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By Karen Alexander, Oncology Wellness Specialist


Managing Psoriasis with Diet

125 million people worldwide and 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis. That is about two percent of the total population.

Psoriasis is a non-contagious, long-life condition that causes the body to make new skin cells in days rather than weeks. As a result, these cells pile up on the surface of the skin and accumulate in scaly patches (plaques). These plaques vary in size and can appear as a single patch or join together to cover a large area of skin. They commonly appear on knees, elbows, lower back, and scalp. Psoriasis may flare up for no apparent reason, or as a result of an infection, severe sunburn, stress, use of some medications, or tobacco use.

Patients with psoriasis have a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with other conditions such as metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and depression, among other conditions. 10 to 30 percent of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis; which usually appears between ages 30 and 50, but can develop at any age.

Although there is a trend for patients with psoriasis to follow a gluten-free diet, according to the new Dietary Recommendations for Adults with Psoriasis or Psoriatic Arthritis from the Medical Board of the National Psoriasis Foundation that was published in JAMA last month, a gluten-free diet is only needed for patients who test positive for serologic markers of a gluten allergy. For more information about gluten sensitivity and gluten allergy visit our blog.

According to specialists, a well-balanced Mediterranean diet with fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats that is low in dairy products and rich in antioxidants like folate, zinc, fiber, selenium, n-3 PUFA, and monounsaturated fatty acids can help you manage psoriasis. Studies have suggested that a diet high in red meat, eggs, high-fat dairy products, refined and processed foods, spices, condiments, gluten, sugars, omega 6 (pro-inflammatory), saturated fats and alcohol may increase symptoms of psoriasis. Click here to learn more about a Mediterranean diet.

It should be noted that a dietary regimen does not substitute but complements the standard medical therapies for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

The recipe of the week is courtesy of Native Sun Natural Food Markets:

Red Curry Scallops and Green Beans

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
1 carrot, cut into bite-size pieces
12 ounces unsweetened coconut cream
1½ teaspoon fish sauce
1½ teaspoon sugar
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 kaffir lime leaf, thinly sliced, divided
8 – 10 scallops
Garnishes: finishing salt and fresh lime wedges

Heat a heavy-bottom pan over medium-high heat.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil and curry paste; cook, occasionally stirring, until fragrant and toasted, being careful not to burn.
Add green beans and carrot; stir and cook 1 to 2 minutes, reducing heat if paste starts to burn.
Add coconut cream, fish sauce, sugar, red bell pepper, and half of kaffir lime leaves; stir and cook for 1 minute.
Pat scallops dry with paper towels.
Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet until hot.
Add scallops in a single layer (don’t overcrowd the pan) and sear until golden brown on one side (about 1 ½ minutes).
Turn and place uncooked side in the curry sauce and finish cooking, 1 minute.
Garnish with remaining kaffir lime leaves, finishing salt, and lime wedges, if desired. Serve with jasmine rice.

Have a wonderful weekend!
Karen Alexander, BSND, MSCN

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