Does Diet Affect Psoriasis

by Mel on August 31, 2010

This is a question I often get asked and unfortunately there is no straightforward answer.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease causing an overproduction of skin cells.  This results in thickened patches of skin, which are red and scaly and often itchy and painful.  The patches most commonly appear on the knees, elbows, scalp, hands, feet, back, fingernails and toenails.  The condition may also lead to arthritis.

Treatment options range from topical emollients and vitamin D therapy through to powerful systemic medications.  The treatment of psoriasis is very individualised meaning that what works well for one person may have a negative or no effect on another person. Similarly the effect of various foods will have varying effects on each individual’s psoriasis.

Diet does help

Whilst many psoriasis sufferers have long claimed that certain foods affect their psoriasis it is only recently that doctors and specialists have come to consider the diet when treating psoriasis.

Psoriasis is a condition affecting the immune system.  A diet that focuses on a healthy immune system is therefore desirable, as it will help to reduce inflammation.  While there are no set rules that will guarantee to improve your psoriasis there are some guidelines now available that will help.

Psoriasis may be helped by a diet high in antioxidants, which are nutrients that play a vital role in cellular health.  Natural antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables are better than supplements.

A gluten free diet has also been found to help some people with psoriasis.  This involves excluding all foods containing wheat, barley, rye and oats.

A diet high in probiotics may also improve the immune system and in turn reduce psoriasis symptoms.  Probiotics are foods high in good bacteria.  We all have bacteria in our intestines and for most the good out number the bad.  Ensuring you have more good bacteria than bad bacteria will improve the immune system and decrease the symptoms of psoriasis.  Yogurts and some milks with added live cultures will do this.

A healthy diet can also help to maintain a balance of bacteria in the intestines.  A diet high in fruit and vegetables, whole grains and beans and low in simple sugars will help to maintain this balance and a healthy immune system.

Omega 3 has amazing effects on psoriasis

Modifying your fat intake is one of the best dietary ways to control your psoriasis.  Increasing the essential fatty acid Omega 3 in your diet may help.  Omega 3 is responsible for the inflammatory process in the body and today’s modern diet has many of us consuming very small amounts  (if any at all ) of Omega 3.

Increasing the amount of fish oils, flaxseed oil and nuts in our diets will help but in reality a dietary supplement will probably be needed for the omega 3 to have a positive effect on psoriasis.

There are many supplements available in health stores that are high in omega 3.  The Grahams Mega Oil is a dietary oil supplement designed specifically for this purpose.  Not only is it high in omega 3 but it has a calculated ration of omegas 3, 6 and 9 that will enhance the immune system and decrease inflammation even more than omega 3 on its own.

Adopt a healthy diet and control your psoriasis

In summary adopting a healthy diet high in fruit and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and omega 3 supplements is what we should all be doing.  It will not only help to reduce the symptoms of psoriasis but may also help to reduce the risk of other medical problems like heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, kidney problems, Attention Deficit Disorder and many others.

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