Simple Dietary Changes to Improve Psoriasis
Do you want to increase the number of anti-inflammatory foods you consume without waking up one day wondering why you bought a $12 bag of gluten-free muesli?
Yeah- I get you, living our busy lives the thought of transforming our diets can feel too much. Especially if we have to learn new skills and recipes. The thing is, having adequate nutrition can help alleviate some of the symptoms of psoriasis, in particular when dietary changes lead to weight loss.1
Nutritional education: Do we all need one?
I have been investing in personal development this month. The course is Nutritional Therapy. I have no intention of being a Nutritional Therapist but my academic knowledge on the interaction between the food we eat and how it affects how our DNA was seriously out of date.
As someone who is passionately trying to change the way that we look at psoriasis, having an up to date understanding of the interplay between what we eat and its interaction with our bodies chemistry is non-negotiable (and unfortunately expensive).
This course is reminding me of the power of some foods, and while we often hear about the superfood status of broccoli and berries- reading the actual data from the academic studies really re-motivated me to increase the number of foods into my diet that will help to improve my skin.
Here are the top changes I have made this month, how I introduced them into our weekly meals without the kids kicking off and some of the academic research behind my decision to prioritize these fruits and vegetables.
So here in the U.K, we are moving into the colder months, so porridge is returning as a classic morning staple. I am already a fan of porridge as it is an excellent source of soluble fiber, it's warm and comforting to eat, and it cooks in only a few minutes if you're using rolled oats.
- Cocoa powder and berries: Cocoa powder is a win-win (as long as your not sensitive to theobromine or caffeine) as it contains more than 300 bioactive compounds2 and its, you know…chocolatey. I use rice milk which is naturally sweet- but be careful with how much cocoa you add because it is bitter, and sugar has the potential to be inflammatory. Berries are rammed full of several different types of anti-oxidants and are naturally lower in sugar than most other fruits so are a great addition too. Plus raspberries and cocoa are a match made in heaven.
- Honey & Hemp: So yes, the classic: Honey. It is still sugar (even though it is natural) so go easy, but adding hemp which is over 25% protein3 (and even better, add a drizzle of hemp oil), which can slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, reducing the blood sugar spikes4 and adding the anti-inflammatory lipid Omega 3 (something almost all of us are not consuming enough of) in while we are at it.3
Lunch & Dinner
Nutritional powerhouses broccoli, cabbage (the greener the better), garlic, carrots, and sweet potatoes have been sneaking into meals all over. Improving nutrition can feel a bit overwhelming when people start going on about Vitamin E this and pro-anthocyanin that. If there is one thing I have learned in this course, it is this. *Eat the Rainbow* and you will have it nailed. That's it. Just make sure the rainbow includes mushrooms! It's not a very rainbow-y color…
With this in mind here are a few changes I have made.
- Salmon and Vegetables: Usually in a stir fry - salmon with roasted sweet potato chips, savoy cabbage (fried with onion, garlic and bacon), garlic greens beans with a sprinkle of sesame seeds (rich in calcium, which if your dairy-free like me is important). Plus it looks fantastic (if you use black sesame seeds). If you're still in a hot climate- this is lovely with sweet potato chips, green bean salad with spring onion and avocado.
- Cottage Pie/Shepherds Pie/Lancashire hotpot or the Veggie alternative. Vegetables you can sneak into the meat/mean/lentil mixture depending on how fine you chop: Cavalo Nero, Celery, Garlic, onion, mushrooms, leeks.
- Carrots are obvious- but who doesn't love carrots in a stew type meal? They are also great roasted as an accompaniment if the thought of adding them seems offensive to you. Interesting fact- carrots are more nutritious cooked.
- Toppings: Replace, or mix sweet potato into the mash for the topping. Other vegetables you can add, (but kids may suss you out)- pureed cauliflower and pureed Jerusalem artichoke. I also add nutritional yeast instead of cheese, you could do both.
- Broccoli is a great side if you don't like it try boiling it in water that has salt already added or try roasting it with different spices, or drizzling it in garlic infused olive oil once cooked. My kids are also a fan of peas, and the more processed, baked beans.
- Yes- baked beans, with added salt and sugar. No, in an ideal world this meal would not include these; but if it transforms a nutritionally dense meal into something my kids will wolf down then its a win for me. Plus we need some salt, and they contain protein. So really people need to calm down about perfection if you ask me. But then I was raised on baked beans, so I am biased.
We all know these are not healthy. Eat them, enjoy them, just don't eat them often. When I have a sweet craving these are my absolute favorites:
- A Medjool date filled with almond butter
- Banana fried in cinnamon
- Rice pudding with cardamom and lime
- Dark chocolate with black tea
What are your favorite meals this time of year? Could you give them a nutritional boost?
Do you anxiously anticipate a psoriasis relapse?