Psoriasis treatment: How food and lifestyle can impact the condition – tips from an expert

Olivia Bowen reveals her recent flare up of Psoriasis

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Skin develops by layers of skin cells pushing up to the surface as new ones are formed. Usually, these outer cells are shed so slowly it is not noticed but in psoriasis new cells are formed about one thousand times more quickly due to a disturbance in the body’s cell replication control mechanisms. This gives the appearance of red areas of skin covered in fine silvery scales known as lesions. Nails can also be affected becoming thick, pitted and cracked and may lift from the nail bed. There is a significant link between gut health and psoriasis. Nutritionist Lisa Borg from Pulse Light Clinic spoke exclusively to to offer her top tips on how nutrition can affect psoriasis.

“The mechanisms that control cell division can only be balanced when the digestive system is healthy,” Lisa began.

“If the digestive lining is unhealthy, toxins can get through and affect the health of the skin.

“Your Nutritionist can advise you on tests and/or supplements that help address gut health.”

For the do’s and don’ts when it comes to one’s diet and the skin condition, Lisa recommends:

Eating plenty of fibre

Reduce the amount of alcohol to help supporting liver function

Eat more essential fats including nuts, seeds and oily fish and help to prevent skin dryness and oily fish provide

Reduce the amount of animal fats and sugar consumed which encourages inflammation. Sugars and refined/processed foods can be inflammatory too, and so must also be avoided.

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When asked what nutrients may be beneficial to psoriasis, Lisa listed the following:

Water is essential for healthy skin and aids in the detoxification processes.

Vitamin E increases the supply of nutrients to the cells and neutralises free radicals that damage the skin. Food sources include wheat germ, olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, eggs, olive oil.

Vitamin A is required for the maintenance and repair of skin and protects the skin tissue from free radical damage. Food sources of Vitamin A include fish, eggs and liver with food sources of beta-carotene including alfalfa, dark green leafy veg, yellow and deep orange fruits and vegetables.

Zinc is vital for skin healing with food sources including oysters, meat, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, and green leafy veg.

Vitamin C is vital for making and maintaining the health of collagen (a vital component of the skin) although more than 500mg should be avoided with food sources including kiwi fruit, berries, peppers, broccoli, citrus fruits.

Vitamin D

Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that inhibits the growth of psoriatic cells and plays a major role in detoxification processes. Food sources include asparagus, avocado, garlic, onions, broccoli, spinach, and unprocessed meats such as fresh turkey and chicken.

Quercetin is a plant bioflavonoid which can soothe inflammation with food source including tomatoes, apples, garlic, onions, broccoli, and green tea.

For lifestyle factors which impact psoriasis symptoms, reducing the amount of stress in your life is vital.

“Stress can be a factor in psoriasis; managing and modifying the way you react to difficult or stressful situations can help,” says Lisa.

“Relaxation techniques, physical exercise and meditation are some examples that people use in an attempt to achieve this, but ultimately one must learn to recognise when one’s response is not really appropriate and do all you can to change the habit of responding with alarm to things that do not warrant or require an alarm reaction.

“The mind (what we think at the time) stimulates the release of adrenalin into the system, which is what gives us Superhuman strength, but if we are responding with alarm on a regular basis, the adrenal glands become fatigued.

“If this goes on for several years and we are then faced with a truly alarming situation, our body may not be able to respond with as much gusto as it is inherently capable of.

“Adrenalin stimulation on a regular basis upsets the body’s control of inflammation, and symptoms develop thereafter.”

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