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Can Diet Help Psoriasis?

“Can diet help psoriasis?” is a hard question to answer. If you talk to a dermatologist, they’ll yell “hell no” and slap your face with another steroid prescription, but ask a nutritionist and they’ll give a resounding “yes – dietary improvements can affect skin”. Who do you believe?

Psoriasis Home Remedy #1: Fish Oil
Eating a couple of servings weekly of salmon, albacore tuna, and other fatty fishes that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation, the hallmark of psoriasis. In addition, studies have suggested that patients with psoriasis have an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Consuming fatty fishes or taking fish oil supplements can both decrease heart disease risk and improve psoriasis symptoms. Fish oil supplements are available over the counter in capsule form at many food markets and drugstores. Some studies have also found that fish oil can boost the immune system. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, so this natural psoriasis treatment could help improve symptoms.
Psoriasis Home Remedy #2: Diet Modification
Multiple studies have suggested that people who have celiac disease may be at higher risk for psoriasis, in part because gluten can cause inflammation, and psoriasis is an inflammatory disease. That connection may explain why some psoriasis patients report that eating a gluten-free diet — which eliminates wheat, barley, and rye — helps them feel better. “Anecdotally, it works,” Weiss says, “but it has never been proven scientifically.” If a gluten-free diet makes your psoriasis feel better, however, that’s great. “There is certainly no danger in trying it,” Weiss adds.

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).

Psoriasis Home Remedy #3: Turmeric
Some people with psoriasis have found relief with turmeric as a natural psoriasis treatment. Turmeric is part of the ginger family; you’ll find it in foods such as curry powders, mustards, and cheeses. Other supplements that have been tried for psoriasis home remedies include evening primrose oil, milk thistle, and oregano oil, which are available in various forms, including capsules and teas. Though a few people report some success with turmeric and other supplements because of their anti-inflammatory properties, keep in mind that there are no scientific studies to back up these claims, Weiss cautions.
Psoriasis Home Remedy #4: Water
Here’s an easy natural psoriasis treatment you may not have thought of: Drink water. Drinking plain water helps keep you hydrated, and when you have psoriasis, being well hydrated will keep your skin from getting too dry. Your body is up to 60 percent water, and you need to constantly replenish it. Using a humidifier is another easy psoriasis home remedy that will help keep your skin moist, especially in winter.

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!

Psoriasis Home Remedy #5: Aloe Vera
Pure aloe gel is rich in anti-inflammatory and healing compounds, and provides a nice cooling sensation for itchy skin. If you have eczema or psoriasis, consider growing your own aloe plant so you can take the gel straight from its natural source. Pure aloe vera gel can also be found at most drug stores and health food stores.
Psoriasis Home Remedy #6: Flaxseeds
Flaxseeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, and they help block a chemical in your body called arachidonic acid which causes inflammation. Grind up a few tablespoons of flaxseed and add to smoothies, oatmeal, granola, or salads. You can also use flaxseed oil as a dressing for salads and veggies.
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