If you've been diagnosed with psoriasis, you may have surfed the internet looking for suggestions to help improve this condition. This autoimmune disorder manifests on the skin as red patches with possible itching and burning symptoms (See Reference 1). While there is no specific evidence linking diet and psoriasis, the National Psoriasis Foundation identifies a number of dietary changes potentially beneficial to overall health with this condition. The weight loss, heart healthy, anti-inflammatory and gluten free diets have all been identified as helpful from individuals suffering from psoriasis (See Reference 2). Talk with your doctor before beginning any kind of specialized diet.
With a diagnosis of psoriasis, maintaining a healthy weight is important for your health and to reduce the risk of developing other diseases (See Reference 3, Section 1). The National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute recognize environment, genetics, metabolism and health habits all as contributors to your weight status (See Reference 4, Paragraph 3). In order to lose weight, you must use more energy than you consume. Reduce intake by 500 calories and day and increase physical activity to support weight loss (See Reference 4, Energy Balance). In addition, regularly consume lean meats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy as part of a healthy diet (See Reference 3, Section 2).
Heart Healthy Approach
With an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, a heart healthy diet is important to follow if you have psoriasis. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, several dietary changes can help reduce this risk. Consume salmon, herring or trout two times per week for heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Select lean meats and low-fat dairy to reduce overall dietary fat. Limit alcohol as well as saturated and trans fats for improved heart health. Finally, reduce sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams or less per day (This Section, Reference 5).
While there is no specific evidence, following an anti-inflammatory diet has been identified by individuals with psoriasis as a method to improve symptoms. Similar to the heart healthy and weight loss diet, this diet emphasizes food sources rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. To reduce inflammation, select coldwater fish, flax seed, olive oil and a variety of fresh, darkly colored fruits and vegetables. Foods that contribute to inflammation and should be avoided are high-fat red meats, dairy products, processed foods, refined sugars and potatoes, tomatoes and peppers or nightshade vegetables (This Section- See Reference 6).
Sensitivity to gluten is common in approximately 25 percent of individuals with psoriasis (Reference 7, Sentence 1). While more research is needed to identify a clear link between gluten intake and improvement psoriasis symptoms, a gluten-free diet may improve symptoms if you have this sensitivity (Reference 7, Section 2). Gluten is part of wheat, barley, rye and any foods derived from these grains. Reading labels is important, as gluten is found in additives needed for processed foods (Reference 7, Section 2). In order to determine diet effectiveness, eat only gluten-free foods for a minimum of three months (Reference 7, Section 5). Also, consult with your physician before starting this diet, to determine if this is the best approach for you (See Reference 7).
- National Psoriasis Foundation: Symptoms and Diagnosis
- National Psoriasis Foundation: Diet and Nutrition
- National Psoriasis Foundation: Weight-Loss Diet
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institue: Aim For a Healthy Weight
- National Psoriasis Foundation: Heart Healthy Diet
- National Psoriasis Foundation:Anti-Inflammatory Diet
- National Psoriasis Foundation: Gluten-Free Diet