Diet Plan For Psoriasis

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Diet plan for psoriasis can be a highly individualized treatment regimen. The key is to identify triggers that aggravate your psoriasis, as well as those that improve it. In addition to the dietary modifications outlined here, some topical medications contain steroids and work best when used with a special diet. If you undergo a medical evaluation for symptoms like abdominal discomfort, diarrhea or constipation and joint pain, your doctor may refer you to a dietitian to create a personalized eating plan.

What is the relationship between psoriasis and your diet?

Psoriasis is a chronic (long-term) autoimmune skin disorder. “The body mistakenly attacks its own tissue,” explains Wesdock. “It starts overproducing skin cells, which lays down plaques on your skin.” Plaques are red, scaly patches that can be itchy or painful. Sometimes psoriasis is accompanied by psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory joint condition.

Neither of these conditions is caused by anything you eat, but there’s an important link between your diet and psoriasis. Many foods are known to cause inflammation throughout the body. In some people, this widespread irritation can make the symptoms of psoriasis worse.

How do foods cause inflammation?

Studies are ongoing about how certain foods trigger an inflammatory response. Research suggests that some foods, especially highly processed ones, put your body’s defense mechanisms into overdrive.

For example, fatty foods can increase inflammation in adipose tissue (body fat), which is throughout your body. Ongoing fat tissue inflammation (common in people who are overweight or obese) greatly increases your risk of psoriasis. It also increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other chronic health conditions.

Foods to Avoid With Psoriasis

Many of the same high calorie foods that can lead to weight gain and increase the risk for obesity, diabetes and heart disease are also inflammatory. There are several categories of inflammatory foods that can make psoriasis symptoms worse.

Alcohol

Excessive alcohol consumption makes your liver work overtime. It has to produce chemicals to metabolize the alcohol, which can lead to long-term inflammation if you drink heavily or regularly. Alcohol can also damage the good bacteria in your gut, which can lead to inflammation in your colon and intestines.

Dairy

Many dairy products tend to be high in fat, which can lead to inflammation. Products that contain cow’s milk also contain casein, a protein that some people have trouble digesting. People who are lactose intolerant don’t have enough of the digestive enzyme lactase. Chronic gastrointestinal irritation from these conditions can make inflammation worse. For some people, psoriasis symptoms improve when they cut dairy from their diet.

Foods containing refined carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates are highly processed (think white bread, white rice, pasta, pastries and some breakfast cereals). They’ve been stripped of fiber and whole grains and tend to contain a lot of sugar, which can cause your blood sugar to spike. Refined carbohydrates also increase advanced glycation end products, which are substances in your blood that can lead to inflammation.

Foods with saturated fats and trans fats

Fats in red meat, cheese, fried food, margarine, fast food and many processed snacks are known to trigger inflammation in the body. These fats increase the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in your blood, also called “bad cholesterol.” Studies suggest there may be a link between excess fat in the body and development of psoriasis and worsening of psoriasis symptoms.

Foods high in added sugar

Added sugars in soda, fruit juices, candy, baked goods and other sweets are different from natural sugars in food such as fruit. Our bodies produce insulin to process sugar, but too much added sugar forces our bodies to store that extra energy in fat cells and inflame the fat tissue. Foods with lots of added sugars can also lead to increased levels of inflammatory proteins called cytokines. Some studies suggest that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame may also lead to chronic inflammation.

Foods that contain gluten

Research suggests that people with psoriasis tend to have higher rates of celiac disease. In people with celiac disease, gluten (a protein in wheat and some other grains) triggers an autoimmune response that causes the body to attack tissues in the small intestine. People with celiac disease need to avoid gluten completely, though some people without the disease have found that reducing gluten in their diet lessens psoriasis flare-ups.

How can I get started with a psoriasis diet?

If you’re going to change your diet to combat psoriasis, Wesdock recommends starting slowly. Jumping into a highly restrictive diet isn’t usually sustainable and may deprive you of important nutrients. Instead, start by cutting out some highly processed foods.

Substitute the pastries and cookies with fresh fruit. Opt for herbal tea or water flavored with fresh fruit, mint or cucumber. If you think there’s a specific food or ingredient that’s triggering psoriasis flare-ups, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian.

Being overweight or obese can also make psoriasis worse, so you may want to start a weight loss plan that includes fewer calories and smaller portion sizes. Any psoriasis treatment diet should be accompanied by healthy lifestyle choices. Get plenty of sleep and regular exercise, and try to reduce stress in your life. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about a plan to quit.

Allowed foods

The foods that are allowed and can be eaten regularly include:

1. Whole grains

Whole grains are carbohydrates that contain a lower glycemic index which are also a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Food that has a low glycemic index can reduce inflammation, and consequently the symptoms of psoriasis.

Examples: whole-grain bread, whole-grain pasta or egg pasta, brown or parboiled rice, corn, and oats.

2. Fatty fish

Fatty fish is an important source of omega-3, which has anti-inflammatory proprieties. Also, fish in general is a good source of B complex vitamins, vitamin A and minerals like selenium, that help reduce wounds, erythema, scaling skin, and itchiness.

Examples: tuna, sardine, trout, and salmon.

3. Seeds

As well as being high in fiber, seeds also have a lot of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E, selenium, and magnesium. Seeds help reduce reactions within the inflammatory process and decrease psoriasis symptoms.

Examples: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, chia, amongst others 

4. Fruit

Varying your intake of fruit every day increases the amount of fiber in your diet as well as guaranteeing a good intake of vitamins and minerals, such as B complex vitamins, vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium, and even flavonoids. Taking these types of vitamins helps to heal skin lesions faster.

Examples: orange, lemon, acerola cherry, kiwi, banana, avocado, mango, papaya, grapes, blackberries, raspberries.

5. Vegetables and leafy greens 

Vegetables provide a good amount of fiber, and they are sources of vitamins A and C, and folic acid. They also act as antioxidants, reducing inflammation and consequently the symptoms of psoriasis.

Examples: carrot, sweet potato, beetroot, spinach, cabbage, and broccoli.

6. Olive-oil 

Olive-oil is a good source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, a good kind of fat that can help decrease the inflammatory process. Other vegetable oils can also be used, since they are a good source of vitamin E, which is very important for the skin.

Examples: extra virgin olive oil, sunflower oil, wheat germ oil.

Trigger foods to avoid  

Some foods can stimulate inflammation and be considered trigger foods for psoriasis, causing new flares or worsening symptoms. You must avoid:

  • Red meat and fried foods: these foods increase your consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol, encouraging inflammation and increasing your chances of getting a flare-up;
  • Sugar and white flour such as sweets, white bread, and cookies. These are carbohydrates with a high glycemic index, and the higher the GI, the higher the risk of triggering inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis;
  • Processed foods: foods with a lot of additives or processed meats, such as smoked ham, sausages, salami, among others, can cause a build up of toxins inside the body, favoring an inflammatory response in addition to affecting skin health.

Alcoholic drinks must also be avoided, as they can increase itchiness and hinder the absorption of most medications used for treating psoriasis. Learn more about the symptoms of psoriasis and how it is treated. 

3-day example meal plan for a psoriasis diet

In the table below we show you an example meal plan that you can follow to help avoid psoriasis from getting worse:

MealDay 1Day 2Day 3
Breakfast2 whole-wheat pancakes with peanut butter and chopped up fruit 2 slices of wholegrain bread with 2 slices of white cheese  + 1 orangeOatmeal made with skim milk and a tablespoon of chia seeds  + mix of seeds 
Morning snack½ papaya + 1 tablespoon of oats 1 apple1 low-fat yogurt with 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds and 6 walnuts 
Lunch/Dinner1 grilled chicken breast with half a cup of brown rice and half a cup of beans, with a lettuce, cucumber, and tomato salad seasoned with 1 tablespoon of olive oil  + 1 pineapple sliceWhole-grain pasta with tuna with a broccoli and carrot salad seasoned with 1 tablespoon of olive-oil + 1 slice of melonBoiled fish with vegetables  + half a cup brown rice  + vegetable salad seasoned with extra virgin olive-oil  + 1 pear
Afternoon snack1 smoothie made with natural yogurt, strawberry, and banana  + 1 tablespoon of chia seeds Guacamole with onion and bell pepper  + 2 wholegrain slices of toast 1 banana with cinnamon 

Diet Chart

Sunday
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Brussels Sprouts (1 cup) + Green Tea (1 cup)
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 Orange + Tender coconut water (1/2 cup)
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)2 Chapati + Rajma (1 cup)
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)Veg. Soup (1/2 cup)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)Chapati (2) + Bottle gourd curry (1/2 cup) + Cod Liver Oil (1 capsule)/ 2 white til laddoo
Monday
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Boiled Veg. Salad (carrots, broccoli, spring onions) 1 cup + Green Tea (1 cup)
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)2 Chikus + Tender coconut water (1/2 cup)
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)Parboiled Rice (1 cup) + Fish oil (1/3rd cup) + Lentil soup (1/2 cup)
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)Sauteed Bell pepers-Spring Onions n Tomato (1/2 cup)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)Chapati (2) + Ridge gourd curry (1/2 cup) + 2 white til laddoo
Tuesday
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Broccoli with Spring Onions n Mushroom soup (1 cup) + 3-4 Raisins
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)Pomegranate (1/2 cup) + Tender coconut water (1/2 cup)
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)2 Chapati + Chickpeas (1/3rd cup) + Bitter gourd curry (1/3rd cup)
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)Tomato Soup (1/2 cup) + Toast (2 slices)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)Chapati (2) + Mix veg. curry (1/2 cup) + 2 white til laddoo
Wednesday
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Oats meals with Strawberry (1 cup) + 1 Green Tea (1 cup)
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)Grapes (1/2 cup) + Tender coconut water (1/2 cup)
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)Veg. pulav (1 cup) + Dum aloo (1/2 cup) + Roasted papad (1-2)
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)Chicken stew (1/2 cup)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)Chapati (2) + Snake gourd curry (1/2 cup)+ Cod Liver Oil (1 capsule)/ 2 white til laddoo
Thursday
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Boiled Corns n Carrots (1 cup) + Green Tea (1 cup)
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 Guava + Tender coconut water (1/2 cup)
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)Parboiled rice (1 cup) + Fish Curry (1/2 cup) + Lentil soup (1/2 cup)
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)Sauteed Bell pepers-Spring Onions n Tomato (1/2 cup)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)Chapati (2) + Baked Carrot n Beetroot (1/2 cup) + 2 white til laddoo
Friday
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Boiled Veg. Salad (carrots, broccoli, spring onions) 1 cup + Green Tea (1 cup)
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 Kiwi + Tender coconut water (1/2 cup)
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)2 Chapati + Potato n Drumstick curry (1/2 cup)
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)Veg. Soup (1/2 cup)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)Chapati (2) + Spinach curry (1/2 cup) + Cod Liver Oil (1 capsule)/ 2 white til laddoo
Saturday
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Broccoli with Spring Onions n Mushroom soup (1 cup) + 3-4 Raisins
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 Apple + Tender coconut water (1/2 cup)
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)Parboiled Rice (1 cup) + Red saag (1/3rd cup) + Lentil soup (1/2 cup) + Bottle gourd curry (1/2 cup)
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)Baked Tomato n Chicken (1/2 cup) + Green Tea (1 cup)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)Chapati (2) + Baked Pumpkin (1/2 cup) + Cod Liver Oil (1 capsule) + 2 white til laddoo

Food Items To Limit

  1. Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition, and junk foods tend to be high in saturated and trans fats and refined starches and sugars, all of which can promote inflammation. Another reason to avoid junk foods is that that they are high in calories with little nutritional value, and people with psoriasis often have weight problems.
  2. Red meats contain a polyunsaturated fat called arachidonic acid. This type of fat can worsen psoriasis symptoms because it can easily be converted into inflammatory compounds. Also avoid processed meats, such as sausage and bacon.
  3. Some people report that consuming plants from the “nightshade family” — which includes peppers, white potatoes, eggplant, and tomatoes — exacerbates their psoriasis. These vegetables contain solanine, a chemical compound that has been shown to trigger pain in some people.
  4. Sometimes an allergic reaction can cause psoriasis to flare. Citrus fruits, such as grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and limes, are a common allergen.
  5. This protein is found in some grass-related grains, including rye, wheat, and barley. Researchers in Portugal found that psoriasis symptoms in some people with a gluten sensitivity improved after they began avoiding gluten.
  6. Some people with psoriasis find condiments and spices to be their enemy. The ones that seem to cause the most trouble for people with psoriasis are pimento, cinnamon, curry, vinegar, mayo, paprika, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup. These condiments are all on the no-no list because substances in each of them can increase inflammation.

Do’s And Dont’s

Do’s:

  1. Just because it can go on your body doesn’t mean its suitable for your scalp. The NPF states that there are a variety of topicals that are safe for both the body and scalp, some of which include anthralin, Dovonex, Taclonex and Tazorac. Also be sure not to use anything prescribed for the scalp unless directed by a doctor.
  2. The best natural products for your hair and scalp are usually the ingredients you can also ingest. Other scalp-friendly products include olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado.
  3. Tar has proven effective as a treatment for psoriasis for decades, but applying it can be messy, time consuming and changes can take time. Salicylic acid can also be useful, but can result in temporary hair loss if left on the scalp for too long. Additionally, over the counter scale softeners can be placed on the scalp to help loosen scales. The downside is that while these products can help with psoriasis, they often dry out the hair.
  4. Even though half of psoriasis suffers will experience symptoms on their scalp, many mistake the white flakes for dandruff and don’t receive proper treatment until the condition becomes unbearable. And at that point, it can be a tricky condition to manage.

Don’ts:

  1. Inform your doctor know immediately if you notice plaques in your scalp. Ignoring these symptoms could worsen the disease and increase the risk of hair loss. You may also want to talk with your doctor about systemic drugs, which target the entire body including the scalp, without having to apply topical treatments directly.
  2. It’s important to wear whatever feels comfortable, whether it’s dark or light, but some choose not to wear dark colors because flakes can be very noticeable. Lighter color clothing or shirts with prints can help camouflage flakes or reduce the appearance of them.
  3. Like the rest of your body, the scalp can be negatively affected by hot water. It can also be counterproductive for your condition, drying out your skin and making you more prone to having a flare.
  4. Don’t use harmful chemicals for your hair.

Food Items You Can Easily Consume

  1. Oil in salmon, albacore tuna and other fatty fish provides anti-inflammatory benefits and may help reduce itching and redness linked with psoriasis.
  2. Whole grains are low-glycemic, meaning they have a mild impact on your blood sugar levels and may improve appetite control and hormonal levels and lead to improved symptoms.
  3. Whole grain breads and cereals also provide folic acid — a synthetic form of the B-vitamin folate.
  4. If you take the psoriasis medication methotrexate, you may need increased folic acid.
  5. Colorful fruits and vegetables, such as berries, bell peppers and leafy greens, provide antioxidants that help strengthen your immune system.
  6. Healthy protein-rich foods include skinless white-meat poultry, fish, low-fat dairy or soy-based products and legumes. In addition to fatty fish, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and avocados provide healthy fats.

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