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Plaque Psoriasis Diet Tips

Managing Symptoms Through Nutrition

Plaque psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that primarily affects the skin, resulting in thick, inflamed patches known as plaques. These plaques are typically covered with silvery scales and can be itchy and painful. Although the exact cause of plaque psoriasis is not completely understood, research indicates that both genetic and environmental factors, including an individual's diet, play a role in its development.

In this article, we will explore the best and worst foods and drinks for plaque psoriasis, discuss what plaque psoriasis is, what causes it and potential triggers. We will also look at treatment options, including Otezla which is used to lower inflammation in plaque psoriasis.

Worst Foods and Drinks for Plaque Psoriasis

1. Alcohol

Alcohol consumption can interfere with the effectiveness of psoriasis treatments and may increase inflammation. Excessive alcohol can also trigger new outbreaks.

2. Soda and Energy Drinks

These high sugar drinks can lead to obesity and increase systemic inflammation, potentially worsening psoriasis symptoms.

3. Fruit Juice

Even seemingly healthy options like fruit juice can contain high levels of sugar and may lead to weight gain and elevated inflammation.

4. Dairy Products

Some people with psoriasis report worsened symptoms after consuming dairy, particularly full-fat varieties which contain saturated fats.

5. Red Meat

High in saturated fat and potentially containing arachidonic acid, red meat can promote inflammation and may aggravate skin conditions.

6. Gluten

Individuals with psoriasis and a sensitivity to gluten may notice an improvement in symptoms after eliminating it from their diet. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye.

7. Processed Foods

Rich in unhealthy fats, refined starches and sugars, processed foods can contribute to poor health and exacerbate inflammatory conditions.

8. Nightshades

Some people with psoriasis report increased itching and redness after consuming nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes and eggplants.

Best Foods and Drinks for Plaque Psoriasis

A balanced diet with anti-inflammatory properties can support overall health and may help manage psoriasis symptoms effectively.

1. Water

Adequate hydration is crucial for maintaining healthy skin. Water helps to flush out toxins and can improve skin hydration, possibly reducing the severity of plaques.

2. Green and Herbal Teas

These teas are rich in antioxidants and may have anti-inflammatory effects that are beneficial for people with psoriasis.

3. Leafy Greens

Vegetables like spinach and kale are loaded with vitamins and minerals, which can support skin health and have anti-inflammatory properties.

4. Broccoli

This cruciferous vegetable is packed with antioxidants and nutrients that might help reduce skin inflammation.

5. Berries, Cherries and Grapes

Rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, these fruits have been noted for their potential to reduce inflammation.

6. Fatty Fish

Salmon, mackerel and sardines contain omega-3 fatty acids that can help lessen inflammation and improve psoriasis symptoms.

7. Olive Oil and Flaxseed Oil

These oils are great sources of omega-3s and healthy fats, which might help to manage inflammation associated with psoriasis.

Understanding Plaque Psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis is a chronic skin condition characterized by the rapid build-up of skin cells, leading to scaling on the skin's surface. It is believed to be caused by an overactive immune system, which speeds up the lifecycle of skin cells and results in the formation of scales and red patches. Plaque psoriasis can be painful, itchy and sometimes bleeding. It most commonly appears on the scalp, elbows, knees and lower back, but can appear anywhere on the body.

Triggers for Plaque Psoriasis

Several triggers can initiate or exacerbate a psoriasis flare, including:

  • Foods and drinks that cause inflammation or sensitivities can be triggers.
  • Drugs such as lithium, antimalarials, high blood pressure medications and beta-blockers may worsen psoriasis.
  • Cold weather can result in dry skin, which aggravates psoriasis.
  • Stress is a known trigger for psoriasis as it can cause the body to release chemicals that boost inflammation.
  • Injuries to the skin, such as cuts, scrapes or surgery, can provoke new psoriasis lesions.
  • Although moderate sunlight can benefit psoriasis, sunburns can significantly worsen it.

Treatment Options for Plaque Psoriasis

There are various therapies available to manage plaque psoriasis. Here are some common treatment options.

  • Anthralin: This is a medication applied to the skin to slow the growth of skin cells and reduce scaling.
  • Coal tar: An older treatment that helps to reduce scaling, itching and inflammation of psoriasis.
  • Corticosteroids: These are anti-inflammatory drugs that can be applied topically, taken orally or injected to reduce inflammation.
  • Otezla: Otezla (apremilast) is an oral medication that functions by inhibiting an enzyme in the immune system that affects certain cells that cause inflammation across the body.
  • Salicylic acid: This treatment helps with the shedding of psoriatic scales.
  • Phototherapy: The use of natural or artificial ultraviolet light can slow down skin cell turnover and reduce scaling and inflammation.

Final Notes

Diet plays an instrumental role in managing plaque psoriasis. While some foods and drinks can worsen symptoms, others may relieve them. Additionally, various triggers and effective treatment options exist to control flare-ups and improve the quality of life for those living with plaque psoriasis. It's important for individuals to work closely with a healthcare provider to tailor dietary changes and treatment strategies to their specific needs.

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