Most Common Food Triggers for Psoriasis
If your experience is similar to mine, you’ve had a doctor or dermatologist tell you that diet has nothing to do with psoriasis. Although there is no scientific consensus, many of us know that food does affect our skin.
There are Facebook groups and online communities with thousands of members testifying that certain diets have put their psoriasis into remission. In hanging around these communities for more than a decade, here’s the word on the street.
Understanding and reducing triggers
Reducing triggers is an important part of managing your condition and avoiding flare-ups. Psoriasis flare-ups can be caused by a variety of triggers.
Let’s take a look at the foods that are most likely to trigger a psoriasis flare-up. There are some foods that are helpful to incorporate and certain diets to consider when creating a treatment plan for your psoriasis.
Sugar and other processed food
There is nothing more addictive than ultra-processed food filled with delicious white sugar. Pour some sugar on me, baby. Sugar is always an evil superstar in food trigger surveys.
Unquestionably, cutting out refined sugar and processed junk can be great for your overall health (and there's nothing to lose!).
To my knowledge, I am not celiac, but my skin can detect gluten in food like a finely tuned barometer. Gluten is singled out in other autoimmune and chronic inflammatory conditions too. Wheat, bulgur, barley, rye, and couscous all contain gluten.
Alcohol, caffeine and spicy food
Alcohol negatively affects psoriasis and there is lots of research to support this statement. No mystery to unravel here, alcohol simply creates more inflammation!
That’s because it’s a vasodilator – as are caffeine and spicy food. These items may also be why they can set off pain and itching. Note that hot showers and high-intensity exercise do the same.
Dairy is often singled out. Throw a big red bullseye on it. I won’t dwell on this controversy lest the dairy lobbies come after me, but know that it takes up a lot of airtime in the psoriasis groups.
Although with wheat and dairy farmers after me, I might as well throw myself all the way under the bus. Red meat and cured meat are mentioned all the time. I can remember reading at least 20 comments in the last year from people who said cutting out red meat put their psoriasis into remission.
It gives me no pleasure to add fried food to this list, and I honestly hope there are no hard feelings. If you search fried food + inflammation, the internet can tell you all about the biology. The summary is inflammation. So. Much. inflammation.
I’ll cap off the most commonly identified trigger foods with the nightshade family. You can read about why we think they cause inflammation right here on our site. The nightshades you’ll be most familiar with are tomatoes, white potatoes, peppers, eggplant, and tobacco.
What are uncommon food triggers?
Now you can see why a night of pepperoni pizza, beer, and spicy fried wings may be a recipe for disaster (throw in some chocolate cake and you’ve really got a riot).
But, what about those lesson common triggers? Based on my research and community knowledge, here's a nod to some other trigger foods that come up less often, but still enough to be noticed.
- Eggs - it seems that the egg whites are worse than the egg yolks
- Soy and corn, and a suspicion about GMO foods in general
- Fruits like bananas, oranges/lemons (and other citrus), and strawberries
- Super salty food
- Garlic, onions or other high FODMAP foods
- Other grains (even if they're gluten free)
- Certain beans, legumes, nuts - my personal nemesis is almonds!
Trends within the community
I can’t state strongly enough that this article is not a diet or lifestyle recommendation. I mean only to inform and pass on trends I’ve seen shared in the communities. In addition, if you have tried every diet under the sun and nothing has helped, know that food is not a trigger for everyone. Don’t make yourself miserable!
Did I miss anything?
To learn more about how impactful this survey is, read more here.
Where on your body does psoriasis bother you the most?