Weight loss, obesity, gluten intake, celiac disease & psoriasis, preferred foods… just some of the questions we will answer in this week’s psoriasis focus.
Follow us this week when we present 7 important topics about effects of nutrition on psoriasis!
- Obesity and weight loss
Obesity is directly linked with psoriasis inflammation.
Studies have found that for every unit increase in body mass index (BMI), there is a 9 percent higher chance of developing the symptoms of psoriasis.
The appearance of psoriasis is closely related to the digestive system’s health. That is why diet changes are one of the first things you can do to treat or control the condition.
Patients who adjusted their diet regime, reduced body mass, and stopped drinking alcohol had better results – the improvements were longer, the active disease milder, and the treatment more effective.
Psoriasis Treatments quick tips for psoriasis patients on how to adjust weight regimes:
- Choose meat without much fat and poultry without skin.
- Prepare food without using saturated and trans-fats (vegetable oils, margarine, etc.).
- Eat fish at least twice a week.
- When selecting dairy products, choose those with reduced fat content.
- Gluten and celiac disease
People with psoriasis may be more likely to have celiac disease.
Person with celiac disease is not able to tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
If the person consumes foods that contain gluten, they are at risk of developing gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, anemia, and many other symptoms.
In a study that involved 218 people with psoriasis and 264 people without psoriasis, 4.1 percent of those with psoriasis had celiac disease, compared with only 1 percent among those without psoriasis. The findings were published in 2015.
For people with celiac disease, cutting out gluten-containing foods — including many baked goods and other products that contain flour —helps to ease symptoms of psoriasis as well as those of celiac disease.
People with confirmed coeliac disease must avoid gluten for life.
Foods to avoid include:
- wheat and wheat products
- brewer’s yeast
- breads and baked goods
- cornflakes and other cereals
- many processed foods
- some beers
- some cosmetics, such as lipstick and lip balm
Many stores now sell a range of gluten-free options, and gluten-free products are also available for purchase online. On the gluten free diet you can eat many foods including meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and potatoes.
- Anti-inflammatory foods
When a person has metabolic syndrome, including obesity, they are likely to experience inflammation. This may worsen the symptoms of psoriasis, according to a study published in 2014.
Findings published in the journal Clinical Nutrition have indicated that following a calorie-controlled diet that also contains omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids helps reduce inflammatory markers and may improve the symptoms of psoriasis.
Forty-six people with psoriasis and obesity who followed this diet for 3 and 6 months saw a “clinically significant improvement” in their psoriasis score.
Examples of foods that may have an anti-inflammatory effect include:
- oily and cold-water fish
- fruits and vegetables
- nuts and seeds
- Antioxidants and inflammation
Some researchers believe that certain nutrients in food have antioxidant properties. This means they reduce oxidative stress and prevent the body from producing “free radicals” or reactive oxygen species.
These free radicals may play a role in reducing inflammation.
Examples of antioxidants include vitamins A, E, and C, and the minerals iron, copper, manganese, zinc, and selenium.
These are present in various degrees across a variety of plant-based foods.
Good sources may be:
- fruits and vegetables
- nuts and seeds
- spices, such as cloves, peppermint, and cinnamon
- herbs, including oregano, thyme, and sage
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D comes from two sources:
- food, such as fortified dairy products
- exposure to sunlight, as the body creates vitamin D in response to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays
Research suggests that exposing the skin to small amounts of sun every day may benefit people with psoriasis.
However, only up to 50% of the world’s population may get enough sun.
Getting enough vitamin D from dietary sources may help, foods which are sources of vitamin D include:
- oily fish
- milk, yogurt, and certain cheese
- A healthy lifestyle
Many individuals who improve their diet also feel more motivated to exercise. Physical activity may help to reduce the severity of symptoms.
Results published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that a 20-week program of dietary intervention, as well as increased physical exercise, led to an improvement in psoriasis symptoms.
This benefit may be because exercise enables a person to lose weight, to minimize inflammation, or both.
Stress can also be a trigger for a psoriasis flare. Eating healthfully and exercising regularly may contribute to better overall health and lower levels of stress.
- Find the right diet for you!
Finding the right diet is an important step when controlling psoriasis symptoms. People with psoriasis should aim to maintain a balanced diet.
If a person knows that they are choosing healthier foods, and that these foods may alleviate the symptoms of psoriasis, this also provides a mental and emotional relief that could help reduce stress and, with it, the risk of a flare.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to improving psoriasis. Each person should find the right diet for their body by trying out different nutritional regimes until they find the one with the best fit. We will summarize some of the general advices from which to start when looking for the appropriate diet:
Avoid sugar: Excess sugar in the diet can worsen inflammation, so reducing or eliminating added sugars may be an important first step.
Drink plenty of water: Water provides hydration to every part of the body, including the skin. Consuming enough water throughout the day may help improve the texture, look, and feel of the skin.
Avoid trigger foods: Some people may find that keeping a food diary and cutting out one food at a time helps to identify a trigger that makes their symptoms worse. For people with celiac disease, gluten is a trigger food.
Eliminate trans fats: Hydrogenated oils, sources of trans fats, are common in today’s packaged and fried foods. It is best to cut out all types of trans fats, as these can lead to inflammation. Extra-virgin olive oil is a healthy alternative.
Include plenty of fish in the diet: Salmon, trout, herring, and other cold-water fish contain vitamin D and healthy omega-3 fats.
Choose anti-inflammatory foods: Vegetables, berries, nuts, seeds, and spices are all anti-inflammatory.
Avoid saturated fats: Studies have shown that avoiding red meats and full-fat dairy products may reduce scaling and produce milder outbreaks.
Other items to avoid may include alcohol, caffeine, and spicy food.