Combating Psoriatic Arthritis Flares With Food

Patient Expert

Each of us has our own tricks for successfully getting through a flare. We may have our go-to heating pad and ice packs, our ointments or rubs that we use for inflammation, as well as other tools and tips we can draw upon. But are you also thinking about your food choices during these times? Is food one of your top “tricks” for helping to ease your discomfort?

What foods should we avoid during flares?

I don’t believe there is one diet that fits all. Any chronic condition, like psoriatic disease, can affect two people very differently. Therefore, it’s hard to give an exact list of the foods that will help everyone fight off a flare. However, during these times, there are some general foods or food groups which tend to be better for you and foods we should all avoid for overall health.

As a guideline, you may want to consider steering clear of:

We should do our best to avoid these foods regularly, but especially when we’re in a flare. Why? Because we need to help cut down the overall inflammation in our bodies. The best thing we can do for this is to create an environment where our immune systems can calm down and regain control of what they should be doing. Until science gives us the magic key to accomplishing that feat, we can help support our bodies by giving them the fuel they need to thrive.

Which foods should we gravitate toward during a flare?

Digestion takes a lot of energy from our body. By choosing optimized foods, we take the load off our digestion system, and free up energy for our body to use in other places - like fighting off a flare!

What are some go-to foods?

  • Omega-3 foods

Omega-3’s are natural anti-inflammatories. They are our friends - especially in a flare! Foods like chia seeds, flax seed, wild caught pacific salmon, and walnuts are great natural options when adding omega-3’s into our meals. By incorporating these foods into our daily routines, we can promote a more anti-inflammatory environment in our body. When we’re flaring, it’s exceptionally important to focus on these foods.

  • Fresh fruits and veggies

There are so many phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables, it can seem like a no brainer to turn to these foods. By supplying our bodies with the nutrients they need to do their job, we’ll better equip our bodies to get over flares more quickly.

Low on energy? Turn to fruits! Many people shy away from fruits because of the high sugar content, but the sugar and carbs in fruits are beneficial for our body. Our body is so efficient at digesting and using these carbs, they’re a great go-to. Oranges, bananas, wild blueberries - eat all the fruits!

  • Easy-to-digest foods

Cooking our food changes the nutrient content in our food, so the best way to get the nutrients you need are to eat a mix of raw and cooked vegetables. If your digestive system can handle it, try eating as many raw foods as possible. But, with autoimmune conditions, many times our digestive systems aren’t working efficiently enough to deal with all raw foods. That’s where smoothies, juicing, steaming, roasting, and sauteing your food can come in handy. Whatever you decide, just load up on your fruits and veggies because this is exactly what your body wants and needs!


Two final tips

  • Plan ahead! Whenever you make a nutritious meal, freeze a few portions so you have them on hand. That way when you’re not feeling well, you can just warm it up and eat!

  • Make a smoothie. Grab some fruit, coconut water, and chia seeds. If you want to help balance out the smoothie, add some greens or celery. A smoothie will not only pack an energy punch, but will also fill you up and help you fight your flare. Coconut water replenishes your electrolytes, chia seeds fight inflammation, and raw fruits and vegetables flood your body with awesome nutrients! Keep in mind to add smoothies to your diet in moderation, to avoid overloading on natural sugars or high-carbs.

The most important fact to remember during a flare is that you’ll get through it! Look at your track record: you’ve made it through 100 percent of the challenges you’ve encountered so far in life. This one will be no different! Honor yourself, make the best possible choices you can and allow your body to rest.

If you’re looking for more information to help you determine exactly what foods are good and bad for you, I’d suggest you reading this article on how an elimination diet can help your psoriatic disease.