Foods to Avoid When Living with Psoriasis

Julie Cerrone Croner | March 11, 2016 Nov 13, 2016

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In a perfect world, the best diet would be to eat a little bit of everything. Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with a chronic condition such as psoriatic disease, you must be strict with your diet. Food is known to trigger your immune system, causing you any number of symptoms. Each of us will have different trigger foods, but the following are examples of foods that may be aggravating your psoriatic disease.

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The standard American diet is full of sugar! It’s hard to find an ingredient label which doesn’t include some form of sugar. Many products are cutting fats with “low fat” or “low calorie” labels. But to keep the taste of the product, they’re pumping them full of sugar. Sugar has been shown increase the risk of insulin resistance, immune suppression, inflammation and weight gain. It’s also addictive and causes cravings!

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Did you know the sugars in dairy are addictive? That’s why it can be so hard to give up. But, sugars and proteins in dairy (ie. lactose and casein) are two major players when it comes to invoking immune reactions, and can be very difficult to digest. If you have a fully functioning digestive system, you may not have problems. But when your body is under the stress of battling a chronic condition, you may want to avoid these proteins.

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Dairy is also acid forming

What this means is that your body has to work hard to balance out its pH after you consume it. We often think dairy is an important staple in our diet because of the calcium it provides. But if you’re not including alkalizing foods to counterbalance dairy’s acidity, you actually may be leaching calcium from your bones.

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Gluten and grains

Gluten is a protein within grains protect it from predators and ensure survival. A human’s digestive tract is not equipped to completely break down this protein, but may be fine if you have a healthy functioning digestive tract. However, within autoimmune conditions, gut health is usually somewhat lacking. If your digestive process isn’t working optimally, your body may run into trouble digesting these proteins.

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What about gluten-free?

When your body has trouble with gluten, and battles other conditions, cross-reaction may occur. This is when your body begins to look at all grains (and other foods such as corn, quinoa, chocolate, coffee and tapioca) as gluten. Going gluten free can help and used as a bridge, but I’ve seen that most autoimmune patients must go completely grain-free. If you remove gluten and in 6 months are still having fatigue issues, breakouts, joint pain and inflammation, I’d suggest cutting ALL grains.

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Soy is often touted as a health food, but can cause real problems for those with autoimmune conditions. You may think you don’t eat soy regularly, but it has become one of the top genetically modified crops in the U.S.  There are benefits to soy, but try to avoid soy protein concentrates or isolates, non-organic sources of soy, and processed soy cheese and ice cream. If you must eat soy, your best option is to stick to organic, fermented soy.

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This high glycemic index vegetable, packed full of sugar, can cause cross-reactive reactions within your body. But many times when people cut out gluten, they’ll fall back on corn options. At first, it may help by decreasing exposure to harmful proteins, but over time you may start to notice that corn is still giving you problems. I see time and time again, once a patient removes corn from their diet, the stiffness, pain and swelling significantly decreases.

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Soy, corn and canola are the top genetically modified crops in the United States. That being said, there are unfortunately no long-term studies on how genetically modified crops affect the human body…YET. Here is a great article talking about the debate and current study findings on GMO products.

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Why say no to GMO?

There are, however, many anecdotal patient stories on how GMOs seem to exacerbate their chronic condition symptoms. Here’s an example of a patient story published in Elle magazine! GMO’s vs. Non-GMOs is a very touchy subject, with many different opinions, but in my professional opinion and patient experience, I’ve seen autoimmune patients thrive on diets that omit GMOs.

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There really is no “one diet fits all” and the best way to identify your specific triggers is through an elimination diet. Through an elimination diet, you identify exactly what foods are exacerbating your symptoms and which are safe to eat for your body.

NEXT: How to Live Well with Psoriasis
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