Psoriasis Guide: Your Skin, Your Emotions A Healthy Diet for Psoriasis

If you have psoriasis, you’re at greater risk for a number of other conditions, including diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. “One of the best ways to help head these off is with lifestyle management — eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, quitting smoking, and drinking alcohol in moderation,” says Valori Treloar, MD, certified nutrition specialist, dermatologist at Integrative Dermatology in Newton, Mass., and co-author of The Clear Skin Diet. So it’s important to eat a healthy diet when you have a chronic condition such as psoriasis.

Another reason to eat a healthy diet when you have psoriasis is to get all of the essential nutrients your body needs to function properly and maintain energy. It’s harder to fight infection when your body is weak. To get your daily requirements of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fats, you need to consume a variety of protein, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains.

A Better Psoriasis Diet

A healthy diet to help manage psoriasis symptoms should also include:

  • Lean beef and poultry. Fatty red meats can promote heart disease, and people with psoriasis are at a higher risk for heart disease. Choosing lean cuts of red meats and white meats like chicken and turkey can help your skin and your heart.
  • Coldwater fish. Salmon, albacore tuna, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Unlike omega-6 fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids have a moderating effect on inflammation. “If you eat less omega-6 fatty acids and more omega-3 fatty acids, it may have an impact on the inflammatory responses your body has,” Treloar says. The American Heart Association recommends that people eat fatty fish at least twice a week to protect against heart disease. “Because people with psoriasis are at greater risk for heart disease, they should include more foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids in their diet,” Treloar says.
  • Flaxseed and leafy green vegetables. If you don’t like fish, try adding these additional sources of omega-3 fatty acids to your diet.
  • Colorful fruits and vegetables. Not only are they rich in antioxidants, but they’re also good sources of vitamins A and C. These vitamins help your skin hold onto the available moisture in your system. Good sources include blueberries, oranges, cantaloupes, and carrots.

A psoriasis diet should not include:

  • Caffeine and alcohol. Both can cause the body to lose water and suck moisture from your skin, which can worsen psoriasis symptoms.
  • Cakes, cookies, and pies. Too many sweets can lead to weight gain, which can further increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes. Weight gain can also damage your self-image — and people with psoriasis, because it can be so visible, often have problems with self-esteem to begin with.
  • Foods high in fat and cholesterol. You need some fat in your diet to build, strengthen, and repair body tissue, but too much fat can cause unhealthy weight gain. Find your healthy weight and work with your doctor to reach and maintain it. You only need to include small amounts of fats and oils in your diet.
  • High-fat dairy. These foods are associated with inflammation, Treloar says. A recent study found that overweight people who consumed low-fat diary had less inflammation. Skip the whole milk and full-fat cheeses and opt for lower-fat versions instead. Even if eliminating whole fat dairy products doesn’t help ease your psoriasis symptoms, the low-fat versions are still better for your heart.


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