Curing Psoriasis with a Simple Healthy Diet
Guest Post by Brian K.
It seems hard to believe it has only been four years since I first found out I had psoriasis. I honestly didn’t know what to think when the doctor told me, mostly due to the fact I had never heard of psoriasis before. We, as humans, have a way of drowning out things that don’t personally affect us, and I think that is why I had never bothered finding out what psoriasis was.
After finding out I had psoriasis, I did as much research on the disease as I could. I read all the books, surfed the forums on the Internet, and talked to people who had the condition. I became a self-made expert on psoriasis.
Many of the books I read call for an extremely strict diet for people with psoriasis. Stuff like no meat, no dairy, no gluten, no tomatoes, no potatoes and more. I truly believe that this is just setting people up to fail. It should come as no surprise that Americans cannot stick with many of the changes they try to make in their lives. I read a statistic that over 80% of people in our country have already given up on their New Years resolutions before February has even started.
For this reason, I recommend a simple, well-balanced diet where people with psoriasis add in some of the best foods for their condition, and eliminate the worst ones from their diet as well. All of these foods items are affordable and available all over the United States.
Eat More Vegetables
Vegetables are the most important food item that you are going to get at the grocery store. Be sure to stock up on the green, leafy vegetables -cabbage, spinach, romaine – as they are loaded with vitamins and minerals.
I have made it a habit to eat a big salad before dinner, which forces me to eat more vegetables while still having the main course to look forward to. If you aren’t a big fan of the taste of vegetables, give this method a try. Other vegetables that I love are carrots, mushrooms, asparagus, and broccoli. It doesn’t much matter which vegetables you consume, as they are all great for not only psoriasis, but your overall health.
Add Fruits for Healthy Snacks
I consider fruit to be as vital to a person with psoriasis as vegetables are. I love fruit because of how tasty and convenient it is. Bananas, oranges, and apples are all healthy snacks to take to work or on the road.
Mangoes and apricots are two of the most important fruits for a psoriasis sufferer because of the beta carotene in them. Beta carotene is converted by our bodies to Vitamin A, which is essential to skin health.
Blueberries, raspberries, and other berries are full of antioxidants and other important vitamins and minerals. Fruit is awesome because it tastes great without adding anything to it, unlike some vegetables.
Eat Beans and Heart-Healthy Nuts
Beans and heart-healthy nuts are two items psoriasis sufferers need to be eating if they aren’t already. I love making beans and rice for dinner a few times a week – it is simple, delicious, and healthy. My favorite types of beans are pinto, kidney, and garbanzo. Beans are a great source of protein if you are trying to cut back on animal products.
Almonds, cashews, and walnuts are delicious little snacks to fill you up in between your meals. It’s fun making your own trail mix with some of your favorite nuts and raisins.
Limit Nightshade Foods
There are plenty of foods (and drinks) a psoriasis sufferer needs to be cutting out of their diet, or limiting drastically at the very least. I forget which book I read it in, but the author recommended that someone with psoriasis stay away from the “nightshade” food group. The nightshades are made up of peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant.
I personally find cayenne pepper and tomato-based products make my skin very warm and I feel like my psoriasis acts up a bit also. I definitely think the nightshades need to be limited.
Eliminate Citrus Fruits
Citrus foods have a bad reputation for affecting people with psoriasis negatively, so try to stay away from lemons, limes, and grapefruits as much as you can.
Eliminate Processed Food and Soda
Processed foods are horrible for a person, so we need to cut those out as much as possible too.
Soda is also something someone with psoriasis should not be drinking. While soda might taste good, it has absolutely no nutritional value. It is loaded with sugar, which impairs the immune system. A person with psoriasis needs the immune system to be functioning at its highest level so that it will fight infections and keep the skin flare-ups to a minimum.
Try to limit the soda as much as you can. Substitute green tea for your daily soda if you need to have something to fill the gap.
Reduce Alcohol Intake
If you have had psoriasis for longer than a few months, you have probably heard how bad alcohol is for psoriasis. I have experienced how bad it can be personally. I was in college when I first found out I had psoriasis, so as you can imagine I was going out a couple times of week with my friends and having too many alcoholic beverages.
I already knew that drinking was bad for me, but when I saw what it did to my psoriasis, I knew I needed to dramatically cut back on the sauce. The alcohol had caused my red skin lesions to spread even more, made my scalp more scaly and itchy, and just generally made my psoriasis worse all over.
Once I cut back to only a couple drinks a week, my psoriasis improved quite a bit. I now only drink on very rare occasions. If you have to have a alcoholic drink when you are out to dinner with friends, just limit it to one or two glasses of wine or beers.
Those are just some of the best and worst items out there for psoriasis. When I am not eating those healthy items I listed, I eat many normal foods – eggs, chicken breast, salmon and tuna, turkey, steak (occasionally) and more. I just make sure to limit the less healthy foods as much as I can.
I think making some of the substitutions I suggested for the less healthy items in your diet is a simple, cheap, delicious way to improving your psoriasis condition. You don’t have to change your whole diet overnight – just make some small changes and always strive to eat better, and you will see your skin looking more clear in no time.
(Brian K. has been struggling to keep his psoriasis under control since 2007. He decided to start his blog, www.battlingpsoriasis.com, in the middle of 2011 as an outlet to write about various issues relating to psoriasis. He hopes to help people by providing answers to questions about this disease.)