Avoid The Nightshade Family Of Vegetables
Avoid white and red potatoes, tomato , capsicum, sweet or hot peppers , and tobacco. This is only a trial, you will want to avoid all nightshade vegetables for a few months before you re-introduce them, to see if this family of vegetables is a psoriasis trigger. How will you know, unless you stop eating them for a month or two?
Vitamins And Psoriatic Disease
There is no direct link between vitamins and dietary supplements and psoriatic disease. However, many with psoriatic disease find that including vitamins and supplements in their diet helps their skin clear and may ease joint pain.
Dietary supplements can be extracts or concentrates, and they can occur in many forms, such as tablets, capsules, softgels, gelcaps, liquids or powders.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate dietary supplements for safety or effectiveness. This can also lead to an inconsistency when it comes to active ingredients. Itâs important that you talk to your doctor before adding any vitamins or supplements to your treatment plan, as some may interfere with your medications.
Here are some of the more popular vitamins and supplements used to combat psoriatic disease.
Can Changing Your Diet Help Treat Psoriasis
Yes, says dermatologist Anthony Fernandez, MD, PhD, especially if you have obesity or are considered to be overweight. We have great evidence to support that losing weight via a hypocaloric diet will improve the overall severity of your psoriasis.
Of course, its not just how much you eat but what you eat that also makes a difference when you change your diet.
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Eat Less: Fatty Red Meat
This can trigger inflammation and may lead to bigger and more severe psoriasis flares. The saturated fat in red meat can also raise your chances of heart disease, and people with psoriasis are already more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. If youâre in the mood for red meat, opt for lean cuts, such as sirloin and top and bottom rounds. And choose ground beef with the lowest percentage of fat.
Nightshades And Psoriasis Connection
Nightshades or their correct scientific name, Solanaceae species are often rich in alkaloids whose toxicity to humans and animals ranges from mildly irritating to fatal in small quantities. Tobacco also includes these harmful alkaloids.
Natural Health practitioners tend to advise total avoidance of the nightshade family if you suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and psoriasis. In fact one in three arthritis sufferers react badly to nightshades. While this is no way conclusive that it affects your psoriasis condition, I tend to avoid this group as a precaution but I do have some from time to time.
If you can stick to the above you should stop further outbreaks of psoriasis, as is what happened in my case. The emphasis must now be on adding the good, natural healing foods to your body, so you can repair your leaky gut and finally give your body the best possible chance of healing your skin from the inside out.
Once your psoriasis is under control, you can start to reintroduce some of the above foods into your diet. If you see a reaction then simply add it to your foods that you should avoid list.
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Emotional Impact Of Psoriasis
The effect that psoriasis can have on physical appearance means low self-esteem and anxiety are common among people with the condition. This can lead to depression, especially if the psoriasis gets worse.
Your GP or dermatologist will understand the psychological and emotional impact of psoriasis, so talk to them about your concerns or anxieties.
Foods With Saturated Fats And Trans Fats
Fats in red meat, cheese, fried food, margarine, fast food and many processed snacks are known to trigger inflammation in the body. These fats increase the amount of low-density lipoprotein in your blood, also called bad cholesterol. Studies suggest there may be a link between excess fat in the body and development of psoriasis and worsening of psoriasis symptoms.
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Limitations Of This Manuscript
The limitations of this work are the lack of a structured review of scientific publications. The authors did not apply the PRISMA guidelines. Some of the referenced studies were older than five years and some articles were not from international journals. In addition, some of the studies cited were conducted only in vitro and require more detailed studies in humans.
Healthy Eating And Exercise
People with psoriasis have a slightly higher risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease than the general population, although it’s not known why.
Regular exercise and a healthy diet are recommended for everyone, not just people with psoriasis, because they can help to prevent many health problems. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly can also relieve stress, which may improve your psoriasis.
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Why It’s Important To Maintain A Healthy Weight
If you have psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis and you are overweight, the benefits of weight loss are clear: reduced inflammation, less severe skin disease and joint pain, improved mobility and a dramatically lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and liver disease. But what is the best way to go about losing weight?
There are hundreds of websites devoted to dieting and weight loss to choose from and that is part of the problem. Almost without exception, any diet that makes promises about rapid weight loss is bogus and should be avoided.
The truth is that if you want to lose weight you need to reduce your calorie intake and increase your calorie expenditure through physical activity. However, calorie counting can be tedious. It is healthier to focus on the overall balance of your diet. This is because healthy diets tend to be lower in calories anyway and because there are many food and nutrient combinations that can be beneficial, independently of any associated weight loss.
Below you will find the key elements of a lifestyle programme that may help you to reduce weight and improve both your psoriasis related conditions and your long-term health.
What Foods Might Help
There is no scientific evidence that a specific diet or food can treat, cure, or prevent the symptoms of psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. However, foods that decrease inflammation, like those in an anti-inflammatory diet, may offer benefits. A healthy diet may also reduce the risk of comorbid conditions associated with psoriasis, such as heart disease and diabetes.
MyPsoriasisTeam members have shared how an anti-inflammatory diet has helped them. I have been incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods. Pineapple, turmeric, ginger, and tart cherry have all been helpful, said one member.
Another emphasized the important role of diet in symptom management. I am keeping a very strict anti-inflammatory diet, they said. If I go off of it just a little bit, the symptoms come back quickly.
While youre looking at specific foods, consider also looking at your diet as a whole and determining whether changes to support a healthy weight are needed. Being overweight or obese can make psoriasis more severe, but weight loss can improve response to systemic psoriasis therapies and lessen disease severity.
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Avoid All Packaged Foods
Canned, bottled, boxed and other packaged and processed foods usually contain refined sugar products and other hidden ingredients. For example, you will find many small pieces of dried fruits in packaged cereals and muesli. You will find many artificial colors, flavors as well as preservatives lurking in a wide variety of processed and packaged foods. You will surprised to see sugar of some kind of form as a main ingredient in many packaged and processed foods. Read the labels!
The Importance Of Antioxidants
The chronic inflammation that is related to psoriatic lesions has an effect on the formation of free radicals and superoxide anion, resulting in oxidative stress. This term describes an imbalance between the number of reactive oxygen species and antioxidants at the cellular level .
Oxidative stress can contribute to atherosclerotic plaque formation. Reactive oxygen species cause damage to the vascular endothelial cells, which leads to an increase in the permeability of small vessels and, in consequence, allows the transmission of inflammatory cells, which in turn intensifies the development of inflammation in psoriasis .
Antioxidants are substances that protect against the harmful effects of free radicals through many chemical transformations .
Reports have shown that a diet rich in vitamin C, -carotene, and flavonoids, which includes green vegetables, carrots, tomatoes, and fruit, helps improve skin lesions . Therefore, persons with psoriasis should increase the intake of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as include polyphenol-rich products such as tea, coffee, herbs, and spices in their diet .
EPA and DHA acids also contribute to the reduction of oxidative stress .
In addition, selenium deficiency, often observed in patients, can be a risk factor for the development of psoriasis, and supplementation of this element suppresses secretion of TNF-. However, no improvement in psoriasis symptoms was demonstrated in patients taking selenium supplements .
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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.
Trigger Foods To Avoid
Some foods can stimulate inflammation and be considered trigger foods for psoriasis, causing new flares or worsening symptoms. You must avoid:
- Red meat and fried foods: these foods increase your consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol, encouraging inflammation and increasing your chances of getting a flare-up
- Sugar and white flour such as sweets, white bread, and cookies. These are considered high glycemic carbohydrates, and the higher the GI, the bigger the risk of triggering inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis
- Processed foods: foods with a lot of additives or processed meats, such as smoked ham, sausages, salami, among others, can cause a build up of toxins inside the body, favoring an inflammatory response in addition to affecting skin health.
Alcoholic drinks must also be avoided, as they can increase itchiness and hinder the absorption of most medications used for treating psoriasis.
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Talk With Others Who Understand
MyPsoriasisTeam is the social network for people with psoriasis and their loved ones. More than 100,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with psoriasis.
Do any foods trigger your psoriasis? Have you tried an elimination diet? Share your experience in the comments below or start a conversation by posting on MyPsoriasisTeam.
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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Foods Containing Refined Carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates are highly processed . Theyve been stripped of fiber and whole grains and tend to contain a lot of sugar, which can cause your blood sugar to spike. Refined carbohydrates also increase advanced glycation end products, which are substances in your blood that can lead to inflammation.
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 theyâre diet-friendly. Try tossing arugula in a salad, kale or collard greens in a soup, and chard or spinach into an omelet.
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Avoid Breads Pastries And Other Bakery Goods Milk And Cheeses
While you dont have to strictly avoid wheat products such as breads, flat breads are OK, made with a high quality wholemeal flour, water and salt only, it is better to avoid wheat, rye, barley, spelt and even oats, all gluten containing grains, for a while until your digestion and immune system improves. If you have been suffering with chronic psoriasis for many years, only a careful elimination and challenge will let you know if wheat based breads and grain based foods are working either for or against your skin health. You will soon know with a careful elimination and challenge.
In my experience, you will improve quite rapidly if you do decide to eliminate wheat in chronic psoriasis cases. If you must eat wheat, then eat flat breads made with only with a high quality wholemeal flour, water and salt, that way you avoid any added sugar and yeast. Alternatively, use a sour dough technique to make any bread yourself. Hard cheese is usually fine, but do bear in mind that any cheese has the potential to go moldy. Especially avoid moldy cheeses such as Camembert, Brie and Blue Vein. Arent they great though with a glass of red wine and some water crackers? See, you have plenty to look forward to when you finally recover!
Diet Therapy And The Use Of Medicines
Nutrition of patients with psoriasis should also be tailored to their therapy.
The use of methotrexate contributes to an increase in the concentration of toxic homocysteine and reduces the blood level of folic acid. Moreover, deficiencies of this vitamin are also associated with increased homocysteine levels. Supplementation with folic acid, usually in the amount of 1015 mg/week, should be introduced in patients taking methotrexate. Supplementation regimes vary, but the vitamins should always be administered at least 12 or 24 h after taking methotrexate due to the risk of a decrease in the effectiveness of the drug . This is possible because methotrexate is taken once a week . It should be remembered that the bioavailability of folic acid decreases when it is taken with a meal . Supplementation of this vitamin in persons taking methotrexate can also contribute to relief of other adverse reactions related to the bone marrow, gastrointestinal tract, and liver, caused by the medication .
It should also be noted that methotrexate may cause nausea, which in turn is a common cause of loss of appetite in patients and may contribute to the development of deficiencies of certain nutrients. Therefore, it is necessary to include a balanced diet, providing all the necessary components in the proper amounts .
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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.
Selection Of Fatty Acids
Selection of the right types of fat plays an important role in the diet of patients with psoriasis. A diet rich in saturated fatty acids found in animal products can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In contrast, consumption of unsaturated fatty acids can contribute to a reduction of the risk of immunometabolic diseases .
Monounsaturated fatty acids , including oleic acid, protect lipoproteins and cell membranes against harmful oxidative effects. Extra virgin olive oil is a good source of oleic acid .
Polyunsaturated fatty acids are not synthesised in the human body so they need to come from food. This group of fatty acids is divided into omega-3 and omega-6 acids. Among fatty acids from the omega-3 family are: -linolenic acid , eicosapentaenoic acid , docosapentaenoic acid , and docosahexaenoic acid . The group of omega-6 acids includes linoleic acid and arachidonic acid .
Polyunsaturated fatty acids are involved in the synthesis of anti-inflammatory or pro-inflammatory compounds. Omega-3 acids have an anti-inflammatory effect, while acids from the omega-6 family have a pro-inflammatory effect . For instance, eicosapentaenoic acid competes with arachidonic acid to bind to COX-2 and is a substrate for the synthesis of PGE3 and LTB5 , which have an anti-inflammatory effect. Omega-6 fatty acids have a stimulating effect on the synthesis of pro-inflammatory TNF, IL-1, and IL-8 .
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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.