Written by Pooja Srivastava Banerjee, M. Pharm | 
Article Reviewed by Dietitian Shirley Johanna, M.Sc, M.Phil on Aug 01, 2016

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis can be defined as a chronic skin disease caused due to the inflammation mediated by an immune system disorder. Environmental factors such as infections and stress are the biggest influencers of psoriatic disease. Various risk factors have been identified to cause psoriasis such as diet, obesity, smoking, stress, and alcohol consumption.


Does Diet Treatment for Psoriasis Work?

The best diet for psoriasis is comprised of low energy diets and vegetarian diets with fasting periods. Dietary factors are also responsible in changing the effect, metabolization and elimination of the drugs from the body.

Research studies from recent past have made it amply clear that diet may have an influence on the outcome of various dermatological conditions. It is a very well-known fact that psoriasis can increase the risk of cardiovascular disorders in patients. As part of lifestyle changes, diet to treat psoriasis has been recommended as an effective means of treatment; it also reduces risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Few other studies have also confirmed the association of psoriasis with an increased incidence of diabetes, dyslipidemia and obesity. Psoriasis is also an independent risk factor for myocardial infarction.

Hence, a heart healthy diet, anti-inflammatory diet, gluten-free diet and vitamins and supplements can not only treat psoriatic disease but also reduce the risk factors, which can lead to cardiovascular diseases.

Diet Treatment for Psoriasis

There is a positive association between psoriasis and diet, and a number of individual food ingredients have been reported to have an effect on psoriasis. These food ingredients are rich in antioxidants and oligo elements, which reduce oxidative stress on the cells and also alleviate symptoms of chronic systemic inflammatory disorders like psoriasis. Antioxidants like fish oil, vitamins A, E and C and elements like iron, copper, manganese, zinc and selenium have to be included for diet to be effective as treatment for psoriasis. Vitamin D also plays a key role here.

Diet plan of psoriasis should include more of fruit and vegetables, legumes, grains and cereals, fish and other seafood, nuts, and less of dairy products, meat and meat products and moderate quantity of alcohol primarily in the form of wine during meals. The lipid should be obtained from extra virgin olive oil. Examples of fruits and vegetable, which should be a part of the diet to treat psoriasis, include carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, broccoli, blueberries, mangoes, strawberries and figs.

Role of Anti-Inflammatory Diet in Psoriasis

Dietary intervention has been recommended to patients with psoriasis as the foundation of reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases by improving cardiac risk factors. Diet treatment for psoriasis also serves as a foundation stone for therapy of diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia. Anti-inflammatory diet in psoriasis is a specific dietary profile, which is related with an improvement in the heart function and also reduces the concentration of inflammatory chemicals in serum.

In view of the above considerations, it has been recommended by physicians that diet for psoriasis should comprise of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and omega 3 fatty acids. A diet plan comprising of health foods rich in antioxidants and polyphenols such as plant foods, fruits, red wine, extra virgin olive oil are especially beneficial as anti-inflammatory diet for psoriasis because they are known to reduce the risk factors leading to chronic inflammatory conditions.

The anti-inflammatory diet for psoriasis should be made up of:

  • Cold water fish containing omega-3 fatty oils such as albacore tuna, mackerel, salmon, herring and lake trout.
Anti Inflammatory Diet Salmon
  • Plant sources of omega 3 fatty acids such as flaxseeds, olive oil, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
  • Colourful fruits and vegetables.

Healthy Diet for Psoriasis

  • Gluten free diet: It is present in certain grass related grains such as wheat, rye and barley, which are triggering factors for psoriasis. Stay clear of gluten, and your symptoms will reduce by almost 40% to 50%.
  • Say no to alcohol: Alcohol consumption worsens the condition of psoriasis by dilating the blood vessels and by causing dehydration of the skin.
  • No sugar: Too much sugar should be avoided as sugar worsens symptoms. Sugar in any form should be avoided including fruit sugars or fruit juices. Other categories of food to avoid include processed foods and sugary desserts.
Avoid Sugar During Psoriasis
  • Detox diet: A detox diet does not contain sugar, gluten, red meat, alcohol and dairy products as they all work towards worsening the psoriasis. Processed foods use certain chemical additives and preservatives, which may cause irritation or enhanced skin sensitivity in psoriatic disease. Also, stop smoking completely. Heavy smoking puts you at risk of acquiring psoriatic disease.

What to Avoid?

Worst foods for psoriasis are those, which are known to cause or enhance inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis. The food to avoid with psoriasis includes:

  • Fatty red meats
  • Dairy products
  • Processed foods
  • Refined sugars
  • Nightshade vegetables such potatoes, tomatoes and peppers.

Reducing the intake of red meat can also lead to a reduction of the inflammation in psoriasis.

Latest Publications and Research on Diet for Psoriasis

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