How to Create a Psoriasis Friendly Diet?
While there is no official food plan to manage psoriatic skin, it is possible to create a psoriasis friendly diet. Studies have not conclusively demonstrated that a specific nutritional system will minimize or eliminate symptoms. However, there is both scientific and anecdotal evidence suggesting that certain foods could help you reduce flare-ups.
Simply put, a psoriasis flare-up is inflammation. So, if you want to design a psoriasis friendly diet, the formula is simple:
- Avoid inflammatory foods
- Consume anti-inflammatory foods
Studies also show that many psoriasis sufferers who are overweight experience a reduction in flares when they drop extra pounds through a healthy diet and exercise. You should always make sure your body is getting the calories it needs to function. Talk to your doctor if you think you could benefit from a diet designed for weight loss.
If you want to find out whether an anti-inflammatory dietary will ease your symptoms, here are the best foods to consume . . . and avoid.
Avoid Foods That Promote Inflammation
A psoriasis friendly diet is first and foremost an anti-inflammatory diet. That means you should limit or eliminate those foods most associated with inflammation.
These are the big ones.
Highly Processed Foods
Think deli meats, frozen dinners, canned soup . . . most things that are extremely easy to prepare and consume. These items are often loaded with sugars, sodium, and trans-fats, all of which contribute to inflammation.
Now, please note that we’re talking about highly processed foods. That package of pre-cut watermelon or frozen salmon has also been processed. Minimally processed items like those are perfectly fine to consume.
There’s nothing wrong with a little sugar in your diet. Sugar is a natural ingredient in plenty of psoriasis friendly diet options like fruits. But refined sugars have been linked to inflammation and obesity. Best to avoid refined sugar whenever possible.
Fatty Red Meats
Red meats promote inflammation due to high cholesterol and saturated fat content. It’s better to get your animal proteins from lean sources like poultry and fish or go full-veggie with tofu, quinoa, and beans. If you have a craving for beef, look for lean cuts like loin, sirloin, and round.
Choose Anti-Inflammatory Food to Maintain a Psoriasis Friendly Diet
Now that you know what to cut out of your psoriasis friendly diet, let’s talk about what you should add.
Fruits and Vegetables
“Eat more fruits and vegetables” is probably the most common dieting tip there is. But these foods are especially important when it comes to managing psoriasis. Fruits and veggies are loaded with antioxidants. And antioxidants reduce inflammation.
Your star players in this category include:
- Leafy greens (kale, arugula, spinach)
- Other cruciferous veggies like Brussels sprouts and broccoli
- Dark fruits such as cherries and grapes
Oils High in Omega-3
Omega-3 is an anti-inflammatory fatty acid. You find a healthy dose of it in coconut oil, flaxseed oil, and olive oil. Added bonus: omega-3 can reduce risk factors related to heart disease. Considering patients with psoriasis are believed to have an increased risk of heart disease, the benefits of omega-3 extend well beyond managing flares.
Fatty, coldwater fish are another great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. They also fit the bill for lean animal proteins. Great options include:
- Albacore tuna
- Lake trout
Talk to Your Doctor About Supplements in Your Psoriasis Friendly Diet
If you’re struggling to get all your anti-inflammatory nutrients through a psoriasis friendly diet, consider adding supplements. Research suggests certain nutritional supplements can help manage the severity and frequency of psoriasis flares.
Ask your doctor if they’d recommend supplements such as:
- Fish oil
- Vitamin B-12
- Vitamin D
Personalize Your Psoriasis Friendly Diet
A psoriasis friendly diet isn’t just about managing inflammatory and anti-inflammatory foods. Other foods can trigger flare-ups for a variety of reasons. And those triggers may not be the same from person to person.
Keep a nutrition diary as you make changes to your diet. If your symptoms grow worse or you see improvement in your skin, look at your diary to see if you notice any pattern. Is there a food that might have triggered or eased your condition?
There are a handful of foods that are not universally bad for psoriasis patients but do seem to trigger flares in many individuals. If you consume any of the following, pay close attention to the way your skin reacts.
- Nightshades. These plants contain solanine, a chemical that has been thought to cause inflammation, though it is not proven. Nightshade plants include potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants.
- Dairy. Some individuals report flare-ups following the consumption of milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products.
- Gluten. More studies must be done before we can say anything conclusive about the relationship between gluten and psoriasis. However, the National Psoriasis Foundation says as many as 25% of individuals with psoriasis also suffer from gluten sensitivity. And studies have suggested that a gluten-free diet could reduce the severity of psoriasis symptoms.
- Alcohol. Alcohol interferes with the pathways of your immune system—a notable concern when you have an autoimmune disease. Most people who have psoriasis find it’s easier to minimize flares when they go easy on the alcohol.
A psoriasis friendly diet could go a long way towards relieving your symptoms. But remember, the best psoriasis treatment plan is comprehensive. Maintain a lifestyle that avoids common triggers.
And if there is anything we can do to help you enjoy healthier skin and happier life, please reach out.