Like everyone else, people with psoriasis feel their best when they consistently eat a healthy, balanced diet. There is no specific diet for psoriasis, but many physicians and researchers studying the effects of nutrition in people with psoriasis recommend a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, and unsaturated fats. Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the severity of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Some popular diets may contain toxic levels of some nutrients or dangerously low levels of others. No diet is ever a good substitute for clinically proven psoriasis drug therapies.
What does it involve?
Always consult your doctor before making significant changes to your diet.
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for managing psoriasis. Being overweight is linked with more severe psoriasis symptoms and the development of psoriatic arthritis. Consult your doctor to determine a healthy target weight for you.
Scientists have found evidence that people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are at greater risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. Like psoriasis, these diseases are associated with inflammation. Unsaturated fat may help fight inflammation as well as heart disease. Choose foods high in unsaturated fat, plus vegetables and fruit. Unsaturated fat is plentiful in walnuts, pecans, flaxseed, canola and olive oil, and fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, lake trout and sardines. These foods are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. If you have heart disease, ask your doctor how much and what kind of fats are appropriate for you to eat.
Antioxidants are nutrients that may help prevent cancer and reduce inflammation. Fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants, including Vitamin C. Foods such as cantaloupe, citrus, tomatoes, mango, pineapple, and berries are especially rich in Vitamin C. Fresh produce is also often high in fiber, vitamins and minerals and lower in calories. Eat as many of these foods as possible.
Avoiding sugar, saturated fats, and processed or refined foods may help fight inflammation associated with psoriasis symptoms. Whole-grain products are less refined and processed. Make the switch from white bread to whole-grain, from white rice to brown rice, or from regular pasta to whole-grain pasta. Always check labels to make sure products are whole-grain. When choosing protein sources, avoid red meat and full-fat dairy, which contain saturated fats, and choose leaner meats such as chicken and fish and low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Similarly, cooking with olive oil instead of butter replaces saturated fats with unsaturated fats.
Studies have indicated that those who drink more alcohol are likely to have more severe psoriasis symptoms. Consider limiting your intake of alcoholic beverages.
Recent research has shown that some people with psoriasis experience improvement in their symptoms when they eliminate gluten, a protein found in wheat and some other grains. Gluten can be very difficult to avoid, especially in processed foods. However, there are many new specialty gluten-free products on the market.
You may have food allergies or other reactions to certain foods that exacerbate your psoriasis symptoms or medication side effects whenever you eat them. If you suspect you have problems with certain foods, begin keeping a food journal that tracks what you eat and how you feel each day. You can also ask your doctor for an allergy test.
Eating a nutritious diet can help you fight psoriasis symptoms, avoid developing related diseases, and maintain optimal health.
An article published in 2015 reviewed five studies on weight loss in overweight or obese people with psoriasis. The researchers concluded that in overweight or obese people, losing weight through lifestyle changes (diet and exercise) seems to reduce the severity of psoriasis symptoms.
In a 2006 article, researchers examined the role of diet in people with psoriasis. In the conclusion, the researchers state that some people with psoriasis are sensitive to gluten and experience an improvement in their symptoms when they avoid the protein.
You may feel disappointed to give up favorite foods. However, think of diet changes as a chance to explore unfamiliar foods and find new favorites.
Some diets, such as the gluten-free diet, may be challenging or expensive to maintain.
Depending on where you live, it may be harder to get to a grocery store with a good selection of produce and other healthy foods.