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Following the Mediterranean Diet May Help With Psoriasis

The Mediterranean diet is characterized by consumption of high amounts of anti-inflammatory foods such as a fruits and vegetables, legumes, cereals, bread, fish, fruit, nuts, and extra-virgin olive oil. These contain dietary fiber, polyphenols, and other bioactive compounds which help to reduce risk of systemic inflammation and may help with inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis. The Mediterranean diet includes lesser amounts of pro-inflammatory foods such as meat, dairy products, eggs, and alcohol.

There is literature to suggest that a diet rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients reduces the severity of psoriasis and that consumption of monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), found chiefly in olive oil, is actually a predictor of the clinical severity of psoriasis. The studies hypothesize that MUFA might act as an adjunctive mechanism to decrease inflammation in patients with psoriasis. Because most studies look at individual foods or nutrients and their associated effects on psoriasis, a recent study sought to look at whether following a Mediterranean diet as a whole might affect the onset and/or severity of psoriasis. The study sought to capture a connection between a score (MEDI-LITE) that reflected how well patients adhere to a lifestyle/diet and the relationship to psoriasis severity.

As part of a large online cohort study in France (NutriNet-Sante), participants provided information on lifestyle, health status, physical activity, and diet over a period of multiple years. Researchers sent the entire cohort an extra questionnaire to assess whether they reported a diagnosis of psoriasis and to record the severity of disease. 35,735 respondents completed the extra questionnaire, 3,357 reported having psoriasis; nearly 25% reported severe psoriasis and 8.4% had incident psoriasis (arising more than 2 years after inclusion in the cohort).

The results show that there was an inverse relationship between MEDI-LITE scores and psoriasis. Patients with severe psoriasis adhered less strongly to the Mediterranean diet. The authors state that this finding supports the hypothesis that the Mediterranean diet may slow the progression of psoriasis.

The authors conclude that despite this strong association, further prospective observational studies and randomized clinical trials are needed to confirm these results, and before they can recommend incorporating following a Mediterranean diet into routine treatment for psoriasis.


Byline: Martha L. Sikes, MS, RPh, PA-C

Posted: September 20, 2018

Source: JAMA
Adapted from the original article.

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