Psoriasis Diet Plan
Psoriasis can be a debilitating condition, having a Psoriasis Diet Plan to help manage your own symptoms could be beneficial. In the below article we will explore the different approaches and treatment options between the medical and naturopathic models.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease where the skin can break out with red, scaly patches which become itchy. It is a non contagious, typically involves the scalp, back of the wrists, elbows, knees, buttocks and ankles. Psoriasis can also affect your joints with psoriatic arthritis.
What is the main cause of Psoriasis?
Psoriasis occurs when skin cells are replaced more quickly than usual. It’s not known exactly why this happens, but research suggests it’s caused by a problem with the immune system (NHS 2020). There are many theories regarding triggers of the disease process including infection, trauma and stressful life event. Once triggered there is substantial immune cell recruitment to the skin resulting in the characteristic psoriatic plaques. A naturopathic definition of Psoriasis is a skin condition which has many causes and is often linked to other health conditions. It is not a disease of the skin although showing up on the skin.
Common Psoriasis Triggers
Lifestyle factors of drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, smoking and high levels of stress. Hormonal changes during puberty and the menopause. Medicines such as lithium, some anti malarial medicines, anti-inflammatory medicines including ibuprofen, and ACE inhibitors (used to treat high blood pressure). Other immune disorders, such as HIV, which cause psoriasis to flare up or appear for the first time (NHS 2020). In addition, obesity, lack of sleep and a sedentary lifestyle can contribute towards Psoriasis.
What are the Treatment Options for Psoriasis?
Is there a pill for psoriasis?
Conventional treatment include topical corticosteroids for wide spread plaques and lesions. Vitamin D analogues are used to slow keratinocyte growth. Moreover methotrexate medication is believed to normalise DNA activity in skin cells. Tazarotene is a retinoid normalises DNA activity in skin cells. Cochrane (2019) suggested topical steroids give some short term therapy (Cochrane 2019). A Nutritionist would suggest treating the skin with steroids or similar creams may alleviate symptoms but can’t be considered a cure. The skin is not healed only the symptoms are suppressed, meaning they are pushed deeper into the body causing other health conditions, such as allergies and candida.
Does diet affect psoriasis?
Afifi et al (2017) surveyed more than 1,200 people with psoriasis and suggested respondents noticed a positive improvement after reducing their sugar, alcohol, gluten, and nightshades intake. In addition eating more vegetables and taking omega 3 fish oil and vitamin D supplements was beneficial. The participants reported that motivation for attempting dietary changes improved overall health as well.
Psoriasis Diet Plan – What should you not eat if you have psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition, of which junk foods tend to be high in saturated fats, trans-fats, refined starches and sugars. Avoid refined foods like white flour, pasta and fizzy drinks. These are all inflammatory therefore eliminating all junk food from your diet will be beneficial.
Is Dairy bad for Psoriasis?
Milk, cheese, eggs and red meat contain natural inflammatory arachidonic acid. This may cause psoriasis lesions to turn red and swell. Try reducing these for 8 week trial and note if there are any changes.
Stop drinking alcohol initially for 8 weeks
Alcohol is a diuretic and dehydrates you and your skin. It hinders the production of hormone vasopressin which helps you absorb water. When you have dehydrated skin you look tired with fine lines, wrinkles and pores. Alcohol contains large amounts of sugar which causes an overproduction of oil in your skin and further inflammation. It also decreases production of Vitamin A which is all important for cell renewal and turnover and for your skin to fight off free radicals and affect the moisture centre of your skin. When you drink alcohol your blood vessels become dilated (rosy cheeks) which increases inflammatory processes in the outer layers of your skin.
Gluten proteins are found in some grass-related grains, including rye, wheat, and barley. Several studies have documented celiac disease and psoriasis coexistence and the improvement of psoriatic lesions after starting a gluten free diet (Afifi et al 2017). For those people, avoiding gluten may help improve their psoriasis symptoms.
There is links between stressful events and the onset of psoriasis. Likewise stress can increase the impact the psoriasis symptoms have on daily life and well-being (O’Leary 2004). Psoriasis can cause physical pain as well as adverse emotional effects which are frequently undermined by others and can lead to a vicious cycle of despair for many with psoriasis (Sathyanarayana et al 2013). It would be worthwhile to introduce self coping strategies as part of a wider lifestyle change to support psoriasis.
Psoriasis Diet Plan – How can I boost my immune system to fight psoriasis?
Regular exercise is a great way to stay healthy for you and your immune system. Exercise is especially important for people with psoriasis as they are at a higher risk of having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart problems when compared to those without psoriasis. If you find sweating aggravates your psoriasis try alternatives like Pilates as it is low impact but still a great workout. Pilates is primarily a combination of muscular strengthening and stretching and in comparison to a HITT class is not stressful of your joints and body. Pilates will give you a strong foundation and can help reduce stress through flowing, mindful movements. You can practice online Pilates at home or reformer Pilates privately at Wellthy Clinic.
Eat raw vegetables and fruits
Eating fruits and vegetables will provide a wealth of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Increase your consumption as it found to reduce inflammatory markers (Afifi et al 2017). When buying fruits and vegetables, try to purchase fresh, local organic produce to maximise benefits.
Anti inflammatory foods
In addition to reducing inflammatory foods increase consume more anti inflammatory foods as part of your diet. Turmeric is strong anti inflammatory and antioxidant, you can have a turmeric latte using almond milk or use in soups and stews. Moreover Ginger also has antioxidant effects it stimulates digestion, aids absorption of nutrients, eases stomach cramping and helps to reduce inflammation in joints. Sardines are full of omega 3 fatty acids that help to reduce inflammation. In addition, Broccoli helps to reduce oxidative stress on the body.
Sun and Vitamin D
Regular, safe exposure to sunlight is beneficial to increase Vitamin D levels. Significant associations between low vitamin D levels and psoriasis have been systematically observed (Barrea et al 2017). This is because it helps with the proliferation and maturation of skin cells (keratinocytes). For people with psoriasis check the ingredients of your sunscreens as some commercial sunscreens contain aggravating ingredients. A useful resource is the Environmental Working Group for safer sunscreens.
Need help with a Psoriasis Diet Plan?
In conclusion, Psoriasis can affect all aspects of your life. Having a Psoriasis Diet Plan as part of a wider lifestyle plan could help improve your psoriasis. A naturopathic nutritionist will help you identify root causes and create an effective program by taking into account your individual constitution. This may include supporting you through an elimination diet initially. To identify any specific foods that you may be allergic or intolerant. Also provide nutritional advice to improve intestinal function, permeability and reduce inflammation. This will allow antigens to travel through your blood stream and initiate healing (or activated immune cascades) in your skin. However it will not be a quick fix, it will be a journey and it will take time for you to see results. If you are ready to take charge of your own health and try a naturopathic approach to treating your Psoriasis then get in touch.
Psoriasis Diet Plan Nutritionist Consultation
Afifi et al (2017) Dietary Behaviors in Psoriasis: Patient-Reported Outcomes from a U.S. National Survey Dermatology and Therapy (7) pp.227–242 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13555-017-0183-4
Barrea et al (2017) Vitamin D and its role in psoriasis: An overview of the dermatologist and nutritionist https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5486909/
Cochrane Library (2019) Lifestyle changes for treating psoriasis https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD011972.pub2/full?highlightAbstract=psoriasi%7Cpsoriasis
Cochrane Library (2019) Topical treatments for scalp psoriasis https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD009687.pub2/full?highlightAbstract=psoriasi%7Cpsoriasis