Sjögren’s Syndrome

Posted on Updated on

Do your eyes feel dry, your tongue is cracked and your mouth is dry? Do you have trouble swallowing dry foods or find it hard to talk sometimes?

32710133 - cracked skin

Sjögren’s is an auto-immune disorder that often affects the mucosal linings throughout the body.

Diagnosis is through a blood test for antibodies to extractable nuclear antigens, specifically;

  • anti-La
  • anti-Ro

Sometimes the test may come back negative, but you may still be suffering from Sjogren’s symptoms.

Symptoms of Sjögren’s auto-immune disorder vary from person to person but may include:

  • a dry, gritty or burning sensation in the eyes
  • dry mouth
  • difficulty talking, chewing or swallowing
  • a sore or cracked tongue
  • dry or burning throat
  • dry or peeling lips
  • a change in taste or smell
  • increased dental decay
  • joint pain
  • vaginal and skin dryness
  • digestive problems
  • dry nose
  • fatigue

Diet for Sjögren’s;

As inflammation is one of the main problems with Sjögren’s, following a low inflammatory diet is important. Making sure you get enough EFA’s (essential fatty acids) is really important as is eating moist foods rather than dry or drying foods.

Include plenty of moistening foods;


Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and Vegetables

Eat all the colours of the rainbow to maximise the anti-oxidants and to ensure you’re getting the most phytonutrients possible. Anti-oxidants help reduce inflammatin and the fibre will support bowel health and beneficial bacteria. Eating as many raw as possible will ensure maximum anti-oxidant content too.

Make sure you’re getting plenty of healthy fats.

Healthy fats

Healthy fats contain omega 3 fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory. You can get them in most oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna as well as extra virgin olive oil, certain seeds, raw nuts, and avocado.  Add ginger and garlic, which are also anti-inflammatory foods.

Eat plenty of fiber.

Cereal and fibre

Foods high in fibre help reduce inflammation, detoxify the system, help keep the bowels healthy and help promote the replication of benenficial bacteria.

Include a tablespoon per day of flaxseeds, slippery elm, psyllium husks or LSA. Sprinkle them on soaked oats as a Bircher muesli will be a wonderful start to any day! See recipe here,

Eat organic and grass fed meat

RAw meat

When an animal is exposed to any chemicals, either in herbicides or pesticides or in their feed,the toxic chemical is stored in the fat of the animal. This is why it’s important to eat organic and grass fed meat. They are also more anti-inflammatory than grain fed and non-organic. Just be aware that meat eating in the wrong blood type can be pro-inflammatory.

Good Foods for Sjögren’s Syndrome

Vegetables Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, beets, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, green beans, and kale.
Fruits Apricots, apples, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, Kiwi, lemon, honey dew melon, pears and papaya
Grains Quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice, millet, tapioca, red rice, sorghum, amaranth, and brown rice
Protein Eggs, chicken, turkey, lentils, split peas, bee pollen, spirulina, and legumes
Herbs/spices Sea salt, carob powder, peppercorns, and turmeric
Nuts/Seeds Sesame seeds, walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, cashews, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, and tahini
Fish Trout, mackerel, sardines, salmon, and tuna
Others Herbal tea, coconut water, seltzer, yerba mate tea, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, hemp seed oil, walnut oil and purified water

What Should Be Avoided in Sjögren’s Syndrome Diet?

fatty foods

  • Foods that are high in hydrogenated or Trans fats. These are highly inflammatory foods and should be avoided. Red meats are often avoided because they contain arachidonic acid that is very inflammatory (especially in the wrong blood type). Trans fats are bad for you all around and can also cause heart disease. These are found in margarine and pastry.
  • Processed foods and refined oils. Foods like canola oil and corn oil are too high in omega 6 fatty acids which, when digested, turn into arachidonic acid, causing inflammation. Processed foods such as corn syrup, lollies, pasta, breads and cakes are high in carbs that raise the blood sugar quickly. Then there is an inflammatory response when insulin is released by the pancreas in response to the high blood glucose levels.
  • Spicy or sugary foods. Foods that irritate the mouth by being too spicy or citrus fruitsshould be avoided in a Sjögren’s syndrome diet. The mouth is already dry and tender and these things increase the irritation of the mouth even more. Sugary foods (as well as artificial sweeteners) should be avoided because the reduced saliva means you have a greater risk of tooth decay.
  • Avoid coffee and alcohol. Both alcohol and coffee should be avoided because they make an already dry mouth even drier. Stick to water and other beverages. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics which means you will be losing more fluid, when you urinate, than you are putting in.
  • Preservatives. Foods that are highly preserved can cause inflammation in the body.
  • Wheat. Wheat products contain gluten, which, in many people with autoimmune diseases, is not very well tolerated. Wheat itself can be pro-inflammatory.
  • Foods that are allergenic. This includes foods that cause allergies in many people, such as dairy products, peanuts and eggs. People with autoimmune diseases will experience more inflammation when they eat these highly allergenic foods.
  • Other foods to avoid. Stay away from tough meats as they can cause irritation of the mouth and pain with eating. Also stay away from popcorn, carbonated drinks and crispy breads because they do not go well with having a dry mouth.
  • Be aware of salicylate intolerance with Sjögren’s.  see my article here;

Copyright: photojog / 123RF Stock Photo