Can you eat meat when you have Lyme disease?

In this article we are going to answer can you eat meat when you have Lyme disease, what is meat, what is Lyme disease, is it healthy to eat meat, and what diet you should follow when you have Lyme disease.

Can you eat meat when you have Lyme disease?

Yes, you can eat meat but it depends on how much you eat. When people get bit by a tick, they might get alpha-gal syndrome which is a type of food allergy to red meat and other products from mammals. 

You might tolerate another type of meat such as chicken or turkey but you might need to avoid red meat such as beef, lamb, and organs. Also, you will have to avoid gelatin and dairy because they might cause a reaction too. 

What is meat?

Meat is defined as animal flesh that is eaten as food by humans. Meat is mainly composed of water, protein, and fat. It is edible raw but the recommendation is to eat it cooked. Meat refers to the skeletal muscle and flesh of pigs, cattle, sheep, cows, lambs, kangaroos, and goats. 

The meat ofIs called
SheepLamb or mutton
Domesticated birdsPoultry
Deer Venison

It can be seasoned or processed in a variety of ways. Unprocessed and raw meats can spoil within hours or days resulting in food poisoning if eaten. 

Meat is a very important part of the food industry and economy. According to an analysis of FAO, overall meat consumption has decreased since 1990 because of more popular beliefs like vegan, vegetarian, environmental population, and health concerns that are associated with meat production and consumption.

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria known as Borrelia Burgdorferi. This bacteria is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected ticks. Symptoms may include

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rashes such as erythema migrans

If left untreated, the infection can pass to joints, heat, and nervous systems. If Lyme disease is diagnosed early you can be treated with antibiotics which might help prevent late Lyme disease. 

Some patients with Lyme disease report persistent symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and difficulty thinking even after treatment. In some cases, your immune system might be hyperactivated and develop the alpha-gal syndrome. 

Alpha-gal syndrome is most commonly caused by a Lone Star tick bite. The tick transmits a sugar molecule known as alpha-gal and triggers an immune response to red meat and other mammal products. 

The allergic reaction to meat occurs between 3 to 6 hours after exposure. Symptoms include

  • Hives and itching
  • Swelling
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Runny nose
  • Stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Sneezing
  • Headaches
  • Anaphylaxis

Is it healthy to eat meat when you have Lyme disease?

Meat is healthy food to eat when you have Lyme disease but you need to be sure that your body tolerates meat, especially red meat such as beef, pork or lamb, and organ meats. 

Meat is one of the best sources of protein and iron. Meat is of the few proteins that contain all essential amino acids and no-heme iron, which is better absorbed by the human body. 

The nutritional content of meat depends on the animal it comes from. Here is a list with the different nutrition content depending on the source of the meat

SourcePer 110 gramsCaloriesProteinCarbohydratesFat
Fish140 calories25 grams0 grams5 grams
Chicken breast160 calories28 grams0 grams7 grams
Lamb250 calories30 grams0 grams14 grams
Beef steak (beef top round)210 calories36 grams0 grams7 grams
Beef steak (T-bone)450 calories25 grams0 grams35 grams
Pork Loin242 calories14 grams0 grams30 grams

All meat, it doesn’t matter the source, are high in protein with all the essential amino acids and are a good source of zinc, vitamin b12, selenium, phosphorus, niacin, vitamin b6, choline, riboflavin, and iron. 

What diet should you follow when you have Lyme disease?

If you have Lyme disease, try to eat an anti-inflammatory diet to help you prevent side effects such as fatigue and pain. You can eat a Mediterranean diet which is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds and might be beneficial to your immune system. If you are not sure if you have an allergic reaction to meat, eat as little as you can. 

Follow this link for more information about the Mediterranean diet. 


This article answered can you eat meat when you have Lyme disease, what is meat, what is Lyme disease, is it healthy to eat meat, and what diet you should follow when you have Lyme disease.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.