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

Reviewed By Merlin Annie Raj, MSc (Nutrition & Dietetics), RD
Written by Charushila Biswas
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition

Vitiligo is a skin condition in which certain areas of the body lose pigments and turn white. You may have heard a lot about the vitiligo diet. However, there is no recommended diet for vitiligo that is supported by any concrete scientific data. Nonetheless, skin specialists recommend a healthy diet for boosting the immune system. It is believed that vitiligo is an autoimmune disease, and a strong immune system can prevent the spread of the depigmentation.

In this article, an alternative treatment for vitiligo through right diet and lifestyle is explained in detail to help keep the skin disorder in check.

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

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  • 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.

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Vitiligo Sample Diet Plan

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

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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.

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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. 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.

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Overcoming Nutritional Deficiencies

Researchers have found that people suffering from vitiligo often have a deficiency of vitamin B12 folate, and certain minerals, such as zinc and copper. 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. If you have folate and zinc deficiency, include leafy green vegetables, fruits, peas, dried beans, legumes, and nuts in your daily diet.

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Lifestyle Changes

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  • 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. 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.

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Role Of Exercise

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Regular exercise triggers the 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.

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Benefits Of The Vitiligo Diet

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

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Side Effects Of The Vitiligo Diet

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

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While vitiligo cannot be cured, following a diet that fulfills your body’s nutritional demands will allow you to lead a healthy and long life. And, if you learn to cope with your condition, you will be able to lead a stress-free life. You should also speak to your doctor about taking natural supplements, like Gingko biloba, as it may slow down the progression of depigmentation.

Let us know if this article has helped you and what foods you eat to keep the vitiligo from spreading by commenting in the box below.

Cheers to good health!

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Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. This prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.