Vitiligo Diet – What Is It & How Does It Help Treat Vitiligo?

Medically Reviewed by Merlin Annie Raj, RD (Registered Dietitian)
By Charushila Biswas, MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist

Vitiligo is characterized by the loss of skin pigments on certain areas of the skin, leading to pale, whitish patches (1). While many follow certain vitiligo diets to deal with this condition, most of them lack proper scientific evidence. However, as per skin specialists, a healthy diet may help slow down the progression of this disease. In addition, as vitiligo is an autoimmune disease, a diet that works on the immune system may greatly help.

Continue reading to learn more about this condition and understand what kind of diet may be suitable to slow down depigmentation. You will also know what lifestyle changes you can adopt.

How To Treat Vitiligo – Diet And Lifestyle

  1. Vitiligo Definitive Facts
  2. Vitiligo Sample Diet Plan
  3. Foods To Eat
  4. Foods To Avoid
  5. Overcoming Nutritional Deficiencies
  6. Lifestyle Changes
  7. Role Of Exercise
  8. Benefits Of Vitiligo Diet
  9. Side Effects Of Vitiligo Diet

Vitiligo Definitive Facts

Image: Shutterstock

  • People suffering from vitiligo may have to consume a special diet to prevent worsening of their skin condition or to overcome nutritional deficiencies.
  • Since vitiligo is an autoimmune disease, it is prudent to eat a diet that is rich in phytochemicals, beta-carotene, and antioxidants. Such a diet will boost the immune system and promote healthy skin, and may pave the way for repigmentation of the skin.
  • If you have vitiligo, avoid consuming pears and blueberries. These fruits are natural sources of hydroquinones, which are known to have depigmentation properties.
  • Some people also face problems with citrus fruits, while others may find turmeric, which is used as a seasoning in foods, causing problems.
  • Hence, if you fall under these categories, you should avoid citrus fruits and/or turmeric.
  • Some people prefer to avoid red meats and dairy products. However, there is no scientific evidence to back this. If you have an underlying allergy to dairy, you should avoid it as it may adversely affect your vitiligo.

Vitiligo Sample Diet Plan

Image: Shutterstock

MealWhat To Eat
Early Morning1 glass water in a copper glass
BreakfastOptions:
  • Quinoa
  • Semolina with veggies
  • Boiled egg and 1 glass spinach juice/beetroot juice
LunchOptions:
  • Boiled vegetables
  • Vegetable curry (less spicy & oily) and 2 chapatis
Post Lunch4 almonds
Evening Snack1 glass fruit juice + 1 multigrain biscuit
DinnerOptions:
  • Grilled chicken breast with veggies
  • Vegetable clear soup

This diet chart includes foods that are allowed for those suffering from vitiligo. Apart from eating leafy veggies, you may also take supplements (only after consulting your doctor).

Foods To Eat

As mentioned earlier, there is no real vitiligo diet per se. However, you should look at supporting your condition by following a balanced and nutritious diet.

Fruits – Figs, apricots, ripe mango, dates, apples, and bananas.

Vegetables – Try to consume a plant-centric diet comprising of spinach, beetroot, carrot, potato, cabbage, radish, cauliflower, red chili, bitter gourd, and green beans. Make sure a major bulk of your diet consists of these vegetables, as long as you do not find it difficult to digest them.

Protein – In case you yearn for animal products, opt for chicken breast, lean cuts of turkey, wild fish, and organic eggs. It is best to cook them lightly. For vegans, stick to kidney beans, chickpeas, mushroom, and lentils.

Dairy – Dairy products can be consumed. However, depending on the level of the condition, some patients are advised to completely avoid dairy products.

Whole Grains – Oats, brown rice, white rice, couscous, quinoa, and corn.

Supplements – You may have vitamin B12, protein, calcium, minerals, and DHA deficiencies. Hence, take supplements to overcome these deficiencies. Consult your doctor before taking any supplements.

Beverages – Allowed vegetable and fruit juices, and coconut water (if you are tolerant to it)..

Herbs & Spices – Rosemary, thyme, basil, coriander leaves (small amounts), clove, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Foods To Avoid

Fruits – Gooseberry, orange, nectarine, prune, peach, pineapple, lemon, lime, melon, watermelon, grapes, papaya, guava, grapefruit, pear, tamarind, and any fruit that has a good amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C inhibits the formation of pigments (2). Therefore, avoid consuming it.

Vegetables – Eggplant, tomato, green chili, onion, and garlic..

Protein – Beef, pork, and fish.

Dairy – Milk, curd, and buttermilk..

Beverages – Carbonated and sweetened drinks, packaged fruit juices, coffee, vitamin C-rich fresh fruit juices, and alcohol.

Spices – Turmeric

Others – Avoid oily, spicy, processed, packaged, and canned foods. Avoid consuming wafers, pickles, and chocolates.

Overcoming Nutritional Deficiencies

Researchers have found that people suffering from vitiligo often have a deficiency of vitamin B12 folate (3), and certain minerals, such as zinc and copper (4), (5). You should get your vitamin levels checked regularly. If there is a deficit, speak to your doctor about taking supplements or overcoming the deficiencies through foods rich in those vitamins.

Vitamin B12 is naturally found in soy milk, fish, shellfish, dairy products, and meat (6). If you have folate and zinc deficiency, include leafy green vegetables, fruits, peas, dried beans, legumes, and nuts in your daily diet (7) (8).

Lifestyle Changes

Image: Shutterstock

  • There is no doubt that having vitiligo can make you depressed and upset. Hence, it is important to manage your stress levels and maintain a healthy mind. Try doing yoga or join a vitiligo support group to manage emotional stressors.
  • Get adequate exposure to sunlight. Not only will it ensure that you have adequate levels of vitamin D, but it may also stimulate repigmentation (9). The melanocytes in the skin tend to produce melanin when exposed to sunlight. This facilitates darkening of the skin to protect it from getting burned.
  • Get enough sleep. The human mind needs to rest for at least 7 hours every day to function properly.
  • Eat tasty and nutritious foods. Experiment or search online for delicious recipes that are easy to cook. Always opt for home-cooked food.
  • Revive an old hobby or pick a new one.
  • Avoid negative people and negative thoughts.

Role Of Exercise

Image: Shutterstock

Regular exercise triggers mood-enhancing hormones. This will help you stay positive as you take measures to cure and prevent vitiligo from spreading further through diet and medication. Power yoga, meditation, dancing, and playing a sport will help you feel good about your body and prevent anxiety or depression from weighing you down.

Benefits Of The Vitiligo Diet

  • Prevents the spreading of skin depigmentation.
  • Helps to lead a healthy life.

Side Effects Of The Vitiligo Diet

  • May cause nutritional deficiencies.
  • Leads to weakened immunity.

Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease that cannot be completely treated. However, you can slow down the progression of the depigmentation by addressing certain nutritional deficiencies — like vitamin B12, iron, and zinc. Adopting a vitiligo diet that is rich in beta-carotene, antioxidants, and phytochemicals is the best way to go about it. Certain citrus fruits and turmeric are said to possess depigmentation properties. Hence, they should not be consumed. Consume non-citrus fruits, vegetables, and protein-rich chicken breasts, and take certain supplements as part of this diet. Consult a doctor before starting this diet plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the fastest way to cure vitiligo?

Vitiligo has no definite cure as of now. However, lifestyle changes, healthy diet, exercise, and being mindful of nutritional deficiencies may help prevent the spread.

Is tea good for vitiligo?

While it has not been established for humans yet, research on mice suggests that green tea could have beneficial effects for vitiligo (10).

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Vitiligo: A Review
    https://www.karger.com/Article/Fulltext/506103
  2. Vitamin C in dermatology
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3673383/
  3. Serum homocysteine, folate, and vitamin B12 levels in patients with vitiligo and their potential roles as disease activity biomarkers: A systematic review and meta-analysis
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0190962218324836
  4. Evaluation of the serum zinc level in patients with vitiligo
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5420602/
  5. Decreased copper and zinc in sera of Chinese vitiligo patients: A meta-analysis
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1346-8138.12392
  6. Vitamin B12
    https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/
  7. Folate
    https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/
  8. Zinc
    https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/
  9. A cross-sectional study of spontaneous repigmentation in vitiligo
    https://ijdvl.com/a-cross-sectional-study-of-spontaneous-repigmentation-in-vitiligo/
  10. The therapeutic effects of EGCG on vitiligo
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25128425/
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author
Charushila is an ISSA certified Fitness Nutritionist and a Physical Exercise Therapist. Over a span of 5 years, she has... more

Merlin Annie Raj

(Registered Dietitian Nutritionist)
Merlin Annie Raj is a Registered Dietitian based out of Hyderabad, India. She has vast experience in Clinical Nutrition as... more

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