The problem is that diet and psoriasis is an area sorely lacking in research and scientific studies, so doctors and GPs are hesitant to discuss the connection between them. However, go online to the TalkPsoriasis forum or the National Psoriasis Foundation message-boards, and there are hundreds of messages from real people (like you and me) stating that dietary changes can have a profound effect on psoriasis.
I agree with the second camp, because I can see with my own eyes how my psoriasis fluctuates according to the food choices I make day-to-day. So, what is it about our modern diet that aggravates psoriasis, and what diet can calm it down?
Fast Food, Junk Food and Modern Diets
You might remember an earlier time when you had pimples and acne, and how people used to tell you to put the Pepsi down and leave the French fries alone, because they only made things worse. Well, the same advice applies to psoriasis. As an autoimmune disease, eating such foods can increase inflammation in the body and worsen psoriasis.
The typical Western diet includes platefuls of processed food and refined carbohydrates as well as fast foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids; but no green in sight! Over the years, the imbalance created by such improper dietary choices can create so much internal inflammation that the only outlet for your body to release the accumulated toxins, poisons and waste is the skin. The liver and kidneys can’t handle it alone, so eventually BOOM! Your body flips out and psoriasis comes out.
THIS Diet Helps Psoriasis
If the Western diet is wrong, what’s right? Is it vegetarianism, veganism, raw veganism or fruitarianism? Or is it one of the miracle cure diets for psoriasis spammed around on the Net? Nobody has the real answer to that either, but the best bet is to try a healthy and balanced diet or an anti-inflammatory diet. The top ones to emulate are the Mediterranean diets (such as the Greek one, rich in healthy virgin olive-oil, oily fish and fresh veg) and Asian diets (rich in fish – they love sushi! – and freshly prepared meals).
To try a diet that helps psoriasis, you have to start eating GIANT helpings of vegetables, especially green ones that are rich in inflammation fighting phytonutrients and phytochemicals. Apart from that, you need to start eating more omega-3 rich foods such as fish (mackerel and tuna) and walnuts, as this will help to balance out the omega-6 rich foods. The final step is to cut down on refined carbohydrates such as pasta and white rice, replace them with wholegrain brown rice and eat more low-fat protein such as chicken and turkey.
Such diets have been clinically proven to help with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, and chances are high that sooner or later the tidal wave of anecdotal evidence will cause the same breakthroughs for psoriasis.
When you embark on making such dietary changes, who have to keep motivated! Changes are likely to come slowly. When you take an anti-inflammatory drug you can feel relief in less than 2 hours, but a diet takes more than 2 months to come into effect. Furthermore, if you can afford it, pay for a food allergy test. It might be that you are eating ONE particular food that is causing havoc to your psoriasis with every mouthful. If you eliminate it, you might end up curing your psoriasis.
But – There’s Always A But
It is good to remember that for some individuals, dietary changes can have no effect whatsoever. Everybody has different habits, environments, genetic compositions and medical histories, and what helps one might not help another – especially when it comes to psoriasis. Some people might have the most balanced, healthiest diet in the world, but still suffer from psoriasis, and others might eat Burger King and KFC every day, but have blemish-free skin.
However, with that in mind, it is definitely a good thing to try. Your dermatologist might grate his teeth at me for saying this, but any treatment that only deals with the symptoms of a condition is ultimately a dead-end, and for a large proportion of psoriasis sufferers, diet can prove to work wonders by dealing with the root cause of their psoriasis. So, “can diet help psoriasis?” Well, maybe, and in some cases, certainly, but you need to try to find out!