Vitiligo Diet: What to Eat and What to Avoid

If you or someone you know suffers from vitiligo, then you understand how traumatic, difficult to treat, and embarrassing this skin condition can be. It’s characterized by white irregular patches on different parts of the body. The most commonly affected areas include hands, face, neck, armpits, and legs. This disorder occurs when melanin-producing cells, melanocytes, are destroyed.vitiligo_hands In certain cases, these melanocytes do not get destroyed completely, which makes it easier to restore one’s color.

There’s no real cure for this condition, but it’s possible to slow down the pigment loss, or even stop the spread completely. One way to do so is through a vitiligo diet. What you eat has a great impact on the aggressiveness of the condition. Knowing what is good for you and what you should avoid will go a long way in helping you control the extent and spread of this disease. So here are the foods to eat and avoid.

Foods to Eat

First of all, as a vitiligo patient, you are advised to always drink lots of water to help keep your skin hydrated. Besides water, concentrate on these foods:

Foods Rich in Vitamin B-12

Regular eating of foods with high amounts of vitamin B-12 may help relieve the symptoms of vitiligo. This is according to a research published in 2011 in the Journal of Clinical Laboratory Analysis, which indicated that deficiency in vitamin B-12 increases homocysteine, a compound which plays a role in destroying pigment in some areas of the body. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you boost your intake of vitamin B-12 to help improve your condition. Examples of foods to take include liver, soy milk, salmon, yogurt, trout, clams, as well as haddock. You can also get the vitamin from meat, fish and some dairy products, but there are not recommended (find out why in the “foods to avoid” section).

Foods Rich in Folic Acid

Studies have revealed that low levels of folate contribute to pigment loss. Therefore, increasing your intake of foods rich in folic acid can help manage the disease. Examples of foods to take include broccoli, spinach, asparagus, black-eyed peas, as well as breakfast cereals.

Additionally, broccoli and spinach contain phytochemicals that help lower homocysteine (a compound that destroys melanin) levels in the blood. As a result, these foods prevent cell degeneration and help protect the skin.

Also, consider adding oats to your vitiligo diet, if you’re not already taking them. Oats not only protect the skin but also improve digestion, thanks to its high amount of fiber.

Foods Rich in Zinc

Consuming foods with high amounts of zinc can also improve the condition. That is according to a study published in 2009 in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, which suggested that zinc supplementation can help cure vitiligo. Excellent sources of zinc include oysters, lobsters, crab, pork, chicken, nuts, as well as dried beans and peas.

Foods Rich in Vitamin C, Iron, Beta-carotene and Anti-oxidants

Foods high in vitamin C, iron, beta-carotene, and anti-oxidants are very good for you. The examples include spinach, carrots, tomatoes, kiwi, strawberries, cantaloupes, grapefruits, and potatoes among others. Make sure that you have a lot of tomatoes because tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful anti-oxidant and excellent source of vitamin C. However, be careful not to overcook any of these food items, as it destroys their nutrients and power.

Foods to Avoid

Frankly speaking, there’s no scientific evidence to prove that the foods below are bad for a vitiligo patient. However, some people have reported that their condition worsened while on them, so it’s better to avoid or at least cut down on the following foods.

Spices and Artificial Food Colors

Avoid artificial colors added during food preparations, as well as spices (especially turmeric), as they might make your condition worse.

Fruits Containing Hydroquinone

You may already be aware of hydroquinone, the main depigmenting agent in skin bleaching creams. Well, hydroquinone is also found in certain fruits, such as pears and blueberries. Since hydroquinone, reduces melanin production, taking these fruits could make your white patches even whiter.

Excessively Sour Foods

Fruits like lemons, limes and others that are excessively sour can make this disorder worse. Besides, they contain ascorbic acid which lightens the skin, so eating them might worsen your vitiligo.

Non-vegetable Foods

Lastly, cut down on non-vegetable foods like fish, red meat, dairy products and all the high-calorie fatty and sugary foods. Why? Because some bodies misread them as foreign bodies and fight them, causing adverse reactions including vitiligo.

In conclusion, there may be no cure for vitiligo but it still possible to live a normal, healthy and productive life with it. Start by eating the right foods indicated above to help you cope with the condition better.