Make peace with psoriasis

Published October 29, 2021, 6:00 AM

by Cheshire Que

All there is to know about the incurable skin disease

GLUTEN TAG Gluten-rich food items may intensify the symptoms of psoriasis

There is no known cure. It renders an individual frustrated, hopeless, psychologically and socially burdened. Characterized by red, scaly, and itchy patches of skin that look like plaques, it usually affects the scalp, nails, elbows, knees, trunk, and even the groin.

Psoriasis is a long-term skin disease that involves the immune system and results in an inflammatory reaction in the body. It tremendously affects a person’s quality of life. Symptoms can range from dry, itchy skin to swollen and stiff joints.

According to the World Psoriasis Day consortium, two to three percent or approximately 125 million people globally suffer from psoriasis. Since there is no known cure to date, are the sufferers doomed or is there a way to peacefully live with psoriasis? Indeed, there is! But we need to get to the root cause of the problem, which is a malfunctioning immune system that causes the skin to regenerate faster than the normal rate, resulting in plaque formation on the skin.

Aside from topical treatments applied to the skin surface, medications may also be prescribed. If you have psoriasis, you probably have gone through this route of treatment but still find yourself at a loss in terms of effectively managing symptoms.

Since the root cause of the problem is the immune system, let us consider the factors that need to be done to improve or balance the immune system to decrease inflammation in the body. Diet and nutrition are a priority when it comes to quelling inflammation. What you eat may exacerbate symptoms. What you also do not eat, however, renders your immune defense overactive or weak and faulty.

Food items that may trigger flare-ups are alcohol, red meat, processed food, refined sugar, dairy products, and gluten-containing food like wheat, barley, rye, and oats, which are commonly used ingredients in baked products and pasta. It is also best to have a food sensitivity test to determine what causes low-grade inflammation and adverse reaction in your body.

CRAWLING IN MY SKIN The scaly patches of skin called plaques could appear anywhere on your body from the knees to the scalp

Aside from avoiding trigger food, one must also increase the consumption of anti-inflammatory food that is whole, minimally processed, and mostly plant-based. Fruits and vegetables are high in phytochemicals that help quell inflammation, balance hormones, and optimize immunity. Consuming fruits and vegetables may be a challenge to some individuals. It will take a conscious effort in making it available daily. For example, have fresh fruits as a dessert or snack instead of packaged or processed snacks. Incorporate vegetable dishes or add more vegetables to one-pot dishes in at least two meals per day. If fruits and vegetables were not made available during meals, especially when dining out, you can have a fruit and vegetable smoothie in the morning or when you get home after work.

Psoriasis is a problem that may not have a cure but a holistic approach to wellness will help prevent symptoms from appearing.

Aside from fresh produce, other anti-inflammatory food items that contain omega 3 can be consumed. Fatty fishes like tuna, salmon, and sardines can be eaten in moderation. Nuts and seeds like chia, flaxseed, and walnut also contain essential fatty acids. Coconut oil and pure olive oil also contain anti-inflammatory properties. It is important, however, not to use extra virgin olive oil for cooking. Pure olive oil and olive pomace oil can be used for cooking and baking.

In addition to the consumption of conventional food, there are plant food sources that have health benefits beyond basic nutrition. These are modified functional food that may come in powdered, pill, or liquid form. It is important to consult a registered nutritionist dietitian for proper assessment and guidance before taking any product.

The following are some potent anti-inflammatory functional food essentials: Cactus, which boasts of over 10,000 phytochemicals, wheatgrass, which has 17 amino acids and 100 enzymes, and rose, which has a high concentration of natural vitamin C and aids in collagen formation.

Aside from food intake, a person with psoriasis must also learn to manage stress because it worsens symptoms. While stress cannot be avoided, especially if the main cause of stress is the medical condition itself, it is important to develop healthy coping skills. Relaxation activities, sleeping, and learning to see positive traits in yourself will not only help you cope with stress but will also keep your immune response at bay.

Psoriasis is a problem that may not have a cure but a holistic approach to wellness will help prevent symptoms from appearing.

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