Psoriasis is a condition in which the immune system attacks cells in the skin. This immunological reaction causes inflammation, which stimulates the rapid growth of skin cells. As a result, people with psoriasis develop red raised plaques as the reproducing skin cells accumulate. Although there is not enough clinical evidence to support diet changes as a method for treating psoriasis, some foods may help relieve symptoms.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
One of the main kinds of foods that can be used to relieve psoriasis symptoms are those that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fat that can help the body in many ways. One possible effect of these essential fatty acids is that they may reduce inflammation throughout the body, the National Psoriasis Foundation notes. Because psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system, reducing inflammation can help relieve psoriasis. One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids is fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna and cod, because they contain fish oil. Other foods with these beneficial fats are flax seeds, soy products and some vegetable oils, such as canola oil.
If you do not eat enough fiber, partially digested food spends more time in your intestines, which can cause harmful chemicals to be absorbed, possibly exacerbating psoriasis. In order to reduce the risk of this happening, WomenFitness.net recommends that people who suffer from psoriasis consume a high-fiber diet. Fiber can be found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and other foods derived from plants.
Folic acid is another nutrient that is important for psoriasis sufferers. A deficiency in folic acid has been observed in some people who have psoriasis. You can increase your folic acid intake in a variety of ways. Many breakfast cereals and breads have been fortified with folic acid. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, also contain significant amounts of folic acid.