Avoid saturated fats. According to Stacy Shaul, a certified clinical nutritionist in Los Angeles, "the saturated fat coming from both dairy and red meat causes an inflammatory response, which is exactly what people with autoimmune diseases should avoid." Load up instead on fruit, vegetables, and lean meats like turkey.
Don't celebrate on an empty stomach. "Just as one shouldn't go grocery shopping when hungry, it's best not to go to a party hungry," Shaul says. A nutrient-rich snack -- such as a handful of Brazil nuts, which are high in anti-inflammatory selenium -- takes the edge off and prevents hors d'oeuvres overload.
Go potluck. When preparing that pre-party snack, why not make enough for everyone? "Offer to bring a healthy item, such as a green salad, so that there will definitely be healthy items available," Shaul suggests.
Try something fishy. Fish oil can combat depression, which may be especially acute around the holidays. After consulting your doctor, Shaul says, "Try to eat more fish such as salmon and sardines, which offer the omega-3 fatty acids proven to relieve depressive symptoms and reduce inflammation.
Make room for exercise. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, moderate exercise increases flexibility, muscle strength, and cardiac fitness, and may help depression. If your regular exercise routine feels too time-consuming, try breaking it up to fit your holiday schedule. The American College of Rheumatology reports that three 10-minute increments of exercise, which can be done in several short walks throughout the day, have the same effect as one 30-minute routine.
Taken from the Fall 2005 issue of Lupus Now. Written by Emily Wojcik