Autoimmune protocol: anti-inflammation diet

autoimmune protocol recipes

 Autoimmune protocol: what is an anti-inflammation diet? 

Now that you know about the dangers of chronic inflammation, let’s look at how the autoimmune protocol diet can help you heal. Dr Sarah Ballantyne, aka ‘The Paleo Mom’, describes the anti-inflammation diet, also known as the ‘Autoimmune Protocol’, as being very similar to the Paleo diet:

The biggest difference between a standard Paleo diet and the Autoimmune Protocol is where we draw the line between “yes” foods and “no” foods to get more health-promoting compounds and fewer detrimental compounds in our diet. Those who are typically quite healthy can tolerate less-optimal foods than those who aren’t. You can think of the Autoimmune Protocol as a pickier version of the Paleo diet; it accepts only those foods that are clear winners.”

Foods can be viewed as having two kinds of constituents within them: those that promote health (like nutrients!) and those that undermine health (like inflammatory compounds). Some foods are obvious wins for a health-promoting diet because they have tons of beneficial constituents and very few or no constituents that undermine health—good examples of these superfoods are organ meats, seafood, and most vegetables.”

Other foods are obvious fails because they have a relative lack of health-promoting constituents and are rife with problematic compounds—good examples are gluten-containing grains, sugar, dairy, peanuts, and most soy products.

“She goes on to discuss the food that falls into a more ‘a grey area’, such as tomatoes, which do contain nutrients but are also known to aggravate the immune system.”


The autoimmune protocol is a nutritious diet and avoids foods that may lead to disease 

The main aim of the Autoimmune Protocol is to ensure your body receives enough nutrients and avoids food that can lead to disease, or at least interfere with the body’s ability to heal. As difficult as it may be, you need to cut out the foods that are most likely to be holding back your health.

“after a period of time, many of the excluded foods, especially those that have nutritional merit despite also containing some (but not too much) potentially detrimental compounds, can be reintroduced.”


A quick word on the Paleo Diet 

The Paleo diet is not a fad, in fact, the health benefits are supported by scientific research, where it has been pitted against other diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, and come out on top.

Studies also found therapeutic benefits of the Paleo diet for multiple sclerosis. Dr Sarah  Ballantyne says: “while anecdotal stories cannot be used to validate any dietary approach, the tens of thousands (and counting!) of people who have successfully used variations of the Paleo diet, including the Autoimmune Protocol, to mitigate and even completely reverse their diseases is compelling.”

The autoimmune protocol focuses on four key points

  • Nutrient density to provide building blocks for healing
  • Gut health to support the growth of healthy bacteria and avoid foods that irritate the lining of the
  • Hormone regulation, which is influenced by what we eat and when and how we eat Our immune system is also affected by how much sleep we get, outdoor activities and stress reduction and management.
  • Restoring of immune system regulation by providing sufficient micronutrients for optimal hormone and immune system

Following an anti-inflammation diet is not easy, but neither is being ill! 

I’ll be honest with you – following an anti-inflammation diet isn’t easy, but then neither is being ill. It takes a lot of dedication to keep up with this type of diet, but the benefits you will reap from it far outweigh the difficulties. If you have an insatiable sweet-tooth or an addiction to sugar, processed foods and coffee, etc., I’d recommend slowly weaning yourself off them. Otherwise, the shock to your body will hit you hard. This shock will also make it hard for you to stick to the new diet. Take one step at a time to prepare yourself for the full auto-immune protocol.

For more professional and medical information about the autoimmune or AIP protocol, I’d suggest visiting The Paleo Mom blog, in particular, the post about AIP protocol. 

Foods to avoid on the autoimmune protocol 

Some food can trigger and escalate the inflammatory response of the body, causing allergic reactions and, according to some studies, even cancer.


Dairy is acid forming and a common allergen, known to promote long-term inflammation in the body. To reduce inflammation, cut out milk, cheese, yoghurt. In short, cut our all dairy products.

Processed foods 

As well as being unhealthy for you, processed foods contain chemicals, preservatives, and substances that increase inflammation. Any food that contains hydrogenated oils, MSG, dyes, and anything ending in ‘–ate’ (meaning non-natural preservative) should also be avoided at all costs.

Fried foods 

Chips, fries, doughnuts and anything else that has been deep fried trigger inflammation. The oil used to fry these foods are usually laden with trans-fats, which is incredibly bad for you and can clog up your arteries.


Food that contains gluten, such as flour made from wheat, rye, Kamut, or possibly oats, could irritate the digestive tract, leading to inflammation, depression, fatigue, and so on.


Although eggs are very healthy, you need to remove them during the strict phase of the AIP protocol. This elimination phase is great to rule out you are not allergic to them.

Refined and processed sugars 

Refined sugar can increase inflammation and worsen symptoms of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases like arthritis, diabetes, and vascular disease. Check your food labels for words that end in ‘ose’ (fructose, glucose, etc) as this indicates that it’s a refined sugar. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that fructose is better than glucose – sugar is sugar.

“The best advice is to avoid foods with health claims on the label, or better yet, to avoid food with labels in the first place.”

-Dr Mark Hyman


Other things to avoid on the AIP protocol are grains, legumes, refined oils, eggs (especially the whites) nuts, seeds, coffee, cocoa, nightshades, gluten cross-reactive foods, alcohol, NSAIDS, non-nutritive sweeteners, emulsifiers and thickeners.

Foods you should eat on the autoimmune protocol 

One of the most powerful ways to beat chronic inflammation is through your diet. Here’s a list of what you should be eating more of. If you’re suffering from inflammation or disease, I would really urge you to do more research on auto-immune protocols.


Food high in Omega-3 fatty acids can curb inflammation, according to studies. A good source of this can be found in oily fish, flaxseed, walnuts, almonds and olives.


Studies show that a high number of antioxidants in your diet can suppress harmful immune activity—especially chronic inflammation.

Natural and organic food 

It’s vital to follow a diet that contains food free from hormones, pesticides, herbicides and additives. Focus on finding food from sources as natural and organic as possible. Do you really want to be eating food that’s been sprayed with chemicals designed to kill insects and other plants? You can eat all types of vegetables and up to 8 – 14 cups of it a day, as recommended by the AIP protocol.

Herbs and spices 

Herbs and spices have some of the most powerful antioxidant effects, especially cloves, ginger, rosemary and turmeric, which have great anti-inflammatory benefits. Other beneficial anti-inflammatory herbs and spices include black pepper, chamomile, cardamom, cilantro (coriander), basil, cinnamon, garlic, fennel seeds, parsley and nutmeg.

Healthy Fats 

Fat has a reputation for being very bad for you but there are good and healthy fats which are essential to our diet and can significantly reduce inflammation. Examples of good fats include avocado, oily fish like salmon and mackerel, grass-fed pasture-raised fed animals, olive oils, and coconut oil.

So please ensure to get your much-needed daily quantities of healthy fats!

Dr Mark Hyman, founder of and author of several progressive health books says: “Our typical Western diet is full of inflammatory fats, saturated fats, trans fats, too many omega-6 and inflammatory processed plant oils like soy and corn oils. These increase IGF-1 and stimulate pimple follicles.”


Healthy grass-fed meats and organ meat 

Make sure you pick the highest quality of meat that your budget allows. I prefer to get my meat from a local farmer as I know that the animals are grass-fed and treated humanely. You should also try to include more organ meats in your diet, preferably three to five times a week.

Bone Broth 

This delicious golden tonic is my favourite go-to meal and an excellent way to keep inflammation at bay!

In conclusion, try to include plenty of probiotic-rich and glycine-rich foods in your diet, vegetables that fits your personal needs, healthy fats and proteins. In addition, source the best premium ingredients you can afford and eat with a lot of variety.

Drink ozonated water to lower inflammation 

Ozonated water has been one of my best finds for improving my health and ultimately my hair. Ozonated water (03) adds more oxygen to your body, which helps prevents and combat illness and increases disease-fighting antioxidants.

For detailed lists of what you should eat, I recommend visiting The Paleo Mom’s blog/ 

You’ll also find an interesting post from guest blogger Sarah Al-Khayyal about what food labels really mean. If you want clear answers on what labels with the words: antibiotic-free, biodynamic, cage-Free, Fairtrade, food alliance, free-range, grass-fed, locally grown, natural, organic, etc. mean, I suggest you check out her post. 

Empowering others via my anti-ageing wellness platform and holistic health books

I hope you liked this article about the autoimmune protocol. If you would like to learn more about my tips and tricks on how I saved my life from being chronically ill and tired to the lively person I am today, ensure to check out other pages of this anti-ageing wellness platform.

I changed the way I eat in 2011 when I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue and adrenal fatigue, conditions where the thyroid is affected. I had no energy, was exhausted, desperate, and my weight had sky-rocketed.

Because of that, I decided to ditch sugars, processed foods, grains, dairy and toxic chemicals. And step-by-step, I introduced a whole-foods-based (first Paleo) and later an AIP (autoimmune protocol) friendly ketogenic approach to food which gave me my life, happiness and energy back!

Now, through my holistic wellness books and anti-ageing health platform, I want to empower people around the world do the same and regain their health, hair, life, vitality and beauty!

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