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Are Nuts Good or Bad for Psoriasis Sufferers?

Some people with psoriasis are convinced that eating nuts is bad for them and that even a small amount of nuts can set off a flare-up. On the other hand, nuts may help reduce chronic inflammation in people who are not allergic or sensitive to them, and as psoriasis is an inflammatory disorder, foods that can fight chronic inflammation are typically considered good for psoriasis patients. To get the details, keep reading.

Why Eating Nuts is Bad for Some Psoriasis Sufferers...

In some people, psoriasis flare-ups may be caused or exacerbated by allergies or intolerances to specific foods, including tree nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews and pistachios) and peanuts. In fact, along with dairy, eggs and a few other foods, tree nuts and peanuts are among the most allergenic foods in the United States. If you have a true tree nut or peanut allergy, you are probably already aware of your condition as the symptoms are usually easy to identify and often severe; however, if you are only mildly intolerant or sensitive to nuts, you might not be aware of the problem. A qualified health care professional, or in many cases a knowledgeable nutritionist, can help you identify food allergies and intolerances.

...and Why it Might Be Good for Others?

If your psoriasis flare-ups don't seem to be linked to the consumption of nuts or foods containing nuts, it is probably a good idea to include these little goodies in your anti-psoriasis diet. This is because nuts generally appear to be anti-inflammatory, an observation that has been documented in a number of studies, including a cross-sectional study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology and another cross-sectional study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Both of these studies found an inverse association between nut intake and levels of inflammatory markers [1, 2].

Also many studies investigating the effects of specific nuts on inflammation have shown promising results. For example, one study found that ingestion of Brazil nuts was associated with a long-term decrease in inflammatory markers in healthy volunteers, while another study associated hazelnut-enriched diets with lower levels of the inflammatory marker CRP [3, 4].

The anti-inflammatory properties of nuts may come as a surprise for many people since most nuts contain much more omega-6 fatty acids, which tend to be pro-inflammatory [5], than omega-3 fatty acids which are famous for their anti-inflammatory properties. So, why then are nuts generally anti-inflammatory in spite of their less than optimal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio?

The answer is actually quite simple: nuts are not only made of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, but they also contain tons of other compounds, many of which have anti-inflammatory properties. Here's a round-up of some of the most common anti-inflammatory compounds found in tree nuts:

Monounsaturated Fats

Most nuts commonly consumed in the United States and the UK – including Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans and pistachios – contain high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids, particularly oleic acid [6]. Preliminary evidence suggests that oleic acid can reduce biomarkers of inflammation [7], and the extremely high levels of oleic acid found in avocados are often used to explain why avocados, despite being low in omega-3, seem to be anti-inflammatory.

Omega-3 Fats (Abundant in Walnuts and Inca Peanuts)

Although nuts generally don't contain high levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, there are a couple of exceptions. The walnut, for example, is considered one of the best sources of plant-based omega-3's. Another, less common example is the Inca peanut, better known as sacha inchi, though technically it is a seed. Due to its exceptionally high omega-3 content and purported health benefits, sacha inchi has been cultivated and used in South America for thousands of years, and in recent years, it has also started to pop up in health food stores in North America and Europe.


Tocopherols (Vitamin E)

Most nuts are packed with vitamin E, either in the form of alpha-tocopherol or gamma-tocopherol. Alpha-tocopherol, which is abundant in almonds, hazelnuts and pine nuts, has been shown to exert anti-inflammatory effects through multiple mechanisms, including decreasing levels of CRP and pro-inflammatory cytokines and inhibiting the activity of certain enzymes involved in inflammatory processes. Also gamma-tocopherol – a type of vitamin E abundant in cashews, pecans, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pine nuts and pistachios – has been shown to exert anti-inflammatory activities in some laboratory and animal studies. [8]

Other Anti-Inflammatory Nutrients

There are also many other nutrients that may contribute to the anti-inflammatory properties of tree nuts. A study published in the journal Circulation, for example, found that people with lower levels of vitamin B6 – found in high amounts in most nuts – had higher levels of CRP [9]. And the protein and fiber in nuts promote satiety, which in turn may help combat obesity. In addition to being a well-known risk factor for chronic inflammation, obesity has also been directly linked to psoriasis, and research suggests that losing weight helps fight psoriasis.

For More on Diet & Psoriasis
Make it a habit to visit'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 patients. It also contains a weekly smoothie recipe featuring ingredients with psoriasis-fighting potential, as well as a book tip.   Visit Home Page

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Book You May Like
Dr. John Pagano has gained international fame with his groundbreaking book, Healing Psoriasis (available here), in which he presents an all-natural regimen designed to control psoriasis symptoms without drugs or ultraviolet treatments. Dr. John's Healing Psoriasis Cookbook is the indispensable companion book to Healing Psoriasis. Weighing in at nearly 600 pages, this extraordinary cookbook provides over 300 kitchen-tested recipes designed for people suffering from psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis or eczema, plus plenty of general nutritional information and advice. To learn more about this cookbook, or to order your copy, head to, or