How To Use The Diet for Help Treat Vitiligo
Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition that causes your skin to lose pigmentation, resulting in discolored skin patches. While it isn’t contagious or life-threatening, it can make you self-conscious and impact your quality of life. The condition happens when your cells that make melanin, which helps color your skin and hair, stop producing it. While you cannot prevent vitiligo, there are steps you can take to limit the condition and treat your patches.
People suffering from vitiligo may have to consume a special diet to prevent worsening of their skin condition or to overcome nutritional deficiencies.
Since vitiligo is an autoimmune disease, it is prudent to eat a diet that is rich in phytochemicals, beta-carotene, and antioxidants. Such a diet will boost the immune system and promote healthy skin, and may pave the way for repigmentation of the skin.
If you have vitiligo, avoid consuming pears and blueberries. These fruits are natural sources of hydroquinones, which are known to have depigmentation properties.
Some people also face problems with citrus fruits, while others may find turmeric, which is used as a seasoning in foods, causing problems.
Hence, if you fall under these categories, you should avoid citrus fruits or turmeric.
Some people prefer to avoid red meats and dairy products. However, there is no scientific evidence to back this. If you have an underlying allergy to dairy, you should avoid it as it may adversely affect your vitiligo.
Foods To Eat
As mentioned earlier, there is no real vitiligo diet per se. However, you should look at supporting your condition by following a balanced and nutritious diet.
Fruits : Fig, apricot, and ripe mango.
Vegetables : Try to consume a plant-centric diet comprising of spinach, beetroot, carrot, potato, cabbage, radish, cauliflower, red chili, bitter gourd, and green beans. Make sure a major bulk of your diet consists of these vegetables, as long as you do not find it difficult to digest them.
Protein : In case you yearn for animal products, opt for chicken breast, lean cuts of turkey, wild fish, and organic eggs. It is best to cook them lightly. For vegans, stick to kidney beans, chickpeas, mushroom, and lentils.
Dairy : Dairy products can be consumed. However, depending on the level of the condition, some patients are advised to completely avoid dairy products.
Whole Grains : Oats, brown rice, white rice, couscous, quinoa, and corn.
Supplements : You may have vitamin B12, protein, calcium, minerals, and DHA deficiencies. Hence, take supplements to overcome these deficiencies. Consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
Beverages : Allowed vegetable and fruit juices, and coconut water .
Herbs & Spices : Rosemary, thyme, basil, coriander leaves , clove, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Foods To Avoid
Fruits : Gooseberry, orange, nectarine, prune, peach, pineapple, lemon, lime, melon, watermelon, grapes, papaya, guava, grapefruit, pear, tamarind, and any fruit that has a good amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C inhibits the formation of pigments. Therefore, avoid consuming it.
Vegetables : Eggplant, tomato, green chili, onion, and garlic..
Protein : Beef, pork, and fish.
Dairy : Milk, curd, and buttermilk..
Beverages : Carbonated and sweetened drinks, packaged fruit juices, coffee, vitamin C-rich fresh fruit juices, and alcohol.
Spices : Turmeric
Others : Avoid oily, spicy, processed, packaged, and canned foods. Avoid consuming wafers, pickles, and chocolates.
Overcoming Nutritional Deficiencies
Researchers have found that people suffering from vitiligo often have a deficiency of vitamin B12 and certain minerals, such as zinc and copper. You should get your vitamin levels checked. And if there is a deficit, speak to your doctor about taking supplements or overcoming the deficiencies through foods rich in those vitamins.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in soy milk, fish, shellfish, dairy products, and meat. If you have folate and zinc deficiency, include leafy green vegetables, fruits, peas, dried beans, legumes, and nuts in your daily diet.
Role Of Exercise
Regular exercise triggers the mood enhancing hormones. This will help you stay positive as you take measures to cure and prevent vitiligo from spreading further through diet and medication. Power yoga, meditation, dancing, and playing a sport will help you feel good about your body and prevent anxiety or depression from weighing you down.