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Psoriasis: The best type of food to alleviate condition – symptoms to spot


NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) say around 1.3 to 2.2 percent of people in the UK have psoriasis, the equivalent of around one and a half million people. Psoriasis is often a painful and uncomfortable condition whereby the skin develops dry flaky patches which can vary in severity and position. Furthermore, in common with gout or arthritis, psoriasis is chronic, meaning patients can live with it for a long time. Express.co.uk has been speaking to nutritionist Melissa Snover of Nourished to find out which foods can help alleviate symptoms of the condition when they arise.

However, before one tackles the best foods to manage symptoms, first one must know the symptoms.

Psoriasis is more than just flaky skin, there are different types of psoriasis including plaque psoriasis which normally forms on the elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back.

These are normally itchy or sore and, in severe cases, may crack and bleed; this is the most common form of psoriasis. Other common forms of the condition include:
• Scalp psoriasis
• Nail psoriasis
• Inverse psoriasis
• Pustular psoriasis.

With regard to which foods in question are best recommended for alleviating the condition, Ms Snover lists those which are easily available in most local supermarkets.

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Speaking to Express.co.uk she said: “Wholegrain foods, fruits and vegetables, beans, lentils, fish, lean protein, plant-based proteins such as tofu or tempeh, nuts and seeds are all foods which help combat inflammation and contribute to a healthy balanced diet.

“Some studies have seen that certain patients show an elevated sensitivity to gluten, and symptoms of their psoriasis improving with a gluten-free diet. This is why choosing gluten-free pasta and bread, and avoiding beers and fruit squashes with gluten in, can help alleviate psoriasis.”

Furthermore, Ms Snover added: “Eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly can also relieve stress, which may improve your psoriasis. Many patients with psoriasis also find that vitamins and dietary supplements can help to ease irritation and support the clearing of the skin.

“In particular, vitamin E, C, A, and iodine supplements can encourage healthy skin production and are powerful antioxidants which could defend the skin against irritation and inflammation.”

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While a change in diet may be effective at helping to treat the symptoms of psoriasis, it isn’t a silver bullet. Ms Snover explained on this matter: “No diet will be able to cure psoriasis, however there are many foods that can help lessen the severity of symptoms.

“It is worth noting these foods may differ for different people, for example, someone may find their psoriasis worsens when eating nuts, but for others, nuts are a healthy source of protein as part of their overall balanced diet.

“It is good practice for people who suffer with psoriasis to take note of the food that they have eaten when their skin condition flares up. This way they can slowly navigate the types of food that affect how their skin looks and feels. This may have a significant impact for some and be extremely beneficial.”

What are the main treatments for psoriasis?

Psoriasis is normally a condition which is managed rather than cured and often treatments will vary on type and severity of the psoriasis in question says the NHS.

Treatments typically fall into three categories, topical, phototherapy, and system. Topical treatments involve the application of creams and ointments to the skin while phototherapy involves exposing the skin to certain types of ultraviolet light.

Meanwhile, system treatments occur when medications are given orally or injected to work across the entire body. The NHS says these treatments will often overlap and be used in combination with one another.

Examples of topic treatments include:
• Emollients
• Steroid creams or ointments
• Vitamin D creams
• Calcineurin inhibitors
• Coal tar
• Dithranol.

Biological treatments are sometimes employed too. These reduce the inflammation by targeting the overactive cells in the immune system and used on severe psoriasis.

What causes psoriasis?

Just as there are a range of treatments, so too there are a range of causes of psoriasis. Sometimes these are physiological while on other occasions they are psychological.

For example, psoriasis can be caused by a prolonged period of stress or lifestyle habits such as smoking, and hormonal changes in women.

Can psoriasis be passed on?

No, psoriasis cannot be spread from person to person. However, the important thing is that it can be managed with appropriate treatment.

Support is available through the NHS and the Psoriasis Association who provide help and guidance for those living with psoriasis as well as tips on how to manage ups and downs that come with it.



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