New Study Explores Association Between Diet and Lupus
In a large analysis of women, a long-term healthy diet was not associated with risk of incident lupus. However, high consumption of nuts and legumes (vegetables) can potentially reduce lupus risk by 41%.
The data (dietary quality intake and lifestyle) of two groups of female nurses (more than 173,000) was studied. The data was evaluated against their long-term adherence to four dietary quality scores, the 2010 Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI-2010), Alternative Mediterranean Diet Score, Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension and the Empirical Dietary Inflammatory Pattern. These tools are used in clinical practice to measure dietary quality based on evidence-based recommendations. From the group, only 194 lupus cases were identified. High diet scores, age and other factors did not significantly affect lupus risk. Women with high scores in nut and legume consumption had a 41% decreased risk of lupus. The short-term high intake of the AHEI-2010 diet also suggested a lower risk.
"There are so many questions about how the external world may influence a person’s likelihood of developing lupus. Everyone is interested in how diet may affect this risk. Here we examined four different pre-specified dietary patterns, associated in past studies with overall health, and risks of cancer and hypertension, but in this large study of women followed for about 30 years, we did not find evidence of a an effect of any of these specific diets influencing risk of developing lupus. There still may be some effect of diet on lupus risk, but it is not a large effect and probably not related to any of these dietary patterns in particular," shared Karen Costenbader, MD, MPH, study author and Chair of the Lupus Foundation of America' Medical-Scientific Advisory Council.
There is much exploration on diet and lupus, and more research is needed to understand how food choices may play a role in the development or progression of the disease. In general, you should always try to follow a nutritious, well-balanced and varied diet. Please consult with your doctor if considering any changes to your diet. Learn about diet and nutrition with lupus.
Interested in getting research like this straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our bimonthly Inside Lupus Research email for all the latest.