In this blog, I like to talk about recipes I love to cook and food I like to eat both during a flare-up and when my skin is behaving itself. However, if you search the internet you will find thousands of diets which supposedly will make your psoriasis disappear. So far though, there is no conclusive evidence that diet can cure your psoriasis. If you have tried several treatments for your condition, you will know each one has a varying degree of success. Diet is basically the same – someone may say they cut certain foods out of their diet and it has cleared their psoriasis. Good for them! Was it the diet or the general change of lifestyle and mind-set that improved their condition though?
Your skin is unique to you and how it and your body reacts to food is going to be different from anyone else. Yes, there are foods that are good for you and most of us know that eating fatty and salty foods to excess can have a detrimental effect on our health. I have found that my general health affects my psoriasis, so when I have a cold, I have a flare up. Stands to reason that if I eat healthily and I’m not ill too often then that could feasibly improve my psoriasis, won’t it?
Diet can play a part in your general wellbeing. Do not go out and find a "miracle diet", you need to find out for yourself what flares your psoriasis and to what extent. What I write here is based on what I know are my triggers.
Okay, I’m talking burgers, chips and mostly greasy food here. I can often find that if I binge on fast food it can cause my skin to flare. Not too much, but enough to notice and start itching. I find my skin will dry out more and the psoriasis patches will look more red than normal. I only found this out after a very lazy week where I went to a certain burger chain nearly every day for a week. Yes I love food yet I still eat rubbish at times!
I try to only have this kind of food once a month now. It is difficult at times though, as when I am having a flare up and feel a little down I often turn to fast food for comfort which is turn makes my skin worse and leads me to more fast food. Psoriasis can form a vicious circle at times.
This is mainly hot spices and again having an excess. I don’t have a high tolerance of spicy food anyway, and have found that I can often get a rash on my neck and chest if I eat something particularly spicy. This shows that my body and skin react to it and it makes it an easy reaction to spot and of course if I get a rash then I itch and sometimes I will get a small flare-up.
The main spices I find are hot chillies. Other spices used for flavouring seem okay and there is a theory that turmeric is actually very good for you. Again only a theory but I do find myself using it a lot along with ginger and lemon just in case.
“Simon, that’s not a food” I hear you say. Okay, technically not a food, it is a large part of many people’s diets though and I do enjoy a drink with my dinner and a trip down the pub with friends. A lot of people with psoriasis cut out alcohol from their diet altogether, but I do not have that will power. Yes, I know alcohol dehydrates you and if you’re dehydrated your skin will suffer.
I don’t drink as much as I used to, partly just because I can’t drink like I did when I was a student! What I have done is to go for a higher quality drink, choosing premium brands rather than just going for the cheapest. I find it makes the experience much more enjoyable and, as it costs more, I don’t drink as much. Instead of drinking for the sake of drinking, I am drinking for pleasure. I tend to always have water to drink alongside and if I know we’re going for a big night out I prepare with a richer moisturiser on my skin and make sure I treat my skin first thing the next morning.
That is it for me. The key is a balanced diet and anything to excess is normally bad for you. You need to find what affects you, so keep a diary or use a tool such as the MyPSo App. Remember to keep a note of what your general mood, health and any other circumstances were at the time. For instance, I find when on holiday that very little affects my psoriasis, as I’m so relaxed. I can drink more, eat more and nothing changes. If anything, my skin clears a little while on holiday. Your general state of mind is a major factor and I feel that if you cut out things that you enjoy and make you happy then it could adversely affect your skin rather than make it better. Everything in moderation is the golden rule.
UK/IE 2013b/00058f; date of preparation: September 2015