Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition characterized by patches of red, raised, and scaly skin. Once it begins scaling the skin can take on a silvery look. It does seem to have some hereditary links, but symptoms often don’t appear until adulthood. Psoriasis does not usually itch, but can cause discomfort and embarrassment. Areas most commonly affected are arms, elbows, behind the ears, scalp, back, legs, and knees. It may be triggered by prolonged stress, a traumatic event, food intolerances, essential fatty acid deficiencies, low stomach acid levels, constipation, liver congestion and vitamin B complex deficiencies. It is also linked to Candida- the yeast fungal overgrowth that results from overuse of antibiotics, and eating too many sugary, yeasty foods. Many people with psoriasis may have poor liver function, as skin problems can denote that the liver is under stress in which case you need to see a qualified nutritionist who can advise the best way to de-toxify the liver ( which basically means eating less food! – especially fats, alcohol, white foods and any fried foods. Keep your diet clean for a few days – salads, fruit, vegetables, brown rice etc and drink plenty of water. In other words give your liver a holiday).

Foods to Avoid:

Eliminate wheat and any food containing wheat for one month and see if this helps. Citrus fruits and tomatoes are a problem for many sufferers. Cut down on saturated and hydrogenated fats, especially red meat, mass produced vegetable oils, take aways, mass produced burgers, red meat, cakes, pastries, pies and full fat dairy produce. It is likely that you are eating too many of the above foods which are all acid forming in the body. Keep a food diary and see when you itch- recall what you ate the day before and this may be your answer. As much as possible eliminate alcohol. Cut down on sugary foods and drinks.

Friendly Foods:

Eat as great a variety of fresh foods as possible. Consume fish high in omega 3 fatty acids: salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring and tuna at least twice a week. Eat more brown rice, millet and buckwheat. Eat more pectin rich foods such as apples and carrots. Greatly increase your intake of whole fruits and vegetables. Figs, prunes, kiwi and papaya are all great for the skin. Add unrefined, organic walnut, sunflower, sesame and olive oils to salad dressings and drizzle over cooked foods. Use organic rice and light soya milks instead of cow’s milk. Pumpkin seeds, linseeds and sunflower seeds are all high in zinc and essential fats. Begin making fresh vegetable juices with beetroot, artichoke, carrots and apples or any vegetables you have to hand – add to this a teaspoon of green food powder which helps to re-alkalise the body , 20 drops of dandelion and milk thistle tincture and half a cup of organic aloe vera juice to cleanse the liver – and drink immediately upon juicing.

Useful Remedies:

Evening primrose oil 5-10 grams or linseed oil capsules 3-5 grams per day- will help to reduce the inflammation of psoriasis. Take a high strength B complex that contains 400mcg of folic acid and 100mg of B6 which are often low in people with this condition. B12 injections have proved helpful to many people. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids – 2 grams daily to help reduce the inflammation. Take a multi vitamin/mineral that contains at least 30-40mg of zinc. Betaine hydrochloride (Stomach acid) is often useful, 1 capsule with main meals aids digestion and absorption of nutrients. If you have active stomach ulcers take a digestive enzyme instead. For one month take 25,000iu of vitamin A and then reduce to 5000iu daily (this amount should be in your multi). If you are pregnant do not take more than 5,000 iu of vitamin A a day. There has been extensive research into the healing properties of the plant Mahonia Aquifolium in Psoriasis. It is available as cream, ointment, shampoo, conditioner, scalp oil and body lotion. For details ask at your health shop or visit web site:

Helpful Hints:

Sea bathing is beneficial for psoriasis. Many sufferers find relief after bathing in Dead Sea salt because of its high mineral contents. Add 2lb to your bath and soak for ten minutes. Homeopathic Ars-iod 6x taken twice daily for a few weeks is particularly good for dry scaly, itching skin. Moderate sun exposure also helps psoriasis, but remember to wear a hypoallergenic sunscreen. Smokers run a greater risk of psoriasis. Hope all these ideas prove helpful – but if you need to see a qualified nutritionist call the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London and ask for your nearest practitioner. 020 8877 9993