Which Foods Should I Eat For Psoriasis
Last week I shared a post with you on Instagram, listing the top ten potential triggers for eczema. The comments below the picture were a mix of ‘I can’t do this‘, ‘what’s left to eat‘ and ‘could you please do one of these posts for psoriasis‘!!
Today I do want to share something similar for psoriasis, but as well as discussing the foods which might be triggering your skin flares, I’m equally mindful to share with you the foods we should be focusing on including lots more of.
I also want to highlight that taking certain things out of your diet does not equal ‘boring and bland’. Making dietary changes to heal our skin is intended to be a lifelong program, so ensuring it’s exciting and sustainable is equally important.
Remember, the information I’m posting here is intended as a guide to help you find your main trigger culprits. This doesn’t mean never eating a slice of cake again or forever forgoing sweets and chocolate. It’s about finding a workable balance to heal your skin and stay healthy. As individuals, one food group may have a more significant impact on some of us compared to others. It can take a little trial and error, plus some food journaling to work out what most impacts your skin.
Eat More: Dark Leafy Greens
These are loaded with antioxidants, which protect your cells against inflammation. That may help with your psoriasis symptoms. Plus, leafy greens are low in calories and high in fiber, so theyre diet-friendly. Try tossing arugula in a salad, kale or collard greens in a soup, and chard or spinach into an omelet.
Everything You Need To Know About Psoriasis And Your Diet
If youre one of the roughly 7.5 million Americans living with psoriasis, you know it isnt exactly fun. While you may go for years without symptoms, when you have a psoriasis flare-up, it can be everything from uncomfortable to downright distressing. And part of what makes it such a difficult condition to deal with is because you never know when a flare-up might occur and what could cause it. One biggie thats thought to cause flare-ups is food.
Certain types of foods appear to trigger or worsen psoriasis symptoms, and others may actually help tame signs of psoriasis, but everyone is different and foods that trigger flare-ups for some may not affect others with psoriasis, so pay attention to what seems to personally affect you, says Annie Gonzalez, M.D., F.A.A.D, a board-certified dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology in Miami, Florida.
To help, we rounded up the best foods to eat if you have psoriasis and ones you should try to avoid, if you can.
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Psoriasis Diet: 8 Ways To Take On Psoriasis From The Inside
Millions of people suffer worldwide from psoriasis. Many more suffer from related skin issues.
I was one of them.
The medical industry did not help me. But some of these tactics did.
Forget about expensive creams and lotions. How much sense would it make to water the leaves of a dying tree? Not much, right? The solution is going underground and taking care of the roots.
Read on to learn more about some of the tactics I used to help my skin issues
What Foods Can Cause Psoriasis Flare
Studies have shown that almost two-thirds of people with psoriasis link certain foods to flare-ups of psoriasis. Foods commonly identified as psoriasis triggers are :
There is no large-scale scientific evidence that links any specific food with worsening psoriasis. But its technically challenging to study peoples reported diets.
Psoriasis affects each person differently, and this is also true for food triggers. Just because a person experiences worsening psoriasis with a certain food doesnt mean that other people will, too.
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The Proceed With Caution Food Groups For Psoriasis
Avoid dairy products or at the very least use low fat milk very sparingly.
Avoid eating too much fruit & honey because these are natural sources of sugar and can fuel your candida.
Limit red meat intake to 4-6 times per month and only use grass fed fresh cuts as these contain little to no sugar content.
Limit starchy vegetables such as yams, corn, all winter squash, beets, peas and all beans except green beans.
Avoid nightshade vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, egg plants, pimentos, huckleberries, tomatillos, paprika, ground cayenne pepper and hot sauce.
Foods To Eat With Psoriasis
What foods to eat with psoriasis, that is the question that many psoriasis patients have asked me over the years, what should I eat and what should I avoid to eat when I have psoriasis? You will find the diet and nutrition section of The Psoriasis Program to be the most comprehensive ever written when it comes to psoriasis, over two hundred pages. Stay on the Psoriasis Diet strictly for the first two to three weeks especially, longer if you are getting significant benefit. You will be able to read a great deal more about how to eat, select and prepare foods, as well as what to eat and what avoid in the first and introductory book in the Psoriasis Program series, entitled The Psoriasis Program, and the second book entitled The Psoriasis Diet, a very comprehensive book about everything you will want to know about food and psoriasis.
Key foods to incorporate into your diet when you have psoriasis are the anti inflammatory and antioxidant rich foods.
Here is just a quick bullet point list of some of your better foods choices:
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Best And Worst Foods To Eat For Psoriasis
Here are some psoriasis diet basics plus how to eat to help avoid a flare-up.
Psoriasisa common skin condition characterized by a scaly red rash that’s itchy and sometimes painfulis a fickle disease. Its cause isn’t fully known, but researchers believe it’s related to a problem with your immune system, where your T-cells attack healthy skin cells by mistake, triggering new cell growth when it’s not needed. As a result, those new cells pile up on the surface of the skin, causing psoriasis.
Can What You Eat Improve Or Worsen Your Psoriasis Symptoms
Overall, the jury is still out on whether eating certain foods, or avoiding others, can have a significant impact on the frequency or severity of psoriasis.
A review of studies published in JAMA Dermatology examined whether dietary changes might make different in people with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. The findings suggests that people who are overweight or obese may be able to reduce the severity of their psoriasis symptoms by adopting a low-calorie diet.
“We do know that psoriasis has been linked to obesity,” says Dr. Wentworth. “We often encourage weight loss for patients who are not at the weight that has been established as a goal for them with the assistance of their primary care provider.”
Per the JAMA Dermatology review, psoriasis patients with celiac disease may find that avoiding foods containing gluten may be helpful in managing their symptoms. “We have done studies to show that if someone has celiac disease antibodies, a gluten-free diet could potentially benefit their psoriasis,” says Dr. Wentworth.
But while there may not be one, cure-all, psoriasis treatment diet, evaluating what you eat is still a critical step in managing the disease says Victoria Yunez Behm, CNS, LDN, manager of nutrition science for the American Nutrition Association.
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The Right Diet For Psoriasis: Food To Eat And Avoid
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that causes skin cell buildup and appears as thick, red and scaly patches on the skin. It is an autoimmune disorder a condition where the bodys immune system attacks its own cells. Psoriasis affects the scalp, elbows, knees, hands, feet and face. The condition can be triggered by factors like extreme weather, stress and certain foods.
There is no diet that will cure psoriatic disease, but there are many ways in which eating healthful food may lessen the severity of symptoms and play a role in lowering the likelihood of developing comorbidities. It is important to talk to the health care provider before starting any diet.
Several diets, foods and ingredients have shown promise in their ability to potentially reduce or prevent inflammation in the body. Making healthy eating choices may play a role in helping you manage your psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.
First What Is Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a skin disease with an unclear cause whats known is that it happens when the immune system goes into overdrive, triggering inflammation and inflammatory skin symptoms due to that overactivity that speeds up skin cell growth. The most common type of psoriasis is called plaque psoriasis, characterized by patches of thick, raised skin that may itch and be red or partially covered in silvery-white scales these patches can develop anywhere but tend to appear on the elbows, knees, lower back and scalp. Other ways a psoriasis flare-up may manifest is as tiny, salmon-to-pink colored bumps smooth, raw-looking red patches around skin creases like the armpits red, swollen skin dotted with pus-filled bumps and as nail issues like tiny dents, rough crumbling nails, discoloration or lifting of the nail.
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Boost Your Salads With Anti
If you have psoriasis, youre probably aware that your diet can affect your skin. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, sticking to foods that help reduce inflammation throughout your body may help improve your overall health and your psoriasis symptoms as well.
I recommend an anti-inflammatory diet to all my patients, says Gary Goldenberg, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. According to Dr. Goldenberg, such a plan involves limiting white flour, refined sugar, and dairy, and instead focusing on:
- Fruits and vegetables
Mediterranean Diet Requires More Research
People who follow this diet get most of their fat from extra-virgin olive oil. They also eat at least two servings of vegetables and three servings of fruit every day. Each week, they eat at least three servings of fish or seafood, beans, and nuts.
All of these foods are rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients. Because psoriasis causes inflammation throughout the body, its believed that this diet could lead to less psoriasis on your skin.
Its still too early to know whether this is true. However, one large study suggests a Mediterranean diet could help people with psoriasis. In this study, 35,735 patients were asked to answer surveys about what they ate. The researchers collected in-depth information, such as how much fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, and legumes they ate.
The patients answered these in-depth surveys three times over a six-month period.
After analyzing the results, the researchers found that the patients with severe psoriasis ate few if any foods found in the Mediterranean diet.
While this may suggest that following a Mediterranean diet can lessen the amount of psoriasis on your skin, its too soon to tell. Only about 2% of the patients in this study had psoriasis. The study also relied on people being able to recall what they ate. Sometimes, it can be difficult to remember what you ate yesterday let alone weeks ago.
Takeaway: More research is needed to know how the Mediterranean diet affects psoriasis.
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Other Triggers To Avoid And Ways To Improve Psoriasis
Other tips that may help with psoriasis symptoms are:
- Lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.
- Dont smoke.
- Try food journalingthis can help track triggers for symptoms.
- Avoid cold, dry weather.
- Avoid skin injuries and scrapes.
- Avoid medication triggerssuch as lithium, prednisone, hydroxychloroquine.
Foods To Avoid If You Have Psoriasis:
Remember: Not every food on this list will definitely trigger a psoriasis flare-up, but if you do notice that your diet is affecting your skin, these inflammatory foods might be to blame, and cutting back or eliminating may help. Foods that have been known to trigger psoriasis include eggs, red and processed meat, canned produce, and packaged or processed foods, Gonzalez says.
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Foods That Fight Inflammation
Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition. Research is limited, but some people who have psoriasis say they can manage it better if they eat more inflammation-fighting foods.
Some studies suggest that antioxidants, like vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and selenium, may make a difference. And some research suggests fatty acids from fish oil can be helpful. More research is needed.
Anti-inflammatory foods are generally healthy, so it shouldn’t hurt to give them a try. They include:
- Fruits and veggies, especially berries, cherries, and leafy greens
- Salmon, sardines, and other fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- Antioxidant-rich herbs and spices like thyme, sage, cumin, and ginger
- Heart-healthy sources of fat, like olive oil, seeds, and nuts
Some foods can make inflammation worse. Eat less of these:
- Processed foods and refined sugars
- Fatty cuts of red meat
Does Psoriasis Weaken The Immune System
Psoriasis skin lesions are thought to be the result of an overactive immune response.
With psoriasis, the body produces too many inflammatory agents, called cytokines, which normally help fight infections and heal injuries. But instead of focusing on fighting off an infection or injury, these cytokines also attack healthy tissue.
Psoriasis itself doesnt weaken the immune system, but its a sign that the immune system isnt working the way it should. Anything that triggers the immune system can cause psoriasis to flare up. Common ailments like ear or respiratory infections can cause psoriasis to flare.
Many people with psoriasis are prescribed immunosuppressive drugs to manage the condition. Because these drugs suppress the immune system, they increase your risk for contracting viruses like a cold and the flu. If you do get sick, these illnesses may last longer than they would if you didnt take these medications.
Talk with your healthcare provider about ways to stay healthy. That includes getting an annual flu vaccine, washing your hands regularly, and adjusting your treatment plan if you do get sick.
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Psoriasis Diet: 8 Things To Try For Psoriasis
Before going further, Id first like to underscore that this is not medical advice. These are things that Ive tried and that have some circumstantial evidence in the literature for why they may work. This is all based on my read of the loose evidence.
Psoriasis isnt a skin problem. Its a whole-body problem. Skin is the canary in the coal mine, so to speak an indicator that something is going on at a deeper level. Skin replaces itself every 6-8 weeks, which means you have an opportunity to replace the skin you have with radiant, healthy skin every two months.
Now, things dont get rosy overnight but, start today by taking care of your gut, calming inflammation and feeding your skin what it needs, and before long, youll see an improvement worth all your efforts.
Eat Less: Fried Foods
These are often high in saturated fat, which has inflammatory compounds called advanced glycation end products . They form when a food is cooked at a high temperature. In one study, people who cut back on high-AGE foods appeared to have less inflammation in their bodies after 4 months. Choose baked, boiled, or steamed foods instead of fried.
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Always Talk With Your Doctor Before Changing Your Diet
While changing what you eat may seem simple, some fad diets can worsen psoriasis. Your dermatologist and primary care doctor can help you find a diet that meets your individual needs and works well with the medication in your treatment plan.
Related AAD resources
ReferencesBhatia BK, Millsop JW, et al. Diet and psoriasis, part II: celiac disease and role of a gluten-free diet. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 71:350-8.
Cazzaniga S, Conti A, et al. Comments on “Diet and psoriasis, Part I: Impact of weight loss interventions. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 71:829
Debbaneh M, Jillian W Millsop JW, et al. Diet and psoriasis, part I: Impact of weight loss interventions. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Jul 71:133-40.
Elmets CA, Korman NJ, et al. Joint AAD-NPF Guidelines of care for the management and treatment of psoriasis with topical therapy and alternative medicine modalities for psoriasis severity measures. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2020 Jul 30 S0190-962232288-X. Online ahead of print.
Ford AR, Siegel M, et al. Dietary recommendations for adults with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis from the Medical Board of the National Psoriasis Foundation: A systematic review. JAMA Dermatol. 2018 Aug 1 154:934-50.
Jesitus J. Mediterranean diet may reduce psoriasis severity. Dermatol Times. 2018 Sep 39. Last accessed Sep 24, 2020.
Ko SH, Chi CC, et al. Lifestyle changes for treating psoriasis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 Jul 16 7:CD011972.
Which Psoriasis Treatments Help With Flares
Even if you may or may not be able to manage your psoriasis symptoms with what you eat, there are many other proven treatments that work phenomenally well, Dr. Feldman says. Psoriasis medications are determined by the severity of your symptoms, where theyre located on your body, and how much your condition affects your ability to do everyday tasks.
Ultimately, working closely with a board-certified dermatologist will help you figure out the best course of action to manage your psoriasis symptoms. You want to have a checklist when you go to the doctor, including all areas of the body affected by your psoriasis, Dr. Feldman says.
Your treatment plan may include diet changes, but its important to remember that its just one piece of the puzzle. We have to get to the underlying cause of the issue, Dr. Feldman saysand that will likely require tackling the inflammation head-on with one of the medications above.
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