Food cannot cure or even treat psoriasis, but eating better might reduce symptoms.
University of Pennsylvania psoriasis researcher Dr. Joel Gelfand supports patients following a healthful diet, but says people should keep their doctors informed about the changes they are making—and be careful not to do anything that might actually cause harm. “The downside [of changing the way you eat] is the time, cost and energy to follow a diet you may not enjoy, and that won’t have proven benefits for your health.”
These five lifestyle changes may help ease symptoms of psoriasis and reduce flares:
1. Drink less alcohol:
Alcohol consumption can increase your risks of a flare. Cut back or quit entirely. Talk with your doctor if you have a problem with alcohol.
2. Foods That Fight Inflammation:
Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition. Research is limited, but some people who have psoriasis say they can manage it better if they eat more inflammation-fighting foods.
Foods to include in your diet that have been shown to reduce inflammation:
- Cold-water fish (see the Heart-Healthy diet above).
- Flaxseeds, olive oil, pumpkin seeds and walnuts. These are plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Colorful fresh fruits and vegetables. Choose foods from the colors of the rainbow.
Nutritious examples are:
- Squash and sweet potatoes
- Kale and broccoli
- Strawberries and figs
3. The bottom line on Gluten:
Eliminating gluten from your diet may help reduce your psoriasis symptoms as well as eliminate digestive woes, but it’s only likely to help if gluten is a problem food for you in the first place.
The Celiac Disease Foundation provides a list of foods to eat and those to avoid on a gluten-free diet, it may be helpful to reference when planning your meals.
4. Vitamins and Supplements:
Studies have not shown a direct link between vitamins and dietary supplements and psoriatic disease. Yet many people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis find that including vitamins and supplements in their diet helps clear their skin and may ease joint pain.
Dietary supplements can be extracts or concentrates, and they can occur in many forms, such as tablets, capsules, softgels, gelcaps, liquids or powders.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to decrease inflammation, and psoriasis is a disease of inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids also seem to have a positive impact on the body’s immune system.