Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic skin condition that causes the development of painful bumps under the skin. Foods can have a significant effect on people with HS. The first thing that an individual should know is that each of them has a different body mechanism. Therefore, if a particular diet regimen works for a certain person, it does not mean that it should work for you. There isn’t any particular diet recommended for the treatment of HS. You need to look out for foods that are causing flare-ups by eliminating them and then slowly reintroducing them.
Basically, foods causing inflammation or triggering an inflammatory response in bodies are somewhat accountable for HS. Hence, it is an ideal option to eliminate foods that increase oxidative stress, and thus inflammation, in the body.
- Sugary foods: Consumption of foods high in sugar content can increase the blood glucose level, leading to HS flare-ups.
- High fat and processed red meat (hot dog, sausage, and bacon): Saturated fat, which is abundantly present in processed meat, is a significant cause of inflammation.
- Dairy products such as cow’s milk, cheese, cottage cheese, buttermilk, and butter: These food items contain lots of saturated fats, resulting in inflammation. They can also increase certain hormone levels that may cause HS. Studies have reported that people who had a dairy-free diet had fewer HS flare-ups.
- French fries, fried chicken, and other fried foods: Deep fried foods can lead to an imbalance between omega-6s and omega-3s, resulting in inflammation.
- Wheat, rye, and barley: These contain gluten that may cause an autoimmune inflammatory reaction in some people.
- Alcohol: Research has shown that eliminating alcohol has limited flare-ups in people with HS.
- Brewer’s yeast: Studies have shown that brewer’s yeast may trigger your immune system and cause HS. More evidence is required to prove the same. However, it is best to avoid food that has brewer’s yeast, including:
Some of the most effective diets in reducing HS flare-ups include:
- Mediterranean diet: A diet comprising fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, fish, seafood, and extra virgin olive oil has shown to have fewer HS flare-ups.
- Plant-based diet such as a vegan or vegetarian diet: The human gut consists of trillion of microbes that strive to keep us healthy. The more diverse the microbes are, the healthier an individual is. Plant-based diets provide diversified microorganisms.
- Anti-inflammatory diets: Inflammation is the natural defense mechanism of the body to any foreign substance that it considers harmful. Inflammation, if unresolved by the body, can destroy healthy cells. Foods that reduce inflammation, known as anti-inflammatory foods, can lessen the severity of inflammation and lower the risk of HS flare-ups. Moreover, supplements such as vitamin D and zinc reduce HS flare-ups. It is essential to contact your physician before taking these supplements for HS treatment.
What is HS?
Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease characterized by painful lumps and pus formation in the areas with higher friction, such as:
- Under your arms
- In your groin
- Between your buttocks
- Between your thighs
- Under your breasts
- In the folds of your stomach
- On the nape of your neck
- Behind your ears
However, unlike these conditions, HS is incurable, and the lesions will
- Often refill.
- Not be healed.
- Leave behind scars.
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