Each one of us has our own tricks for getting through a psoriatic arthritis 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?
If not, maybe it should be.
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 avoiding:
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 system can calm down. 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.
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-3s are natural anti-inflammatories. They are our friends, especially in a flare! Foods like chia seeds, flax seed, wild-caught salmon (from the Pacific is great), and walnuts are healthy options when adding omega-3s into our diet. 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 types of foods.
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 fruit! Many people shy away from fruit because of the high sugar content, but these sugar and carbs 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!
Cooking our food changes the nutrient content, so the best way to get the nutrients you need are to eat a mix of raw and cooked vegetables. 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 sautéing 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 during a flare!
Two final tips
- Plan ahead! Whenever you make a nutritious meal, make extra and freeze a few portions so you have them on hand. That way when you’re not feeling well, you can just warm the meal and eat!
- Make a quick smoothie. Grab some fruit, coconut water, and chia seeds. If you want to balance out the smoothie with veggies, add some greens or celery. 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 fruit 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 choices you can, and allow your body to rest.