide recommends drinking between 6-8 glasses of water per day, and if you don't like the taste of plain water you can try adding lemon slices.
4. Take some extra vitamins:
You can also consider taking an over-the counter multivitamin for supplements such as zinc, magnesium, vitamin B12 and D. This can help you get some added nutrients into your diet.