Food Tips To Help Treat Psoriasis
If you have psoriasis, there are so many things that can impact your lifestyle. As if managing the many treatment options weren't enough, it's also important to avoid potential triggers and stressors. Should you also watch what's on your plate?
A healthy diet is a good idea for just about everyone. We've all heard it - lots of fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and whole grains. One theme we've seen consistently with those who live with psoriasis is that diet and eating habits can affect the skin and psoriasis symptoms.
Food choices and psoriasis
There is no diet that will cure psoriasis, but there are many ways in which lifestyle changes and certain foods may lessen the severity of symptoms.
Foods that fight inflammation
Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition. While quality and duration of sleep and other lifestyle factors can have a direct impact on inflammation, those who live with psoriasis say they can also manage inflammation better if they eat anti-inflammatory foods. These types of food include:1
- 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
Limit & avoid alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can negatively impact a person’s health, regardless of whether they have a chronic health condition such as psoriasis. However, for people with psoriasis, drinking alcohol can have negative effects on the course and severity of their health condition2.
Research has also demonstrated that drinking alcohol heavily can make treatments less effective in controlling psoriasis symptoms. However, if a person stops drinking alcohol, then psoriasis symptoms will usually improve2.
Following a gluten-free diet is a major commitment and you may wonder if going gluten-free would help reduce your psoriasis symptoms. A gluten-free diet is an eating plan that excludes foods containing gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye).
One study found that people with gluten sensitivities on gluten-free diets experienced an improvement in psoriasis symptoms. When they returned to their regular diet, their symptoms worsened.3
Understanding food triggers
Don't ignore your own experience with psoriasis. Reducing triggers is an important part of managing your condition and avoiding flare-ups. If your skin gets worse after you eat certain foods, stop eating them and see what happens. That food could be a trigger for you.
Many common food triggers can include sugar and other processed food, dairy, red meat, and nightshades. If you are still trying to identify your triggers, try incorporating a food journal and tracking your response to certain foods.
Straight from the mouth of the psoriasis community
There is nothing quite like finding someone who simply gets the struggle - this is especially true of those who live with psoriasis. On our PlaquePsoriasis.com Facebook page, we asked the community members "Has anyone changed their diet to improve their psoriasis symptoms?" Here are a few of their responses.
I try to. I definitely notice psoriasis is worse for me when I eat too much wheat
Cut gluten and dairy been helping some
"I try to eat less carbs but not a full commitment to call it a diet. I also take a mushroom capsule, omega 3, vitamin d. Has helped a lot!"
What do our advocates have to say?
Hear straight from our advocates about their many different approaches to diet and food choices. Along with research, they share their own diet approaches to managing psoriasis symptoms.
- Diane shares her experience trying new diets to improve symptoms
- Vicki provides insight into what she sees as the most common food triggers
- Gemma talks lessons learned from a vegan diet
- Jack asks the question if consuming alcohol can make you scratch
Listen to your body
Any diet that cuts down on the amount of junk food and alcohol you eat and drink will improve your overall health. With all this said, obesity is a major trigger for psoriasis. If you are overweight, embarking on a healthy, weight-loss diet could help control your psoriasis.4
Beware of miracle diets that may have extreme practices that claim to cure psoriasis with things like fasting or enemas. If you're thinking about trying a diet or alternative supplements to improve psoriasis symptoms, it's important to talk to your doctor first.
If you have tried every diet under the sun and nothing has helped, know that food and diet is not a trigger for everyone. Don’t make yourself miserable!
Where on your body does psoriasis bother you the most?