It’s no secret that diet plays a huge role in your health. It directly affects how much energy you have during the day, your brain’s ability to conjure up a thought and even how beautiful your skin is.
Your diet can also affect your body’s ability to prevent and heal itself from injury and disease, including the ones that are inflicted by the body itself. Psoriasis and diet have a similar relationship. What psoriasis patients eat can have a massive effect on the frequency and severity of their flare-ups.
A natural way of managing psoriasis is to add key nutrients to your diet — one of which being omega-3s. Let’s explore how omega-3s can play a vital role in reducing psoriasis symptoms.
An autoimmune disorder is a condition that causes your body to mistake its own cells as intruders and attack healthy tissue. When the target of these attacks is the skin, the disease is known as psoriasis. Psoriasis creates high levels of inflammation in the skin. This inflammation causes the skin to grow faster than normal, leading to a build-up of dry, flaky, and itchy scales or small bumps that can appear anywhere on the body.
While psoriasis mainly affects the skin, the high levels of inflammation can wreak havoc on other body systems as well. Because of this, psoriasis patients are at a higher risk of developing additional diseases like heart disease, vision problems, lung disease, diabetes and even depression.
There are multiple psoriasis treatments — including topical, oral and injectable medications — that either target your symptoms or reduce your autoimmune response. There are also lifestyle choices, such as diet, exercise and sleeping habits, that can have a huge impact on your psoriasis management and the overall health of your immune system.
The body gets its energy from three main sources — carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Omega fatty acids are unsaturated fats, meaning that they are the easiest for the body to digest. Your body doesn’t make these on its own, which means it’s essential that you get them through your diet. There are three different types of omega fatty acids, but omega-3s have a few more health benefits than omega-6s and omega-9s.
Omega-3s are vital for your body — playing a role in how your cells function, aid in hormone production, and regulating inflammation in the body. Several studies show that foods containing omega-3s can help prevent disease and improve the health of various organs around the body.
Research has suggested that omega-3s can reduce some of the symptoms associated with psoriasis. Participants of these studies showed improvement in itching, redness, flakiness and overall inflammation, which is thought to be because of the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3s. By adding this nutrient into their diet, psoriasis patients may notice longer periods in-between flare-ups as well as reduced severity of their symptoms.
Omega-3s can also lower the risks of additional diseases that people with psoriasis are susceptible to. For example, omega-3s have been shown to promote heart health and decrease your chances of developing cardiovascular diseases, obesity and vision problems — all of which are common ailments that psoriasis patients have an increased risk of.
So what are some of the ways you can add Omega-3s into your diet? One of the best sources of this crucial nutrient is fatty fish. Salmon, cod, and mackerel are all great options. Sardines and herring are also rich in omega-3s.
If you’re not a fan of seafood or if you eat a plant-based diet, then your best bet is to reach for nuts, fruits, and vegetables that are high in omega-3s. Examples include walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and Brussels sprouts. If none of these sound appealing to you or you’re allergic to nuts, then you can also try taking fish oil and other supplements.
Remember to always speak with your doctor before you make any drastic changes to your diet. While it may seem like the solution to your psoriasis is to completely cut out junk food and only eat fruits and vegetables, you want to make sure that you’re not eliminating other nutrients that your body needs. Every person is different and everyone living with psoriasis has a different experience with the disease, so you should always communicate with your doctor whenever you’re experimenting with different ways of treating your symptoms.