Most people know that what they eat has a direct impact on their overall health. When you are at the best weight range for your gender and height you have more energy, feel healthier and stronger, and have more confidence and self-esteem. A healthy and nutritious diet is a powerful thing. And when you are living with HS or hidradenitis suppurativa, diet can play a huge role for some people. Finding a balanced hidradenitis suppurativa diet is not going to cure you. But it can help reduce symptoms, manage how often they flare-up better, and leave you feeling better able to manage them. The kind of dietary choices and changes you make depends on your preferences and situation but here are some ideas to get you started.
1) Losing weight
Losing weight is not easy. When you are dealing with pain and symptoms that leave you sometimes hating your body, switching to foods to try and lose weight is even harder. But with HS it has been shown that while your weight is not a causing factor of HS itself, it does worsen the symptoms. If you want to reduce those flare-ups and lesions, losing weight is a great start. Even shedding just 10% to 15% of your body weight can have a large impact on the severity of the lesions. Eat fewer calories than you burn off each day and the weight will come off. Start by making smaller changes like reducing your portion size, eating more fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
2) Choose foods that are good for fighting inflammation
There is some talk about the fact that since this is an inflammatory disease, eating an anti-inflammatory hidradenitis suppurativa diet can help. That means foods like kale, fatty fish, nuts and seeds, and turmeric. Inflammation is not completely a bad thing as it is an import part of your immune system's reaction to invaders. But when your inflammation becomes chronic, that is a problem.
3) Avoid certain foods that are pro inflammatory
Foods to avoid include things like refined carbohydrates so white bread, white pasta, as well as sodas, foods full of added sugars, processed foods and junk food. You can eat meat but reduce how much and only eat lean meat. Reduce saturated fats and increase unsaturated fats in your hidradenitis suppurativa diet.
4) Find and eat foods that are good for the properties of wound healing
Some nutrients are good for healthy skin and for wound healing. Arginine which is found in lean proteins like turkey and chicken as well as pumpkin seeds and peanuts, for example, is an amino acid that boosts the accumulation of collagen which could help with wound healing. Look for foods too that have selenium, and Vitamins C and A as they have antioxidant properties.
With a balanced and well thought out hidradenitis suppurativa diet that is full of whole foods and is nutrient-rich, many people with HS have success to some degree in the management of their symptoms.