For those fighting autoimmune diseases, seemingly healthy foods could be hindering recovery

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When it comes to battling autoimmune diseases, food an either help or hinder disease recovery, and some the bad stuff might be in your kitchen right now.

FOX 4's Shannon O'Brien has Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, which affects the thyroid, and now she's giving her pantry and refrigerator a makeover in her fight against her autoimmune disease.

Lisa Markley, a registered dietitian, doesn't just talk the talk. She walks the walk. And she shocked O'Brien a few times when she grabbed seemingly healthy foods that are actually bad for those with autoimmune diseases.

Take the veggie straws sitting in O'Brien's pantry for example. She bought them in the health food section of the grocery store.

"These are pretty processed still, and they are not always cooked in the best oil," Markley said.

Instead, substitute with whole-grain products made up of five or less ingredients with at least 3 grams of fiber. Markley suggests celery sticks or whole grain and seed crackers with hummus.

Hidden dangers likely sit in your refrigerator, too -- namely condiments, like O'Brien's favorite salad dressing.

"This one proudly proclaims no high fructose corn syrup, which is definitely an ingredient we want to watch out for," Markley said. "But corn sugar is on the ingredient label, and the second ingredient in there is granulated sugar."

Neither of those sugars are good for you.

Homemade salad dressings are the best way to go, but Markley said there are some OK store-bought brands with less than 8 grams of sugar per serving.

And your freezer likely contains another bad guy: sodium.

In O'Brien's freezer, that sodium lives in a frozen pizza. Just one-sixth of that pizza -- basically one slice -- has 840 milligrams of sodium. But who just eats one slice of pizza?

Markley said those who suffer from autoimmune diseases don't have to change everything all at once to see results.

"Pick a few things that you think are the obvious choices to cut out, and then over time just start making some of these healthier swaps, and you will see that you will be feeling better in no time," Markley said.

Find more shopping tips and suggested grocery lists from Markley here.

Want to keep up with O'Brien's fight against Hashimoto's Thyroiditi and get support from other metro residents who have autoimmune diseases? Join FOX 4's Fighting Autoimmune Disease group on Facebook.