“I’m trapped by my own skin.”
That’s how a good friend of mine describes her life with psoriasis.
The skin condition affects every aspect of her life, from how she feels about herself to the clothes she wears. In fact, you’ll never catch her in shorts, even on hot summer days, because she doesn’t want anyone to see the patches on her legs.
And while the red, scaly skin that comes with psoriasis might seem like the worst thing the skin condition could possibly dish out, according to two recent studies, there could be even bigger problems in store for people who suffer from the chronic condition.
If you haven’t heard it already, people with psoriasis are at a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In fact, a study last year out of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that people with psoriasis covering 10 percent or more of their body are 64 percent more likely to develop diabetes than those without psoriasis, independent of all other risk factors.
The researchers found that when the study’s findings were applied to the number of people who have psoriasis worldwide it equates to 125,650 new cases of diabetes attributable to psoriasis per year.
Yet they didn’t really know why the skin condition could lead to blood sugar problems other than that the inflammation that goes hand-in-hand with psoriasis could also promote insulin resistance.
That’s where scientists from King’s College London come in…
They used animal and human skin models to look for changes caused by psoriasis that actually influence the development of diabetes.
And the researchers were able to prove that mice with psoriasis show changes indicative of insulin resistance such as a decrease in glucose uptake capacity in fat tissue under the skin and increased insulin production from insulin producing cells.
Here’s where it gets really interesting…
Similar alterations were seen in fat and pancreatic cells outside the body when exposed to the culture liquid used to support inflamed skin samples.
According to the researchers, this suggests that inflamed skin releases chemical signals to cause the changes that lead to diabetes.
In other words, if your skin is inflamed, like when you’re living with psoriasis, it’s actually pumping out diabetes-causing chemical messages!
If you’re one of the 7.5 million Americans who suffer from psoriasis, your key to avoiding blood sugar problems is to reduce your inflammation levels.
#1 — Embrace an anti-inflammatory diet
According to Harvard Medical School, “One of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes not from the pharmacy, but from the grocery store.”
The wrong foods will skyrocket your inflammation and your health risks while the right ones could help you clear your skin and avoid diabetes.
Foods that promote inflammation and should be avoided include:
• Fried foods
• Processed meats
• Refined carbohydrates
• Trans fats
Inflammation-busting foods that should make up the bulk of your diet are:
• Fatty fish — These include sardines, salmon and mackerel. You can also take a high-quality fish oil.
• Green leafy vegetables — Collards, spinach and kale are great choices because they’re packed with vitamin K and loaded with antioxidants that protect you from inflammation.
• Fruits — Like the vegetables above, fruits such as strawberries, cherries, blueberries and oranges deliver the antioxidants your body needs to overcome inflammation. To boost your antioxidant levels even more for the ultimate in anti-inflammatory power, add in a daily resveratrol and superfruits supplement.
• Olive oil — A key part of that health-boosting Mediterranean Diet we all hear so much about, olive oil offers an important antioxidant known as oleocanthal.
• Nuts — Studies have shown that nuts like walnuts and almonds are associated with lower markers for inflammation and could reduce your risk of diabetes.
#2 — Exercise regularly
A huge study of over 4,200 men and women over a period of 10 years found that people who get at least 2.5 hours each week of physical activity lower their inflammation markers by at least 12 percent compared to their more sedentary peers.
#3 — Up your D
Low levels of the sunshine vitamin are not only associated with higher levels of inflammation but also worsening psoriasis symptoms.
Get your levels tested and make daily time outdoors and a D3 supplement a priority.
Don’t let the skin inflammation that comes with psoriasis trap you in your own skin or lead to diabetes. Fight the dangerous condition using the three easy steps above for clearer skin and better blood sugar.