A new study indicated that following the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) may reduce the severity and slow the progression of psoriasis. The researchers believe the anti-inflammatory properties of the diet are responsible for the benefit.
With results of previous studies and these findings, we should not hesitate to advise people with psoriasis to consider a healthy eating plan such as the MedDiet.
“The Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce chronic inflammation and have a positive effect on the risk of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular events,” wrote the authors. Because psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory condition, they theorized the diet would have a beneficial effect on it.
Psoriasis affects between 1 to 3 percent of the population. It’s characterized by itchy, red and scaly patches of skin. The condition can be painful and lead to joint problems, thus impairing the ability to perform everyday activities. As psoriasis has no cure, the goal of treatment is to manage symptoms.
The research published in JAMA Dermatology involved an analysis of data from the NutriNet-Santé program, an ongoing observational study launched in France in 2009.
The database included more than 35,000 participants of a mean age of 47.5 years.
Based on answers from a psoriasis questionnaire, the individuals were categorized into three groups: psoriasis-free, non-severe psoriasis and severe psoriasis.
To measure adherence to the MedDiet, dietary data was used to calculate MEDI-LITE scores, which range from 0 for no adherence to 18 for optimal adherence. In addition, information was collected on health and lifestyle factors such as gender, age, body mass index (BMI), smoking habits, cardiovascular disease, physical activity and depression symptoms.
Results showed that 10 percent of the participants had psoriasis, with approximately one-fourth of the cases being severe. A significant inverse relationship was found between the MEDI-LITE scores and severe psoriasis, which meant the higher the adherence to the MedDiet, the lower was the risk.
Those with the highest MedDiet adherence scores were 22 percent less likely to have severe psoriasis compared to those with the lowest scores. According to the researchers, the results merit further studies to establish the association between diet and psoriasis.
Aside from the dietary link, a tie was noted between psoriasis severity and other factors, including smoking, heart disease, physical activity levels, BMI, diabetes, high blood pressure, high triglycerides and depression.
“The MedDiet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and extra virgin olive oil. These foods have significant amounts of components with anti-inflammatory properties, such as dietary fibers and antioxidants,” lead author Céline Phan from Paris Est Créteil University told Olive Oil Times.
“We cannot assume from this observational study that following the MedDiet will reduce the risk of psoriasis; however, it highlights an inverse association between the MedDiet and the severity of the disease. With results of previous studies and these findings, we should not hesitate to advise people with psoriasis to consider a healthy eating plan such as the MedDiet,” she added.