By Chesire Que
Patches of red, dry, itchy and scaly skin characterize psoriasis. It is an autoimmune disease that may be genetically predisposed and triggered by the environment. It is said that there is no cure for this condition. However, there are ways on how to manage and keep the symptoms at bay. This includes factors that reduce the body’s inflammatory state such as adapting an anti-inflammatory diet, keeping the immune system healthy, developing coping skills to manage stress, as well as, avoiding environmental triggers.
The immune system is our first line of defense against invaders that viciously attack and come in the form of bacteria, viruses, and other foreign bodies or proteins. In the case of psoriasis, the immune system wrongly attacks the healthy skin cells, causing an inflammatory response resulting to the abnormally quick reproduction of skin cells.
Diet plays an important role in quelling the inflammation which is the primary cause of psoriasis. Certain foods stimulate the production of toxins and chemicals in the body that are inflammatory in nature. Other foods help fight inflammation in the body. A person suffering from psoriasis must avoid the following pro-inflammatory foods:
Red meats and processed meats—High fat meats and processed meats like hotdogs and the like, contain saturated fats that stimulate the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the body. Trans fats commonly found in fast foods and highly processed foods in the form of packaged, canned, and microwavable foods are also included in this list. The better option would be to choose protein sources like chicken, beans and fish especially those high in omega three fatty acids like tuna, salmon, and sardines.
Refined sugars—This causes spikes in the blood glucose level, wreaks havoc with hormones, and gets converted and stored into fat inside the body. We commonly consume refined sugars in instant beverages, pastries, sweets, and even the seemingly healthy energy bars. The healthier option would be to get that dose of sweetness from whole foods like fruits which not only provide energy boosting glucose but also the benefits of fiber and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients or antioxidants.
Dairy products—Long revered as the optimum source of calcium for healthy bones and teeth, consumption of milk and milk products like cheese by individuals with autoimmune diseases like psoriasis have not been helpful in decreasing inflammation. In fact, its consumption can exacerbate the problem and even cause flare ups. To ensure the prevention of calcium deficiency, consume dark green vegetables like malunggay, spinach, and the like. These vegetables contain phytonutrients that are anti-inflammatory.
Gluten—This protein is found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats (there are gluten-free oats too). Ingestion of gluten is bad for people with Celiac Disease but it can also aggravate inflammation for those who have autoimmune
diseases like psoriasis. Avoiding foods that contain gluten like bread and pasta have helped manage symptoms of psoriasis. Gluten causes inflammation in the gut which then decreases the amount of beneficial bacteria that help regulate immunity. This is why probiotics (good bacteria) and probiotics (foods like honey that act as food for the bacteria) must be part of an anti-inflammatory diet. If you can’t let go of bread and pasta, gluten-free breads and pasta made from various ingredients like buckwheat, almond flour, rice, quinoa, and other gluten-free grains are available in the market.
It may be a bit challenging to begin an anti-inflammatory diet for psoriasis but once you get the hang of it, with the proper guidance of a registered nutritionist dietitian, you will find it easy to prepare and it will leave you feeling satisfied instead of deprived.