6 Diet Tweaks That May Help Ease Psoriasis

Nutrition and psoriasis

While dietary changes won't cure psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, or related conditions, eating certain foods—and avoiding others—may provide relief for some people. Here are six nutrition tips from the National Psoriasis Foundation.

1. Adopt a Mediterranean diet

People with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis face an increased risk of conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. Following a traditional Mediterranean diet can help manage these. It's heavy on olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes and seeds, herbs and spices, fruits, vegetables, grains, fish, and seafood. Poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt are eaten in moderation, while sweets and meats are generally avoided.

2. Eat fish

While fish is part of the Mediterranean diet, it's important enough for its own mention. Foods containing omega-3 fats—particularly salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies—have been found to reduce the severity of psoriasis in some patients.

3. Take probiotics

Some experts have reported success in tempering psoriasis with probiotics, a bacteria found in the intestines and in foods such as yogurt and some supplements.

4. Expand your oils

As with fish, certain oils are recommended because of their anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, such as olive oil and nut oils. These oils can be used in cooking, for sautéing vegetables, or for dressing a salad. Other oils thought to have beneficial properties include flaxseed, evening primrose and borage, and black currant seed oil.

5. Spice it up

A 2012 review by the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology noted the ability of turmeric—a popular spice in curry—to combat inflammation. Using herbs and spices can help lower salt intake, which decreases blood pressure and lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke. In addition, herbs and spices have antioxidant properties.

6. Cut sugar, alcohol, and gluten

Foods that trigger inflammation should be avoided. Alcohol should be consumed in moderation, as it tends to worsen psoriasis. Dairy, caffeine, and corn can also trigger inflammation and should be avoided. Gluten may aggravate symptoms, so it’s important for those with the condition to understand how grains such as wheat, barley, and rye affect them.

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HealthAfter50 was published by the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, providing up-to-date, evidence-based research and expert advice on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a wide range of health conditions affecting adults in middle age and beyond. It was previously part of Remedy Health Media's network of digital and print publications, which also include HealthCentral; HIV/AIDS resources The Body and The Body Pro; the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter; and the Berkeley Wellness website. All content from HA50 merged into Healthcentral.com in 2018.