Diet and Psoriasis

The Role of Diet in Psoriasis

The National Psoriasis Foundation states that around 75 million people suffer from psoriasis in the United States alone. This skin condition can range from mild to severe. In the best case scenario, it may just cause some light, rough patches on the skin. However, when it's truly severe, symptoms can even show up in the fingernails, toenails, and bones. While there are currently no hard links between diet and psoriasis, researchers believe that diet can and does play a role in the disorder. Here are some dietary factors that can affect psoriasis:

Food Allergies

As food allergies gain more attention in the medical research world, it's become apparent that unaddressed food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities can trigger or exacerbate psoriasis. If problem foods are consumed regularly, it can result in an autoimmune response that make the body attack its own cells, in this case, those of the skin. While any food allergen can cause this, the two most commonly implicated are wheat gluten and the milk protein, casein. People often live for years with a food allergy, totally unaware that it's the cause of their symptoms. If you suspect food allergies, it's important to get tested and adjust your diet accordingly. Once the offending food or foods are eliminated, many people find that their psoriasis improves or clears up.

Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency

Eating a nutritionally-inferior diet can leave your body lacking in many important vitamins and minerals. This is most prevalent in people who eat mainly processed foods and those who are low on the socioeconomic ladder. This problem is also common in people who are chronically dieting. Most diets restrict a broad range of foods and don't encourage a varied and balanced selection. Furthermore, low-fat diets can cause a deficiency in fat-soluble nutrients, which the body can't absorb without fat consumption. Nutritional deficiency can result in poor skin repair and maintenance, and can also negatively affect hormone production, immunity and cellular function. Even if you do eat a relatively healthy diet, it's recommended to try taking multivitamin supplements to see if things get better.

High Sugar Intake

According to current statistical data, the average American consumes more than 150 pounds of sugar per year. Besides being a potential cause of diabetes, a diet high in sugar may also cause or worsen psoriasis. Sugar can lead to dysfunction of the metabolic system, promote fungal overgrowth and make psoriasis flare-ups more common. Furthermore, consuming refined sugars has been shown to cause immune suppression, which can allow psoriasis to run rampant.

Immune Problems

Psoriasis is believed by many researchers to be the result of an immune disorder. Problems with immunity can be genetic, which may be why people who have relatives with the condition are more likely to develop it themselves. However, psoriasis can also be from non-genetic factors. Anything that causes an immune deficiency can trigger psoriasis, such as food allergies or high sugar consumption. Psoriasis can also be a sign of more worrying causes of immune issues, so if you can't think of anything else that could be causing it, it's recommended to see a doctor or immunologist.

Inflammatory Foods

Inflammation has been linked to a wide variety of diseases and conditions, including psoriasis. The main source of inflammation for most people is their diet. There are several foods that promote systemic inflammation, especially that of the skin. These foods may include refined sugars, fried foods, vegetable oils, grains, processed foods, red meat, and caffeine. It's important to try eating more anti-inflammatory foods like seafood, fresh fruit and vegetables, spicy foods, green tea, nuts, herbs, and olive oil. Supplements such as fish oil and cod liver oil can also be helpful for combating inflammation.