There are several types of psoriasis. Commonly, when you have psoriasis, your body produces skin cells at a far more rapid rate than normal. This causes patches, inflammation, and scaly skin areas. Some patients have symptoms that are more severe and harder to treat, while other patients have fairly mild flare-ups. We do know that psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder and that flare-ups usually include inflammation.
Treatment options include topical creams, oral medication, and light therapy. Your dermatologist might use one or a combination of therapies to treat current outbreaks and to keep future flare-ups from occurring. Most patients develop psoriasis young — by their early 20s at the latest. Some patients have their first flare-ups in childhood. It is most often a life-long condition and there is no known cure.
How Your Diet Affects Psoriasis
So where does diet play into the treatment of psoriasis?
Diet, exercise, and overall lifestyle changes can improve psoriasis symptoms, just as they can improve other aspects of your health. There is currently no conclusive data on diet as a treatment or cause of psoriasis. Many patients find that they have common triggers and that there are foods which do improve their symptoms.
The foods that are thought to decrease symptoms are also healthy foods. So it may be that improvements to overall health can positively impact psoriasis symptoms.
Another interesting thing to note is that people with psoriasis also have a higher than average rate for other autoimmune disorders. One notable disorder that's more common for psoriasis patients is Celiac's Disease — a condition where the body cannot process gluten. Those with psoriasis are also more likely to have a gluten sensitivity. This doesn't necessarily mean that all psoriasis patients should maintain a gluten free diet, but it might be a trigger that you should watch closely or consult with your physician about.
Another consideration with diet is weight loss. There is a scientific link between obesity and psoriasis. For those who are significantly overweight, losing weight can decrease the severity of psoriatic symptoms.
Monitoring Your Diet
While there isn't much in the way of scientific data surrounding things to exclude or include in your diet to treat psoriasis, that's largely because there isn't a large enough pool of data to arrive at definitive conclusions. Psoriasis patients are advised to monitor their diet for triggers. Triggers might be any food or environmental factor that coincides with flare-ups. People who have eczema and other skin conditions will often monitor their diet, as well.
A food journal can help while determining what factors increase your flare-ups. If you've changed your diet significantly to include more healthy options and have seen a decrease in psoriasis, you should note that, as well. This type of journaling can help with meal planning and to determine which foods to increase and decrease for better results.
Over time, many psoriasis patients have a list of things that they notice will trigger symptoms. They don't necessarily eliminate these things completely. Like any diet, you might opt to cheat on occasion and may even find a middle ground where you can have a small amount of one of your trigger items.
Depending on the severity of your psoriasis and the relief you see when abstaining from certain foods, you might consult a physician to see if you have a food allergy that can impact symptoms, as well.
Every individual is different, so your dietary restrictions may be unique to you. Below we've compiled a list of some of the most common foods that improve psoriasis symptoms, as well as common triggers.
Healthy Foods for Psoriasis
There are a number of healthy foods that many patients find decrease psoriasis symptoms. These each have the added bonus that the foods themselves are excellent for your overall health.
Here are some of the most common:
- Vitamin D. Vitamin D is the only thing on this list that is scientifically proven to help psoriasis symptoms. Physicians will often recommend Vitamin D supplements and topical creams which contain vitamin D. Sun exposure is also a routine therapy option for psoriasis patients and that is the key way that the body creates Vitamin D. You can also take Vitamin D in as part of your diet through fortified foods, such as orange juice and milk.
- Antioxidants. Foods like vegetables and fruits that are high in antioxidants are generally good for your immune system, and they have the added benefit that they have anti-inflammatory properties. These include berries, leafy greens, and vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli.
- Omega-3s. Omega-3s are also excellent for the immune system and have anti-inflammatory properties. You can take supplements, such as fish oil. You can also find these properties in fish, such as salmon and cod.
While there are some restrictive diets that might be recommended by a physician if you have conditions such as Celiac's disease, paleo and keto diets are often not recommended for psoriasis alone. The Mediterranean Diet is thought to be one of the best diets for heart, blood sugar, and overall health.
Foods That May Trigger Psoriasis Flare-Ups
You may have individual food sensitivities that won't make this list, but the following are some of the most common triggers for psoriasis:
- Nightshade Foods. These items are connected to inflammation and many psoriasis patients find that items in this family can post a trigger. Foods in the nightshade family include tomatoes and eggplant.
- Sugar. Sugar can be a huge trigger for many people with psoriasis. This might include processed items or homemade treats.
- Processed Meats. This includes red meat items, such as hamburgers and things like sausage or hot dogs.
- Dairy. Milk and other dairy products can be a trigger for many patients.
- Gluten and Processed Foods. Processed foods and other items with gluten are a common trigger.
This list is not extensive and you might experience other items that cause flare-ups. You may also notice that you can eat all of these items with no issues but have trouble with other foods.
Val March – sounds like you might need to get checked for Psoriatic Arthritis. PA classic signs include hairline and ‘halo’ like spots on your scalp and your fingernails start to get waves, pits, then start to lift and get scales underneath. I have had it since I was 7. Good luck.
This a question. can the honey cream be used after the flair ups are gone? you know like body cream?
This sounds very helpful. My breakouts are mostly along my hairline, and very recently starting on my forehead. I now have it on my fingernails…had never heard of that. Anyone else have that, …and any recommendations to help clear it?
Appreciate your time for sending this very helpful, concise ,direct to the point information re ..healthy foods for Psoriasis.
I have a very mild case and certain foods trigger the recurrence of the red blotches on/sides of my arms and legs.
It doesn’t really itch. The psoriasis honey cream gives me good relief too.