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World Vitiligo Day 2021: List Of Foods Which People With Vitiligo Should Eat And Avoid

World Vitiligo Day is celebrated every year on June 25 to create awareness about this long-term and disfiguring autoimmune condition that causes pale white patches on the skin.

The day is also meant to educate people and their families on vitiligo, raise money for research and free skin examinations, educate patients on how to best take care of their skin and psychological health and ultimately, reduce the social stigma attached to this dermatological disorder.

Vitiligo is a skin disease caused by the lack of melanin, a pigment that gives skin and hair their natural colours. It occurs when melanin-producing cells die or stop functioning well. Some studies say that genetic and nutritional deficiencies could also be the main causes of the condition. [1]

Vitiligo can affect people of all skin types and appear on any body part, especially the face, hands and neck. It does not cause much discomfort to the skin and is non-contagious.

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Diet plays a vital role in maintaining the good health of people with vitiligo by boosting their immune system and fulfilling nutritional deficiencies, whose dysfunction are the major causes of vitiligo. Also, a good wholesome diet can help avert the progression of the disease and promote repigmentation, leading to normal skin colour.

In this article, we will discuss foods to eat and avoid for people with vitiligo. Take a look.

Diet And Vitiligo

According to studies, there are no vitiligo-specific diets studied to date. However, as it is an autoimmune disorder that involves interplay between oxidative stress and the immune system, the consumption of antioxidant-rich foods are considered beneficial for people with vitiligo.

The free oxygen radicals in the body tend to bleach the melanin of the skin and cause damage to the cells. The antioxidants inhibit this reaction, protect the melanin-producing cells and any damage to the skin.

Some of the antioxidant vitamins include vitamin A, C and E, while antioxidant minerals include zinc and selenium. Other nutrients supported by anecdotal evidence include polyphenols, folic acid, iron, beta-carotene, vitamin D, copper and proteins. [2]

Foods To Eat In Vitiligo

1. Fruits

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Guavas
  • Ripe mangoes
  • Apricots
  • Figs
  • Avocados
  • Watermelon

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2. Vegetables

  • Kale
  • Potato
  • Red Chilli
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Green Beans
  • Bitter Gourd
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Crimini mushroom and coffee coloured mushrooms

3. Legumes

  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney beans
  • lentils

4. Dried Fruits

  • Dried figs
  • Dates

5. Herbs

  • Ashwagandha
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • rosemary

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Foods To Be Consumed Occasionally

These foods should be consumed once or twice a week, only if your vitiligo is mildly spread.

  • Chicken (lean meats like chicken breast).
  • Eggs
  • Ice-cream
  • Dairy products

Foods To Avoid In Vitiligo

  • Alcohol [3]
  • Turmeric
  • Blueberries
  • Gooseberries
  • Curds
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Grapes
  • Pickles
  • Orange
  • Red Meats
  • Brinjal
  • Pomegranate
  • Fermented foods
  • Pears
  • Raw tomatoes
  • Raw garlic
  • Raw onion
  • Papaya
  • Tamarind
  • Junk foods
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate-based food items

Note: Mostly avoid foods that are sour, citric or acidic in nature. Also, stay away from artificial food colours and soda bicarbonate drinks.

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Some Important Tips

  • Drink water: Drinking water in a copper vessel is considered beneficial for people with vitiligo, as shown in some studies. However, avoid drinking in excess as it may cause hepatic problems.
  • Vitamin D: According to a study, low levels of vitamin D are often observed in people with vitiligo. Therefore, to ensure that your diet contains a rich amount of vitamin D, do not totally avoid the sunlight. You may include some vitamin D rich foods such as egg yolks and seafood from the restricted list after consulting your doctor. [4]
  • Gluten-free diet: It is recommended to include a gluten-free diet in your meal. Some anecdotal studies say that a gluten-free diet can ease symptoms of vitiligo to a large extent. [5]
  • Organic diet: It is advisable for vitiligo patients to eat everything organic. It may be more expensive, but it ensures that no pesticides will enter your body and cause harmful reactions and exaggerate your condition.
  • Oral supplements: Some oral supplements like those of Ginkgo biloba and omega-3 fatty acids might prove to be effective in the treatment of vitiligo. [6]

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To Conclude

Though the link between diet and vitiligo is not properly established to date, there are many anecdotal studies and personal experiences of people that explain why some foods are restricted for people with vitiligo and some are allowed.

Also, vitiligo is different in affected people due to the difference in the immune systems. Some people may be severely affected by some restricted foods while some may develop only mild or no changes in the skin.

It is always good to consult a medical expert or a dietician and understand your dietary limitations.