Eliminating known inflammatory foods, resolving dysbiosis, SIBO et al. infections while healing the mucosal lining and strengthening gut immunity, are the keys to optimal health and balanced immune function. The terms “autoimmune paleo”, “the autoimmune protocol” or “AIP” have come to refer to a food plan geared toward improving immune function via decreasing triggers, strengthening digestion, and improving overall health. The goal is to increase anti-inflammatory superfoods to heal the integrity of the gut lining while simultaneously eliminating foods that create low grade immune/inflammatory responses, irritate the gut lining, and feed harmful bacteria (which lead to SIBO and dysbiosis). By eliminating the underlying mechanisms that drive inflammation and autoimmunity, you can modulate and bring balance to your overactive immune system.
The current protocol includes superfoods to eat on a daily basis along with probiotic and cultured foods to promote healthy intestinal micro-flora and strengthen gut immunity. The AIP serves as an excellent template to rapidly reduce inflammation and heal intestinal permeability also via specific dietary interventions. The list of foods to avoid also notes potential suspect foods including FODMAPS, high oxalate, histamine and salicylate foods and foods that contribute to SIBO.
To calm down the immune/inflammatory response and allow the gut to heal, it is suggested to remove the major offending foods: eggs, grains, alcohol, nightshades, nuts, seeds, legumes, and dairy et al. items on the “Foods To Eliminate” list for at least 30 days. It is recommended to use this dietary template for 30 days and continue on it for longer especially if re-introduced foods cause any reactions. It is suggested to inform your health care provider of your dietary changes and of any exacerbation of symptoms if reintroducing foods.
The AIP emphasis on whole, organic, and nutrient dense foods contributes to optimal digestion and immune function with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich fruit and vegetables. Blood sugar will stabilize and adrenals will strengthen with lots of minerals and amino acids from both protein and veggies.
Much gratitude to Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D., aka The Paleo Mom, for contributing to the food lists that comprise this more advanced version of the original autoimmune protocol. For more information on the science behind the AIP, you must read Sarah’s book: The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body.