Saturday, April 14, 2012

Are you on Acid?

I found acid foods to be a big contributor to my psoriasis. The main culprits seemed to be citrus, pineapples and tomotoes. I found that I could take these things in small quantities but not on a continuous basis. A slice or two of tomato in a salad is OK but don't have pineapple or a glass of orange juice the same day. I changed over to drinking apple and other juices instead of orange juice.

This all happened in Cape Town, where the pineapples seem to be particularly acid. Here in Virginia Beach the pineapples are sweeter and don't seem to be anywhere near as acid. My body seems able to tolerate these pineapples in greater quantities without a psoriasis break-out. My wife used to get mouth ulcers from the Cape Town pineapples but doesn't from the pineapples in Virginia Beach.

I am a lover of tomato bredie, which is a traditional South African dish that is high in tomato content. It is a stew of tomatoes, potatoes and mutton or beef over a bed of rice and is very delicious, a great meal for a cold winter evening. I now use pork in my bredies and stews to help my skin. When I cook a stew-type meal I normally cook enough for an extra serving, which I cover and refrigerate to have for lunch another day. If it is tomato bredie and I have it the next day I feel the effects through itching but don't have that reaction if I have it the 2nd day.

Citrus, tomatoes and pineapples are high in vitamin C. If I take vitamin C tablets then my skin deteriorates, so I cannot be sure whether it is the vitamin C or acid that is causing the problem. I have had arthritis problems from about the same time that I was diagnosed with psoriasis, so possibly I have psoriatic arthritis. I need the vitamin C for my joints but my skin will not tolerate it. My solution has been to supplement with glucosamine chondroitin tablets. I have found that the brands that also contain hyaluronic acid are much more effective for me. Vitamin C is processed by the body into hyaluronic acid, which is a main constituent of the lining of joints in our bodies. Taking a supplement that contains hyaluronic acid bypasses the need for vitamin C and puts the required component into the joints.

We are told that arthritis cannot be reversed and I guess that is true of bone spurs that can be part of the problem. However, the problems with deteriorating linings inside the joints can be improved considerably. When I was in my mid-40s I could not bend my one knee past 90 degrees and it was becoming painful to walk. I had to find solutions to what was happening in my body or I was going to become a cripple. I was able to gradually improve my joints over a few years, it was a long and slow process. Now, heading into mid-60s, I have full movement in both knees, I am still an active surfer and sail a rather physically demanding dinghy that requires excellent agility. I can't do these activities as well as the young guys but am still doing better than most guys of my age.

Being sensitive to the messages that my body has been sending me for the past two decades has ensured that I have been able to stay active and  strong much further into my life. This is an important part of taking ownership of your body and taking on the responsibility to keep it in good shape yourself. If you figure what is happening to your body due to these conditions and why it is happening then you can find ways to improve your life.

Handing over this responsibility to the medical profession is personal choice. Your doctor can advise but has a narrower vision of the solutions than you can have by investigating alternatives. Remember that it is you, not your doctor, who has to live with the results and side-effects of what you put into your body.