Artwork for podcast She Runs Eats Performs
FOOD FOR.....Autoimmunity
Episode 8510th February 2022 • She Runs Eats Performs • Runners Health Hub
00:00:00 00:50:24

Share Episode


FOOD FOR....Autoimmunity

Simply put……an autoimmune condition is when the body’s immune system becomes dysfunctional (for whatever reason…there are many!) and begins to mistakenly attack normal body cells. There are over 80 Autoimmune conditions including; Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, Lupus and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. It is thought that women are more at risk of developing an Autoimmune Condition than men. BUT, what about runners.

In this episode we explore the nutritional properties of FOUR foods that may help diminish the risks of developing an autoimmune condition OR, for those who may already be living and running with an Autoimmune condition, reduce the risk of a flare-up of symptoms.

The four foods we will discuss are: 

  1. Halibut
  2. Banana
  3. Olive Oil
  4. Cauliflower

We also give you some recipe ideas for each and outline a one-day meal plan for you to consider.

Show Notes:


Nutritional properties of Halibut and how it could support Autoimmunity


Recipe ideas for Halibut


Nutritional properties of Bananas and how they could support Autoimmunity 


Recipe ideas for Bananas 


Nutritional properties of Olive Oil and how it could support Autoimmunity 


Recipe ideas for Olive Oil


Nutritional properties of Cauliflower and how it could support Autoimmunity 


Recipe ideas for Cauliflower


An overview of the nutritional properties of the FOUR foods (halibut, bananas, olive oil and cauliflower) to support Autoimmunity 


A one-day meal plan including the FOUR foods (halibut, bananas, olive oil and cauliflower)


The KEY NUTRIENTS known to support Autoimmunity

  1. The key nutrient in Halibut to support Autoimmunity is Selenium. It is known to be depleted in individuals with an Autoimmune condition . Prolonged and intense training leads to an increased demand for Selenium, thus it could be that exercise reduces the overall availability of Se possibly leading to an increased risk of an AI condition developing…or a flare-up occurring.
  2. The key nutrients in Bananas to support Autoimmunity are the Polyphenols (principally the flavonoids e.g. quercetin). These compounds are known to be excellent free radical scavengers as well as having antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. As inflammation is the common thread that runs through ALL autoimmune conditions, it could be that the polyphenols in bananas may help diminish the risk of developing an AI condition or having a flare-up. This would be important for runners undertaking intense or prolonged training because they could be at risk of increased free-radical production. 
  3. The key nutrients in Olive Oil to support Autoimmunity are the Polyphenols once again. The principal ones here being Hydroxytyrosol and Oleuropein. They are thought to be antimicrobial, as well as potent free radical scavengers. They are also capable of activating the body’s antioxidant system. Once again this would be important for runners undertaking intense or prolonged training because they could be at risk of increased free-radical and oxidant production. 
  4. The key nutrients in Cauliflower to support Autoimmunity are the Brassica Metabolites and Glucosinolates. They are thought to support Tryptophan metabolites cross the BBB thus aiding the activation of anti-inflammatory and anti-neurotoxicity cells. Remember, intense and prolonged exercise is a risk factor for compromised immunity, therefore runners with a packed training programme could be at increased risk of this autoimmune associated inflammation and neurotoxicity.

Related Topics:

Endurance running and Immune System

Running With Hay Fever

Thyroid Health and Running Performance


The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and

advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment.

If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact

your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.

Aileen Smith and Karen Campbell met at as nutrition students (Institute for Optimum Nutrition, London) and became lifelong friends and nutritional buddies! Both have a love of running and a passion for nutrition, delicious food and healthy living.

Together they host RUNNERS HEALTH HUB. A place for like-minded runners who are looking for simple ways to support running performance, energy, endurance, and general great health.

We are excited to be able to share our expertise, experience and short cuts with you. We hope you'll join us again. If you'd like to know more about us and She Runs Eats Performs please check out our TRAILER.

If you're ready to make learn more about how you may introduce easy nutrition into your running and training plan join our Easy Nutrition For Healthy Runners Online Programme for short videos, recipes, downloads and LIVE training and Q&A.

As a THANK YOU to you as one of our valued listeners, we have a special offer for you use COUPON CODE POD to get 33% discount off the full price which brings the price to £199.

If you’d like help from Karen and Aileen to design a personalised sports nutrition plan for your running - please contact them at

Happy Running!

Aileen and Karen 


This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

Chartable -