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Psoriasis and the Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet is a popular eating plan inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of Greece, Spain and Southern Italy. It is abundant in fruits, vegetables, legumes, olive oil, whole grains, fish and herbs. The Mediterranean Diet has been linked to a number of interesting health benefits, including improved weight loss, reduced levels of inflammation and better control of blood sugar levels. And, a groundbreaking study published in the Journal of Translational Medicine in 2015 suggests it might even be linked to a reduced risk of psoriasis! To get the full scoop, keep reading.

Study Finds a Link Between Adherence to a Mediterranean-Style Eating Plan and Low Incidence of Psoriasis

Many studies have investigated the impact of individual nutrients on the development of psoriasis, but until 2015, few studies had evaluated the effects of a specific eating pattern, such as the Mediterranean Diet. Eager to change that, a group of researchers from Italy decided to investigate the relationship between adherence to a traditional Mediterranean-style eating pattern and the severity of psoriasis in a cross-sectional observational case-control study.

To conduct their study, the researchers recruited 62 patients with mild-to-severe psoriasis and 62 healthy controls that were matched for age, sex and body mass index (BMI). The psoriasis group only included patients that had suffered from psoriasis for at least six months and that had not received any systemic treatment for their condition, including treatment with acitretin, ciclosporin, methotrexate, phototherapy or biologics for at least three months. Also smokers and alcohol abusers were excluded from this study. To assess adherence to the Mediterranean Diet, the researchers used a 14-item questionnaire, while standardized Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) score and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were used to assess the severity of psoriasis.

The results were exciting: The percentage of people who followed a Mediterranean-style eating pattern was significantly lower in the psoriasis group than in the control group. In particular, the psoriatic patients showed statistically significant differences compared with controls for consumption of the following foods:

  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) – lower consumption among the psoriatic patients
  • Fruits – lower consumption among the psoriatic patients
  • Red or processed meats – higher consumption among the psoriatic patients
  • Fish and seafood – lower consumption among the psoriatic patients
  • Tree nuts – lower consumption among the psoriatic patients

What's more, the PASI score and CRP levels, which were used to assess the severity of psoriasis in this study, were negatively correlated with the consumption of EVOO, fruit, vegetables, legumes, fish and nuts, and positively correlated with the consumption of red and processed meats. Among these food items, EVOO and fish were independent predictors of PASI score and CRP levels, respectively.

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Book You May Like
Mediterranean Diet BookIn The Complete Mediterranean Diet, Michael Ozner, MD, shares his deep knowledge of the science behind the wide-ranging health benefits of the so-called Mediterranean Diet. In addition to providing convincing arguments why you should switch to the Mediterranean Diet, this nearly 600-page book is jam-packed with classic Mediterranean recipes. To learn more, or to order your copy today, head to Amazon.