Psoriasis is an incurable, chronic skin condition. Most often, this condition affects the skin on the elbows, knees, and scalp. This condition is thought to be a disease that arises due to a faulty immune system that causes skin cells to grow too quickly – new skin cells form in a span of a few days instead of weeks.
Although incurable, there are ways you can avoid triggers. One of it is being mindful of what goes into your mouth.
Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition, which means it is essential to follow an anti-inflammatory diet. Also, experts say that being overweight can worsen the condition; therefore, keeping a check on your body weight is a necessity.
Therefore, it is important to know what you should include and exclude in your diet. Here are a few foods that may help you decide what’s good or what’s bad for you and your condition.
Foods To Include If You Have Psoriasis
Those suffering from psoriasis have benefited from anti-inflammatory foods as they may help reduce the symptoms of the condition. The following foods have been shown to reduce inflammation.
Omega-3 fatty acids present in fish and fish oil may help prevent heart disease which is a good news for those with psoriasis because they are at a high risk of developing heart diseases.
The most influential omega-3 fatty acids are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).1
These fatty acids are also abundantly found in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna. Including fatty fish at least twice a week is a good idea for those with psoriasis.
Grilling fish in some healthy oils like olive oil is a good way to add fish to your diet. Have it for dinner with some steamed vegetables to go with it.
For vegetarians, plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseeds, olive oil, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts.
2. Squash And Spinach
Don’t restrict yourself to eating just squash and sweet potatoes because the title says so. It is important to include almost all the colorful vegetables available.
Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, collards etc may help fight inflammation, which is good for psoriasis.2
Carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli, etc. are other inflammation fighting vegetables that you may want to add to your diet.
Steaming vegetables and having them as sides with your meat is a way to have them. Having them for snacks may be a healthy idea, too. You can have vegetable sticks like carrots or zucchini with a dip of your choice like hummus, for instance.
3. Healthy Grains
As mentioned earlier, weight is crucial when it comes to psoriasis patients. A healthy way to feel full at the same time take care of unwanted weight gain is by eating healthy grains like quinoa, oats, brown rice, buckwheat, rye, corn, etc.
Grains are rich sources of fiber and fiber makes you feel full easily and for a longer duration. Dietary fiber-rich foods reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases and also help to maintain a balance in the blood sugars thereby reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.3
A portion of brown rice for lunch with some curry or lean meat and vegetables, oatmeal with fruits for breakfast, or even having corn in your salads are ways by which you can include healthy grains in your diet. You can also use whole-grain breads to make sandwiches instead of using white bread.
4. Lean White Meat
Meat is a source of protein and other nutrients for the body. However, those with psoriasis have to be careful when it comes to meat. Red meat is known to promote inflammation in the body which is not good for those with the skin condition.
Therefore, sticking to lean white meat like chicken or turkey may be a better option for psoriasis patients.
Lean meat provides necessary calories and reduces the cholesterol and fats present in the body. This way consuming lean meat may also help in maintaining a healthy weight, which is important for psoriasis patients.
5. Nuts And Avocados
Nuts and avocados are rich sources of good and healthy fats. Scientifically, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered good fats or heart-healthy fats.
Good fats can improve your blood cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Foods with good fats include nuts like almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans; vegetable oils like olive oil and canola oil; butters like peanut butter and almond butter.
Choosing and including rainbow-colored fruits in your diet may help in reducing the symptoms of psoriasis.
Most fruits, like vegetables, are loaded with antioxidants and can help fight free radicals, thereby, reducing damage to cells.
Anthocyanins in cherries and other fruits like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc. have shown anti-inflammatory effects.4
Vitamin C-rich fruits like oranges, limes, grapefruits, and others like mangoes and figs are also good for fighting inflammation and, eventually, reducing psoriasis symptoms.
Foods To Avoid If You Have Psoriasis
Since psoriasis is an inflammatory condition, any food that triggers inflammation should be reduced or completely avoided to prevent the worsening of the skin condition.
Let’s examine, in brief, the foods psoriasis patients should avoid.5
- Refined sugars: Refined or processed sugar is bad for health, in general. This not only promotes inflammation but also encourages unnecessary weight gain which may aggravate the symptoms of psoriasis.
- Fatty red meats: Red meat like beef and pork have been known to promote inflammation. Results of certain animal studies have shown that red meat may promote inflammation and may also cause cancer.6
- Dairy products: Sometimes, dairy products may pose a threat to psoriasis patients. This may not be true for all. If dairy is not a problem for your health, choosing low-fat milk products and milk substitutes may help.
- Processed foods: Processed foods like crisps, sausage rolls, pies, pastries, fried foods, etc promote inflammation and may increase your weight. Avoiding these completely may encourage a healthy diet.
- Nightshade vegetables: Although there is no scientific evidence, some patients report that nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, and certain peppers may aggravate the skin condition. This may not be true for all. However, if you notice that your condition worsens after having nightshade vegetables, then try to avoid them in your diet.
For some individuals, avoiding gluten may help, too. This, of course, is only true for those with gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance. If you have no allergic reactions to gluten, you may want to talk to your healthcare provider before going gluten-free on your own.
Therefore, taking good care of yourself which includes eating a balanced diet and avoiding foods that may trigger psoriasis symptoms, exercising, and quitting habits like smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol may lessen the severity of the skin condition. Always consult your doctor before changing your existing diet.
|↑1||Fish oil: Does it really help psoriasis?. National Psoriasis Foundation.|
|↑2||Foods that fight inflammation. Harvard Medical School.|
|↑3||Spiller, Gene A., ed. CRC handbook of dietary fiber in human nutrition. CRC Press, 2001.|
|↑4||Bowen-Forbes, Camille S., Yanjun Zhang, and Muraleedharan G. Nair. “Anthocyanin content, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties of blackberry and raspberry fruits.” Journal of food composition and analysis 23, no. 6 (2010): 554-560.|
|↑5||Diet and psoriasis. National Psoriasis Foundation.|
|↑6||Sugar Molecule Links Red Meat Consumption and Elevated Cancer Risk in Mice. University of California (UC) San Diego Health.|