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Can Citrus Fruits Trigger Psoriasis and Eczema?

Citrus Fruits

Some people with psoriasis are convinced that citrus fruits like lemons, limes and grapefruits can aggravate their psoriasis or eczema symptoms. What's more, in a letter published in The Western Journal of Medicine, Dr. John Douglass reported having successfully treated psoriasis patients with a diet that eschewed citrus fruits, tomatoes, soda and pineapple, as well as nuts, milk and corn [1]. Also Dr. John Pagano, the author of Healing Psoriasis, recommends in his bestselling book that people with psoriatic arthritis and eczema avoid citrus fruits and citrus fruit juices (he does not, however, advise people who only suffer from psoriasis to avoid citrus).

Now, despite all the anecdotal reports, there is no scientific proof that citrus fruits are a universal trigger for people with psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis or eczema, and in fact many people suffering from these chronic conditions can eat citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges without any problems. That, however, is hardly news as food sensitivities and intolerances that vary from person to person are believed to be capable of triggering psoriasis and eczema flare-ups [2]. If you discover that something that you eat or drink triggers or aggravates your symptoms, listen to your body and cut it from your diet.

How to Find Out Whether Citrus Fruits Trigger Your Psoriasis or Eczema Flare-Ups

One of the cheapest and most reliable ways to find out if citrus fruits are a trigger food for you is to complete an elimination diet, followed by reintroductions. A well-designed elimination diet for psoriasis sufferers cuts out all of the most common allergenic and psoriasis-triggering foods and emphasizes healthy, unprocessed foods that help heal the gut (this is crucial as a condition called "leaky gut", or abnormal intestinal permeability, has been linked to both psoriasis and eczema) [3, 4]. After the food elimination phase, you begin slowly and systematically reintroducing foods (or food groups) one at a time, while monitoring your body for possible reactions. After you have tested every potential trigger food, you will be able to tell which foods aggravate your condition.

Before attempting to uncover your trigger foods through an elimination diet, it is a good idea to seek professional guidance from your family doctor, a certified dietitian or nutritionist, or a knowledgeable naturopathic doctor. Cutting out a wide range of foods for a period of several weeks means you risk not getting enough calories and nutrients from a sufficient variety of foods, and that's where a professional can help. What's more, it is easy to make false conclusions about what is causing the adverse reactions if you don't have help.

If Citrus Fruits Are Not the Causing the Problem...

If it turns out that citrus fruits do not trigger your psoriasis or eczema flare-ups, there's no need to avoid these juicy fruits. Eating a wide variety of healthy, well-tolerated foods is good for anyone, including people suffering from inflammatory skin conditions. What's more, citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and limes are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C. Antioxidants have been researched for their ability to provide benefits for people with psoriasis, and although the results have been inconclusive, there is some evidence suggesting that antioxidants might offer some benefits for psoriasis sufferers. Finally, citrus fruits are relatively low in calories compared with other fruits, which is great news if you have some extra pounds. Obesity has been directly linked to psoriasis, and research suggests that losing weight may help fight psoriasis.

For More on Diet & Psoriasis
Make it a habit to visit HealWithFood.org's online Guide to Healing Psoriasis on a regular basis. Updated once a week, the sidebar on the home page of the guide contains tons of links to interesting diet-related articles hand-picked for psoriasis sufferers. It also contains a weekly smoothie recipe featuring ingredients with psoriasis-fighting potential, and a book tip.   Visit Page

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Book You May Like
Drawing upon cutting-edge research and her own battle with autoimmunity, scientist and New York Times bestselling author Sarah Ballantyne has developed a Paleo-based elimination diet specifically designed for people with autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis. Outlined in her book The Paleo Approach, Ballantyne's diet not only cuts out allergenic and pro-inflammatory foods but it also emphasizes foods that help heal tissues damaged by autoimmunity. In addition to explaining how eating certain foods and avoiding others can help put autoimmune diseases into remission, this 400-plus page tome provides expert tips on how to "go Paleo" easily and economically. To learn more, or to order a copy, click here.