Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition characterized by red, itchy and scaly patches of skin that typically affects the outside of the elbows, knees or scalp, although it can appear on any part of the body. Many times it is treated with steroid creams and medications to help alleviate the symptoms and appearance. Being that it is also an autoimmune condition though, other factors that stress the body may also affect whether it is in a flared or remissive state.
Because psoriasis has been associated with other health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, researchers have looked for possible connections. Increased weight can stress the heart and other organs and could potentially be a trigger for psoriasis. So if weight were reduced to a healthier range, could that have an effect on psoriasis? Possibly, as Danish researchers reported that obese people with the skin condition who lose 10 to 15 percent of their weight saw significant and lasting improvement in their symptoms.
To test the relationship, 56 psoriasis patients participated in a 64-week weight-loss program and were evaluated using the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index and the Dermatology Life Quality Index. The study participants lost an average of 33 pounds over 16 weeks and scores on both symptom tests improved. A year later, those who were still about 22 pounds below their weight from the start of the study maintained their improvements in psoriasis symptoms and quality of life.
Encouraging news to say the least! Not only can you reap the benefits of decreasing the severity of the psoriasis plaques that take a toll both physically and emotionally, but you also gain the benefits of the weight loss.
And we don’t need to cite any studies to know that weight loss leads to:
- More energy
- Reduced blood sugars and cholesterol
- Feeling younger!
Foods that make you gain weight can also promote inflammation in the body which is also linked to be a trigger psoriasis. “Stress eating” falls into this category as the food choices of stress eaters tend to be on the unhealthy side.
Stress leads to eating bad foods that cause inflammation, which causes psoriasis to flare, which causes pain and stress, which then leads to more unhealthy stress eating. As you can see, the snowball begins and before long it is an avalanche. The longer the cycle of stress and eating, the harder it is to recover.
Focusing on a healthy diet and managing stress levels are two things that we can actually control, even if it seems like sometimes it is impossible. Taking the steps every day to keep your life in balance could be the difference in keeping your psoriasis under control or losing control of it completely.
But it is hard to go at this alone. Support and being properly educated along the way is critical to your long-term success. You don’t just need any diet, you need one that promotes anti-inflammatory properties throughout your body. Your body does not react to “healthy” foods in the same way that someone else’s body does. What is good for someone else, may actually cause cellular inflammation for you.
There is only one way to get to the root cause of your psoriasis and to understand exactly how your body wants you to treat it so that this autoimmune condition stays remissive. Schedule your Discovery Day at the Institute for Functional Health, and get the intensive lab testing that you need to uncover the natural roadmap for a long and healthy life . . . free of pain and abundant in energy.
Portions of this article were published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.