Diet and Exercise
Diet and exercise
A healthy lifestyle is essential for everyone. The Food Standards Agency (2010) states that a healthy balanced diet contains a variety of foods including plenty of fruit and vegetables, plenty of starchy foods such as wholegrain bread, pasta and rice, some protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, eggs and lentils, as well as some dairy foods. It should also be low in fat (especially saturated fat), salt and sugar.
You may find there are certain foods that make your psoriasis worse. If so, keep away from them. But there doesn’t seem to be a proven link between diet and psoriasis.
Your dermatologist, doctor or nurse will be able to give you advice, but the key is to eat healthily, which will help maintain your general well-being.
Smoking has a negative impact on the health of the skin as it does every organ system. Among psoriasis patients, women smokers have been shown to be at greatest risk of developing the condition in comparison to non-smokers. Psoriasis has also been found to be more persistent in smokers and rates of remission are lower. A study of 104 patients found that those who failed to show clinical improvement were almost twice as likely to be smokers (66%) than non-smokers (34%).
Alcohol stimulates the release of histamine, which can result in worsening of skin lesions, therefore to help you manage your disease, it is also important to limit alcohol intake.
Tips to help cope with psoriasis
1. Eat a healthy balanced diet
2. Quit smoking and limit alcohol intake
Following these tips will help you to manage your psoriasis as best as you can. You will feel the benefits of an overall improvement in nutrition and good health.
Maintaining a healthy weight
Weight loss may be recommended for people with psoriasis who are particularly overweight, as seriously overweight people who have psoriasis may suffer much more. If you are thinking about losing weight to improve your psoriasis, talk this through with a doctor who is familiar with your medical history and who is then able to recommend an appropriate diet. Fad diets and weight-loss supplements should be avoided as they could actually worsen your psoriasis.
Exercise to boost your brain and body
Choosing the right kind of exercise may also help symptoms, not least by improving your mood, but also by reducing stress, a known trigger of the condition. Exercise can also help to maintain a healthy weight.
If you have the type of psoriasis (psoriatic arthropathy) which can leave your joints very inflamed you will need to take this into account when choosing suitable exercise. Gentle movements which do not impact on the joints will avoid aggravating the inflammation whilst giving you the overall physical benefit of exercise.
Start any exercise programme gently and slowly build up, remembering that you don’t have to exercise strenuously to see results. A short period of moderate exercise each day will make a difference. Check with your doctor before you get started that it’s suitable for your psoriasis and be wary of signs that the exercise programme is not suitable for you such as soreness and pain in the joints.
Soothe and calm away flare-ups
Physical and psychological stress can stimulate the release of chemical messengers called neuropeptides, which can cause pain, itching, and inflammation. An activity such as Tai Chi, or Yoga, will help to reduce stress levels. These activities are fantastic for stretching and increasing range of movement, as well as for focusing inward and developing a strong connection with your body. These attributes will help you to feel good in your body and improve your psychological associations with it.