Studies of psoriasis patients have linked more severe cases of psoriasis with a higher consumption of simple carbohydrates and saturated fats, and with a lower intake of protein, complex carbohydrates, MUFA, PUFA, and fibres.
In a recent journal by Barrea L et al, published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, it was found that the lowest intakes of PUFA, MUFA and complex carbohydrates were associated with higher clinical severity of psoriasis.
Saturated fats vs Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)
In this research, the patients with more severe cases of psoriasis consumed more saturated fats and less monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA).
Saturated fats occur naturally in many foods and particularly from animal sources, including meat and dairy products. Examples of saturated fats are:
- fatty beef, lamb, pork (bacon)
- poultry with skin
- beef fat (tallow or lard)
- cream and butter
- cheese and other dairy products made from whole milk
In addition, many baked goods and fried foods can contain high levels of saturated fats.
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA)
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) are considered a healthy dietary fat, as opposed to saturated fatty acid. The most frequently consumed MUFA rich dietary oils is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Traditionally, the beneficial effects of EVOO have been attributed to its high MUFA content (oleic acid), as it protects lipoproteins and cellular membranes from oxidative damage.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)
The omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), mainly found in fish and nuts, contribute to provide the protection of several chronic diseases such as psoriasis. Diets rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) from fish oil have been associated with improvement of psoriasis in clinical trials by promoting an anti-inflammatory environment.
Simple carbs vs complex carbs
In this research, the patients with more severe cases of psoriasis consumed more simple carbohydrates and less complex carbohydrates.
Simple carbohydrates are sugars. While some of these occur naturally in milk, most of the simple carbs in the western diet are added to foods. Common simple carbs added to foods are:
- raw sugar
- brown sugar
- corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup
- glucose, fructose, and sucrose
- fruit juice concentrate
Complex carbohydrates consist mainly of fibre and starch. The main sources of dietary fibre and starch include:
- whole grains
In addition, food fibres also play an important role in decreasing system-wide inflammation, by decreasing the oxidative stress that is produced when there is a high intake of simple carbohydrate foods.
Low energy and vegetarian diets
Previous studies reported the positive effects of low-energy diets and vegetarian diets, and gluten-free diet on the psoriasis condition. Fasting periods or vegetarian diets and diets rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) from fish oil have been associated with improvement of psoriasis in clinical trials.
For the psoriatic
A diet regimen rich in MUFA and PUFA, fruits, vegetables, fibre, and with a reduced intake of saturated fats, simple carbohydrates, processed foods and sweetened drinks, should be recommended to reduce the severity of psoriasis.
In a nutshell, keep up the MUFA, PUFA and fibre!
Barrea L, Nappi F, Di Somma C, Savanelli MC, Falco A, Balato A, Balato N and Savastano S. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Environmental Risk Factors in Psoriasis: The Point of View of the Nutritionist. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 743