Anxiety about the coronavirus health emergency can trigger or worsen the disease. Find out what to bring to the table
There are 2.5 million Italians suffering from psoriasis, an autoimmune and inflammatory skin disease, with a chronic and relapsing trend, which manifests itself with the appearance of reddish patches, well delimited by clear margins. As psoriasis progresses, the patches may merge and become covered with silvery-white scales.
According to recent estimates, 77% of psoriasis sufferers also suffer from anxiety disorders. And emotional stress, which in full Coronavirus emergency makes itself felt even more, is among the triggers of the disease and, at the same time, is also able to worsen it. But how is it possible to counter the effects of this vicious circle?
Help from nutrition
The answer may surprisingly come from the table. Eating well, with quality and balance, choosing the right foods and knowing how to prepare them at best, can represent a real lifeline for those suffering from chronic diseases favored by psychological fragility and a strong environmental imbalance.
"Especially in this particularly difficult moment, eating correctly can be of great help for those suffering from psoriasis" explains Valeria Corazza, president of APIAFCO (Associazione Psoriasici Italiani Amici della Fondazione Corazza, which to help psoriasis patients has launched the mini Food and Wellness encyclopedia consisting of 8 volumes available for free on the association's website).
"Psoriasis is a disease that among its triggers also includes metabolic alterations, such as diabetes, alcohol abuse and cigarette smoking. In short, bad habits at the table contribute to the worsening of symptoms, especially if combined with environmental factors of particular anxiety and stress such as the one we are experiencing ".
Rule number one? Maintain a healthy body weight
“Compared to the rest of the population – explains prof. Enzo Spisni, Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna – patients with psoriasis show a higher prevalence of obesity and metabolic syndrome, two conditions also characterized by an important chronic inflammatory state. In fact, inflammation seems to be the link between psoriasis and obesity, two disorders that are often closely linked to each other ".
This is also confirmed by a study conducted within the Italian Group of Epidemiological Studies in Dermatology (GISED), which highlighted not only the existence of a relationship between body weight and the severity of psoriasis, but also has a protective effect of a dietary regimen. low in animal fats and rich in fresh fruit and vegetables.
“A good adherence to the true Mediterranean Diet – continues prof. Spisni – could be the key to counteracting both, thanks to its characteristic dietary approach with anti-inflammatory action. It is for this reason that it is now believed that diet can play an important role in psoriasis, both in a negative and a positive sense. In particular, it has been proven that in people suffering from psoriasis a high adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with less severe symptoms ".
But what are the main foods and nutrients to rely on to stay healthy? Definitely fish, legumes and foods rich in fiber and polyunsaturated fatty acids such as omega 3. Pasta, bread and carbohydrates from traditional and ancient grains (due to a less structured and more digestible gluten) and wholemeal. Meat in moderation is better white.
But it is above all fruit and vegetables that are the masters, rich in nutrients able to counteract inflammatory processes. Among these there are some that in the case of psoriasis and other inflammatory diseases are real Fighter Foods, capable of having beneficial effects on particular functions of the body, improving the state of well-being.
Avocado, rich in fiber, good fats, vitamins and potassium. But also cabbage, with its extraordinary nutritional and therapeutic properties. Broccoli, highly effective natural antioxidants, rich in iron and zinc and vitamins. Then there is the cabbage, an antioxidant plant with a high amount of vitamins E and C, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. Finally, turnip greens, a protective food against severe pathologies thanks to its antioxidant properties and the rich content of fiber, minerals, iron, calcium, vitamins A, C, K and B and magnesium.
These foods also contribute to strengthening the immune system, a fundamental action especially in this period during which the Covid-19 emergency is associated with the return of the cold season and flu syndromes.