SUMMARY: Plenty of studies find anti-inflammatory effects of dietary antioxidants such as green tea for chronic disease. Even in IBD patients, who have a very messed up microbiome (a finding of the American Gut data), the benefits of antioxidant therapy is well documented (see below studies). Read here about a simple EASY N=1 hack for one IBD patient that shut down a mild psoriasis skin flare that began two years ago. They flared psoriasis, but not the autoimmune IBD, eating strict healing diet Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) probably due to a gluten/sugar airborne exposure. The hack that worked for stopping psoriasis: Green Tea, Black Tea with Lemon Juice antioxidant blend! I share their recipe here! It is simple enough that you may want to add it to your immune calming anti-inflammatory arsenal too! Make sure to see below for why it is important to NOT drink Green Tea for antioxidant benefit along with Iron.
If the tea and lemon juice blend posted here isn’t your cup of tea, try extending the concept and increase other antioxidants. For ideas, see below for the Phytonutrients from Dana Farber Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center PDF. Also see below for the vegetables and fruits Dr. Terry Wahls recommends for her MS diet now in clinical trial. That diet is also for autoimmunes like RA, Lupus, IBD, psoriasis, and neurological such as Parkinson’s, early memory loss/dementia, depression, anxiety, even PTSD (fighter pilots with narcolepsy), traumatic brain injury, as well as diabetes and obesity (to normalize blood sugars), and heart disease atherosclerosis — which is now being looked at as possible autoimmune since it is a gut and inflammation issue (see the whole TMAO issue here).
That something as simple as drinking a blend of green and black tea with lemons in addition to your healing diet (be it Mediterranean, PALEO, SCD, GAPS, AIP, WAHLS…) can defy autoimmune psoriasis is amazing. You can even add it to smoothies (see here) or try this Power Sports Drink Smoothie — even for kids)!
The RECIPE: Defy Autoimmune Psoriasis: Green Tea, Black Tea, Lemon Juice Blend
IMPORTANT: DO NOT Drink Green Tea along with Iron
Combining Green Tea and Iron Does Not Help IBD Patients or anyone else drinking it to calm the immune system for that matter! The article explains that if drinking green tea for antioxidant benefit, DO NOT drink it along with iron (like leafy greens kale/spinach, red meat, or supplements containing iron). NOTE: IBD really shouldn’t be taking supplements containing iron as they are really hard on the gut but others using green for antioxidant benefit may be.
EGCG, the primary compound in green tea, inhibits myeloperoxidase, a pro-inflammatory enzyme, which is released by white blood cells during inflammation. “If you drink green tea after an iron-rich meal (red meat, spinach, kale), the main compound in the tea will bind to the iron and the green tea loses its potential as an antioxidant. In order to get the benefits of green tea, it may be best to not consume it with iron-rich foods.
Why this IBD patient may be right in thinking airborne gluten and sugar originated the psoriasis flare.
There is a psoriasis and celiac disease (CD) connection!
The “expanded” SCD foods this IBD patient re-introduced and why.
- They added in a few foods that are in line with the UMass IBD-AID (anti-inflammatory diet) guidelines. Foods added were cocoa, sweet potatoes, oats, and maple syrup although they aren’t eating those with abandon. They also now eat a few things that are not within SCD or UMass IBD-AID guidelines such as properly prepared quinoa, green plantains, green bananas, and cooked/cooled white potatoes (and albeit a very few potato chips here and there, sigh).
- Excluding those chips, the foods re-introduced mostly have the specific purpose of expanding foods having substrate that is especially helpful for increasing microbiome diversity and abundance through fermentation in the colon. Hello increased butyrate.
- Influencing their expanded diet was the insights of an x-NFL player that had IBD. He ate strict SCD for about 3 years. Imagine eating a few loaves of SCD Banana Nut Bread each day to keep calorie loads in season! He has successfully expanded his diet, though he still is gluten-free and lactose containing dairy-free. Potatoes actually took the longest time for him to tolerate.
- So dietary hacks for the psoriasis flare beginning in 2016 likely interacted with an immune system that had somewhat improved functionality. But that’s only purely my guess.
- We have no way of knowing tolerance or inflammation from these food additions because they don’t have a GI doc, sigh, that tests systematically inflammatory markers (blood H&H, albumin, SED, and CRP) along with fecal calprotectin for food additions beyond SCD. A patient of Dr. David Suskind explained to me that this is the strategy Dr. David Suskind uses although he prefers his IBD patients remain strict SCD.
- UMass IBD-AID is amazing and a clinical trial looking at microbiome pre and post this diet is currently underway at UMass for IBD. The initial pilot study results for the UMass study showed success for 24 IBD patients eating a whole foods diet which follows the guidelines of a slightly modified SCD diet — see here for Table 2, UMass IBD-AID Food Phase Chart. Conclusion. UMass has even begun teaching the IBD-AID evidence based diet cooking class. You can read more about the UMass IBD-AID diet in this post — it is the SECOND STUDY listed under the lightbulb or “IBD Studies” section.
The studies: IBD, Green Tea and Other Antioxidants.
- Green Tea Polyphenols and Sulfasalazine have Parallel Anti-Inflammatory Properties in Colitis Models. June 2013
- Bioactivity of Polyphenols: Preventive and Adjuvant Strategies toward Reducing Inflammatory Bowel Diseases-Promises, Perspectives, and Pitfalls. July 2016
- Flavonoids in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Review. April 2016
- Advances in nutritional therapy in inflammatory bowel diseases: Review. Jan 2016
- Antioxidant therapy for treatment of inflammatory bowel disease: Does it work? Dec 2015
Antioxidants in other healing diets: Cancer and WAHLS (for MS, other autoimmunes, and neurological conditions).
Wahls insights on green tea: She recommends in addition to drinking it, to coat grassfed beef in green tea to allow the phytonutrients and all of the great antioxidants in tea to seep into the meat and tenderize it nicely. To do so, she simply coats pork, beef, or bison roast with 2 to 3 tablespoons of loose green tea (or 3 to 4 bags of green tea). It is then roasted at low temperature, preferably at 180 to 225 degrees. Last, keep the meat medium rare.
A recent status update of Dr. Wahls research can be heard on Robb Wolf, Episode 252 – Dr. Terry Wahls – Multiple Sclerosis and Autoimmunity, Dec 14, 2014. Dr Wahls explained that her diet, “The Wahl’s Protocol, Food As Medicine” is being used successfully to treat: RA, Lupus, IBD, psoriasis, and neurological such as Parkinson’s and early memory loss/dementia, depression, anxiety, even PTSD (fighter pilots with narcolepsy), traumatic brain injury, as well as diabetes and obesity (to normalize blood sugars), and heart disease atherosclerosis — which is now being looked at as possible autoimmune since it is a gut and inflammation issue (see the whole TMAO issue here).
WAHLS explained in this podcast that her protocol recommends eating 9 cups vegetables/fruits each day for for men and tall women (like 6′) and if a petite women, then 4 to 6 cups each day. The goal is to eat high quality protein and lots of protein. Wahls suggests in order to eat 9 cups of vegetables/fruits a day, to eat 4 cups of whole but to juice the remaining. She says to not over stuff yourself. When asked if you can substitute for some vegetables, some low calorie sprouted lentils, her reply did not really answer the question. Wahl’s Protocol can be tweaked to be a more ketogenic diet but reduces protein from the classic high PALEO type diet, to add in vegetables.
Another Pearl of the podcast is that Wahls Protocol helps: toxic overload, nutrient insufficiency, leaky gut, antibiotic leading to leaky gut, insufficient Vitamin D3 and K2 levels, food sensitivity, autoimmunity… and these are at root of all autoimmune and degenerative problem. She says there are only so many ways disease can occur. To consider focusing on the Functional Medicine chapter of her book so as to target the root cause of the illness and put your first efforts there. Disease conditions are not snowflake. Remove grains, legumes, and dairy which are common gut inflammatories.
Want to help calm a reactive immune system? Consider increasing antioxidant foods such as green tea, or those of the Dana-Farber Cancer Center, or add in the tenets of Wahls Protocol. What do you have to lose?