Psoriasis Treatment: Diet & Lifestyle Changes
While consulting a dermatologist for psoriasis is mandatory, there are several home remedies that will aid in the reduction of the inflammation and pain. These remedies include the application of coconut oil, practicing yoga and meditation, including proteins like fish in the diet, cutting out alcohol, fried food, and junk food, minimizing the consumption of red meat and spicy food.
Psoriasis is much more than a skin disease. It’s an autoimmune condition, genetically inherited, and impacts the life of the patient in ways more than one. While there are various forms of psoriasis, the primary concern is the immune system that will protect the body from various other infections and diseases. Hence, affected persons are more susceptible to common infections like cold and cough which in turn leads to upper respiratory problems and inflammation.
Sometimes the progress of the treatment may be slow, due to various factors like immune system response, lifestyle habits, dietary habits, sleep patterns, work environment and more. One needs to maintain a lifestyle balance and reduce stress levels.
Home Remedies for Psoriasis
Dietary Changes: What we eat will always have an impact on our health and the same applies to psoriasis. The scales that appear on the lesions are protein and could lead to protein deficiency in the body because it is lost in the form of dead skin. Including protein-rich foods like fish, fish oil, cottage cheese, spinach, egg whites, skinned chicken, flax seeds and olive oil are all good sources. Adding salmon to your diet will provide the required vitamin D for the skin and omega-3 fatty acids for the heart. However, spicy food, red meat, and food that increases heat in the body such as egg yolks, coffee should be completely avoided. Cut back on deep fried food and junk food as well. Some people may develop sensitivity towards foods rich in gluten, which is found in rye, wheat, and barley. Avoiding such foods may help ease the symptoms.
Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is known for its healing abilities and it is widely used as an effective remedy for several skin issues including psoriasis. Application of pure or virgin coconut oil on the skin can greatly help reduce the itching and pain of the lesions. Be generous with the oil and apply as many times a day as required. You should definitely apply after a bath when the pores are open so the skin can be moisturized deep and before going to sleep to reduce dead skin flakes falling apart in the night.
Yoga & Meditation: Stress is commonly mistaken for mental stress or pressure; however, physical stress should also be accounted for. Erratic routines, lack of sleep and rest, constantly working under pressure can all lead to massive damage to the immune system. It is then important to reduce all of these factors leading to stress. Practicing yoga and meditation daily can help calm the body and mind and provide relief from stress. Yoga is also known to realign bodily functions and increase general energy levels. Further, meditation helps increase concentration and helps reduce stress on the mind to complete tasks, which in turn reduces work-related stress.
Exercise & Workout: Running, walking, cycling or going to the gym are all great ways to work out and they will definitely help a psoriasis patient keep their weight in check. It is important to stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep overall body fat at a minimum. Fat is known to be an inflammatory tissue and keeping it in check is important to reduce psoriasis inflammation. It will also reduce inverse psoriasis as this appears in the skin folds.
Soak Up Some Sun: Try getting some sun a few times a week in the morning. The early morning rays are not harsh on the skin and are the best natural source of vitamin D which helps in healing the skin. Be careful of how much you expose your skin to the sun as sunburns will make the condition worse. Using a doctor recommended sunscreen on unaffected parts of the skin is a good practice to avoid burns or aggravating the lesions. Even the phototherapy for psoriasis uses UV rays and you can get them naturally by being in the sun for a few minutes every day.
Rest & Sleep: Resting the body and mind by following a good sleep pattern is vital. A minimum of 7 hours of sleep ensures natural healing of the body. A good, undisturbed sleep will help reduce stress.
Quit Alcohol: Heavy consumption of alcohol is linked to inflammation. Alcohol increases body heat and weakens immunity. Psoriasis already attacks the immune system and it is mandatory to rebuild and keep the system strong. Alcohol in any quantity should be avoided for psoriasis patients. It’ll also help you lose weight.
Say No To Smoking: It is widely known that smoking can cause multiple health disorders and psoriasis is not an exception. Smoking, if not directly, affects your respiratory system and immunity which in turn increases inflammation of the disease. If you’re a heavy smoker, reducing it will definitely help but the best choice would be to quit smoking.
Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera gel is a widely used remedy for managing psoriasis when used for topical application. The gel is 99% water and contains salicylic acid which keeps the skin moisturized for hours and has antibacterial properties. The gel does not have any side effects and can be used as many as three times a day. Using organic shampoos that contain aloe vera gel can help scalp psoriasis. The gel will soothe the inflammation; reduce redness of the lesions and itching.
Fish Oil: Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, fish oil will help relieve the redness and inflammation of the lesions. It is also good for the heart which will positively affect your psoriasis. While more research is required on this subject, you won’t experience any negative side effects as long as it is not consumed in extreme quantities.
Cayenne: Capsaicin is an ingredient that is present in most chili peppers such a cayenne pepper. Application on affected areas is beneficial in blocking nerve endings that transmit pain, reducing redness, itching, and scales.
Baths: The lesions are like open wounds and hot water will irritate these spots further. Lukewarm water is the best choice for psoriasis patients especially if you live in cold regions where cold water baths are not an option. Also, try to shorten the time of your showers as long ones can dry the skin instead. You can add bath salts such as Dead Sea salts, lavender essential oil or ground oatmeal to the water to keep the skin moisturized while bathing. Any chemical or artificial soap should be avoided. Like most skin products recommend testing the product on a patch for irritation, you must test even the organic or natural soaps you are planning to use and ensure it is not causing any harm to the lesions. Moisturizing after every bath is a must to avoid plaques from forming during the day.
Final Word of Caution: Psoriasis doesn’t have a cure and despite all efforts, some people have recurring flare-ups and patches for years. However, most people who have followed a healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet and regular checkups with the doctor have seen reduction in their inflammation, symptoms, and frequency of flare-ups. It may act as a wake-up call for your health and by taking steps in the right direction it can make a huge difference.
The last piece of advice for every patient is to never lose hope, never let the disease take over your confidence or mental peace. Accept it to overcome the hurdle.