World Vitiligo Day: Make These Changes In Your Diet To Tackle Vitiligo
World Vitiligo Day 2018: Since vitiligo is an auto-immune disorder, a healthy diet which boosts the immune system is recommended.
World vitiligo day 2018: Vitiligo or Leucoderma is a common skin condition in which the skin and sometimes even hair develop white patches. This happens because melanocytes, the cells which contain the pigment melanin (responsible for skin colour), get damaged. Vitiligo is considered to be an auto-immune disorder in which the body attacks its own cells. Though current research doesn't fully substantiate the role of diet in the progression of vitiligo, most dermatologists recommend diet changes to slow down the progression of vitiligo. A healthy diet is a pre-requisite for a healthy body, and skin being the largest organ, certainly requires a healthy diet to stay healthy.
Since vitiligo is an auto-immune disorder, a healthy diet which boosts the immune system is recommended.
- A diet rich in nutrients like vitamin B 12, folic acid, minerals like copper, zinc, iron is recommended, as deficiency of these nutrients can compromise the immune system and thus promote white patches. These nutrients can be obtained from egg, green leafy vegetables, dairy, nuts, beans, lentils and poultry. A deficiency of vitamin B12 leads to an increase in homocysteine, a substance which can destroy skin pigments.
- Since antioxidants fight free radical damage, their role in maintaining a healthy skin is well established. So, a diet rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants is highly recommended. These can be obtained from a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Try to include a variety of differently colored seasonal fruits and vegetables.
- The role of vitamin C containing citrus fruits is subject to controversy. Some subscribe to the theory that sour fruits like orange, lemon etc. which contain Vit C must be avoided as they can aggravate the problem; current research doesn't support it fully. Infact being an antioxidant, Vitamin C is essential for healthy skin. Besides citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, guava, bell peppers, amla (Indian gooseberry), cantaloupe are also good sources of vitamin C.
- Some of the foods linked with vitiligo and frequently on the 'to be avoided list' include garlic, raw tomato, alcohol, soda, red meat, seafood, fried and fatty foods, oily and spicy food, junk foods, chocolates, caffeine, sour foods like tamarind, pickles, processed foods which contain a lot of chemicals like sodium bicarbonate, preservatives, artificial colors, flavors etc. as their impact on the immune system may not be well understood and may aggravate the white patches.
- It is important to be mindful of allergies as an allergic reaction can aggravate the patches. Common food allergens that can produce an allergic reaction include gluten, seafood, nuts and milk. Allergens can trigger an immune response which can attack more melanocytes and aggravate existing patches or create new ones.
- Alkaline water or copper infused water is believed to slow down the formation of new patches.
- Besides managing diet, other important things to be kept in mind are adequate hydration, sun protection and using safe skin care products. The prognosis of vitiligo varies from person to person. It may spread slowly or aggressively, it may recede or relapse. It is important for the care takers, family members, peers, friends, relatives and co-workers to be sensitive towards the sufferers.
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