Mediterranean diet might do more than help ward off heart disease, it may also help improve psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory disease triggered by environmental factors.
Psoriasis is characterized by areas or patches of skin that is red and thickened and scaly. It can impair a person’s quality of life because of discomfort and appearance.
The Mediterranean diet, characterized by a high amount of fruits, vegetables, cereals, fish and extra-virgin olive oil, could reduce chronic systemic inflammation thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of these foods.
About the study
The research team tapped into a large ongoing French health study that had collected dietary information on 158,361 volunteers over two years. The researchers sent all of the study participants a link to an online psoriasis questionnaire. Of the 35,735 who filled out the questionnaire, 3,557 reported they had psoriasis, with 878 saying it was severe.
Along with information on food consumption, the original study also collected information on lifestyle and health factors, such as gender, age, smoking habits, body mass index (BMI), physical activity levels, cardiovascular disease and depression symptoms.
The researchers rated volunteers’ eating habits according to how closely they followed the Mediterranean diet. Previous studies have found the diet is associated with a lower risk of chronic systemic inflammation, which has been linked to heart disease as well as conditions like psoriasis.
After taking into account other lifestyle and health factors that can raise the risk of psoriasis, researchers found that severe cases of the disease were less likely in people whose eating habits were more similar to the Mediterranean diet.
Compared to people whose eating habits scored lowest by Mediterranean diet standards, those who scored highest on Mediterranean diet adherence were 22 percent less likely to have severe psoriasis, and those whose diets were moderately Mediterranean were 29 percent less likely.
The researchers also found an association between psoriasis severity and several other factors, including BMI, smoking, activity levels, heart disease, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, diabetes and depression.
The study doesn’t prove that consuming a Mediterranean diet will lessen the severity of psoriasis, but it certainly suggests a connection that has also been found in previous studies.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.