Renee Gleeson is an accredited practising dietician and joined us for a virtual education session to discuss helping to manage your health through diet.

Scleroderma symptoms vary from person to person, so having a range of tips and tricks to help you manage the symptoms you’re experiencing is key.

Small, regular meals

Renee suggests trying to eat four to six small meals throughout the day. This may help with a range of symptoms, including fatigue and reflux. Those with reflux can also try sitting upright for one to two hours after meals.

Staying hydrated

Whether you’re prone to digestive issues like reflux, diarrhoea or constipation or struggle with dry mouth, sipping water throughout the day is a great way to manage your water intake. Stick with water over fizzy drinks, alcohol, sugary drinks and caffeine.

Keep inflammation at bay

As Scleroderma is an inflammatory autoimmune disease, Renee says it’s a good idea to “eat the rainbow”. She suggests consuming food with omega-3s and vitamin E plus eating whole foods rather than relying on supplements.

Focus on whole foods for health

Renee recommends smoothies and protein-filled foods like eggs, meat and fish for those struggling to eat. A speech pathologist can provide support and strategies to prevent choking if you have difficulty swallowing.

Different types of fibre can also assist in managing digestive issues. Renee recommends insoluble fibre in fruits and vegetables and wheat products to help manage constipation. Soluble fibre found in oats and legumes can help with diarrhoea. No matter the type of fibre you’re getting, make sure you increase your fibre intake slowly. Too much fibre too quickly can have side effects such as flatulence and a sore stomach.

In hospital

If you’re admitted to the hospital you’ll have specialists to help manage your symptoms. Occupational therapists can provide meal preparation strategies and speech pathologists can monitor any swallowing difficulties you have. Dieticians, doctors and pharmacists can help you set up an appropriate supplement regime.

Don’t be afraid of pre-cut

Thick skin on hands and fingers, as well as fatigue, can make meal preparation a challenge. Try to buy pre-cut vegetables, as they can save you a lot of time and effort in the kitchen, and help you get adequate nutrition.

If pre-cut fruit and vegetables are not an option for you, consider frozen meals or a meal delivery service.

It was great to hear Renee’s insight into managing diet and living with Scleroderma.

If you enjoyed this recap, please join us for our next virtual event on fatigue. Book your spot here.