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What role does diet play in psoriasis?
A big one…
A survey conducted last year found that more than half of psoriasis sufferers noticed a decrease in their symptoms when they made dietary changes like cutting back on alcohol, gluten or nightshades.
Because diet has a direct effect on the immune system. And psoriasis is most likely caused by a hyperactive immune system. Research even shows that junk food can cause your immune system to become overactive.
So, it makes perfect sense, then, that eating the right foods (and avoiding the wrong ones) can help tame an out-of-control immune system and heal those inflamed skin patches that make psoriasis so uncomfortable and self-esteem crushing.
But what are the right foods?
There’s so much conflicting dietary advice out there, it’s hard to know what to eat… especially when you’re trying to improve a specific disease. Luckily, a new study from French researchers has an answer for you.
This study found that the closer psoriasis sufferers followed one particular diet, the fewer psoriasis symptoms they had…
The best diet for psoriasis-free skin
Researchers from Henri Mondor University Hospital in Creteil, France recently found that psoriasis sufferers can reduce their symptoms by following the Mediterranean diet.
The study included over 3,500 French people with psoriasis who participated in a survey. The survey asked them questions about their psoriasis symptoms and their diet.
After looking at the answers, researchers divided participants into three groups — a group whose diets were furthest away from the Mediterranean diet, a group whose eating habits were moving closer to the diet and a group who were closest to the Mediterranean diet.
Now, get this…
People who ate more Mediterranean had less severe psoriasis, and here is how that breaks down: People who most closely followed Mediterranean eating habits were 29 percent less likely to have severe psoriasis symptoms. And people who fell in the middle were 22 percent less likely to have severe psoriasis.
Now, if you believe in the power of diet to improve (or even cure) diseases, then these results are exciting and helpful… but they’re not groundbreaking.
To conventional doctors, dermatologists and other people who still doubt the healing power of diet, however, it’s a bit more surprising. So surprising, it may even change how conventional medicine treats the disease.
“If this finding is confirmed by further studies, it would lead to a significant change in the way dermatologists manage psoriasis, as it would mean that even a patient who is not overweight could improve their psoriasis through dietary modifications,” said Dr. Scott Flugman, a dermatologist from Northwell Health’s Huntington Hospital in New York who commented on the study.
How to eat your way to clear skin
If you have psoriasis, try the Mediterranean diet for a few months. It’s filled with nutrients like A, D, E, folate and omega-3 fatty acids that fight inflammation everywhere in your body… including your skin. So, it’s easy to see how it could make a big difference.
The Mediterranean diet is also simple to follow. Embrace fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, olive oil, and nuts, while you cut back on red meat, dairy and alcohol. And voila! You might as well be eating olives on a terrace in Sardinia.
You may also want to keep a food diary for a few months to see if certain foods trigger psoriasis flare-ups. Eating a Mediterranean diet is great. But in some cases, psoriasis is tied to food sensitives or allergies. And some of these foods might still be included in the Mediterranean diet, like gluten.
Don’t forget to check your vitamin D levels too. Research shows vitamin D deficiency is common in people with psoriasis. And a study conducted earlier this year found that taking D3 supplements can improve symptoms in most psoriasis sufferers.
So, keep your diet healthy and your vitamin D levels high, and hopefully those inflammation-fighting nutrients will whip your psoriasis-prone skin into shape.
- Could psoriasis patients eat their way to fewer symptoms? — MedicalXpress.
- Dietary Behaviors in Psoriasis: Patient-Reported Outcomes from a U.S. National Survey — Dermatologic Therapy.