Your diet won’t cure psoriasis, but it can help in some unexpected ways.
When you consider lifestyle changes to manage your psoriasis symptoms, you’ve probably thought about about which moisturizer is best or whether you can still use all your go-to skin products. On the other hand, things like whether your bagel breakfast or go-to lunch sammie could be helping or hurting your condition may not be so top of mind. But perhaps it should.
While the role of diet in inflammatory diseases like psoriasis is still being studied and not entirely clear, dermatologists do agree that there are certain healthy-eating habits that can help you better manage your psoriasis.
“While diet’s not directly linked to psoriasis, there are many reasons to eat healthy when you have psoriasis,” says Suzanne Friedler, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. Here’s what dermatologists recommend to manage psoriasis when it comes to what goes on your fork.
1. Lose weight if you need to.
“Patients who are overweight do have an increased risk of developing psoriasis, and their psoriasis can be worse,” says Dr. Friedler. In a 2014 study, researchers found that patients with a body mass index (BMI) below 30 responded better to psoriasis treatment, and that weight loss for psoriasis patients who are overweight and obese may help manage symptoms.
2. Eat more anti-inflammatory foods.
Some foods, like red meat, sugar, dairy, and highly processed foods, cause more inflammation than others. Foods that reduce or minimize inflammation include healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF). Here are examples of healthy fats for an anti-inflammatory diet.
“Having a healthy, anti-inflammatory lifestyle can help decrease your risk of other conditions that are associated with psoriasis,” says Dr. Friedler, citing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension as the most common comorbidities of psoriasis. One anti-inflammatory approach that may help with psoriasis and its related conditions is the Mediterranean diet. Learn how to make any diet more Mediterranean here.
3. Ask your doctor about gluten.
Gluten doesn’t cause psoriasis, and there’s nothing inherently “wrong” with eating gluten. However, up to 25 percent of psoriasis patients may have a gluten sensitivity, according to the NPF. “Going gluten-free is not going to help the majority of patients with psoriasis,” says Dr. Friedler, “but if you’re someone who is gluten sensitive, it may be very helpful.” The only way to know for sure if you have a gluten intolerance that may be influencing your psoriasis symptoms (and causing other health problems) is by talking with your doctor.
4. Choose heart-healthy foods.
“Having psoriasis ups your risk for having cardiovascular disease,” says Dr. Friedler. A 2014 study found that psoriasis was associated with an increased risk of heart disease, atrial fibrillation symptoms, stroke, and myocardial infarction. By eating foods that are proven to reduce your risk of heart problems, you can minimize this associated risk.
These heart-healthy foods may help manage your psoriasis and prevent related conditions, according to Dr. Friedler:
More fruits and vegetables
For more tips on eating a heart-healthy diet, learn about the DASH diet recommended by the American Heart Association.
“While psoriasis may only seem to be a rash on your skin, you are at risk of developing other serious medical conditions,” says Dr. Friedler. “Having a heart-healthy diet [and] choosing lower-inflammatory foods can help your overall health and help with psoriatic symptoms as well.”
Dr. Friedler is a dermatologist and clinical instructor at The Mount Sinai Hospital and St. John's Episcopal Hospital.
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While diet is not directly
linked to psoriasis,
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there are many reasons to eat
healthy when you have psoriasis.
00:00:08,309 --> 00:00:13,285
00:00:13,285 --> 00:00:16,700
The most important advice I give for
psoriasis is lose weight if you need to.
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Patients who are overweight do have an
increased risk of developing psoriasis and
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the psoriasis can be worse.
00:00:21,810 --> 00:00:25,690
Coming down to a healthy weight can
help get your psoriasis into check.
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So patients with psoriasis
may choose to have a healthy,
00:00:28,375 --> 00:00:30,060
00:00:30,060 --> 00:00:32,780
So while diet doesn't
directly affect psoriasis,
00:00:32,780 --> 00:00:36,750
having a healthy anti-inflammatory
lifestyle will help decrease your risk
00:00:36,750 --> 00:00:40,780
of other conditions that are associated
with psoriasis, for example, diabetes,
00:00:40,780 --> 00:00:43,640
00:00:43,640 --> 00:00:47,120
An anti-inflammatory diet would
include reducing sugars, and
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00:00:48,830 --> 00:00:52,780
red meat, and fried foods.
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And you may increase your intake of
healthy oils and fruits and vegetables.
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Some people estimate that
up to 25% of patients with
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psoriasis may have a gluten sensitivity.
00:01:04,930 --> 00:01:07,710
But the only way to find out if you
have a gluten sensitivity is to
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speak with your doctor.
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Going gluten free is not gonna help
the majority of patients with psoriasis.
00:01:12,170 --> 00:01:15,680
But if you're someone who is gluten
sensitive, it may be very helpful.
00:01:15,680 --> 00:01:19,100
Having psoriasis' actual risk for
having cardiovascular disease.
00:01:19,100 --> 00:01:22,390
Therefore, the worser psoriasis,
the worser risk will be.
00:01:22,390 --> 00:01:26,313
Having a heart healthy diet will reduce
your risk of developing heart conditions.
00:01:26,313 --> 00:01:30,296
Having a heart-healthy diet
involves choosing lean meats,
00:01:30,296 --> 00:01:34,890
lower sodium, low fat dairy,
and more fruits and vegetables.
00:01:34,890 --> 00:01:38,420
So while psoriasis may only
seem to be a rash on your skin,
00:01:38,420 --> 00:01:41,930
you are at increased risk of developing
other serious medical conditions.
00:01:41,930 --> 00:01:47,114
Having a heart healthy diet,
choosing lower inflammatory foods
00:01:47,114 --> 00:01:52,967
can help your overall health and
help with psoriatic symptoms, as well.
00:01:52,967 --> 00:01:54,559
Debbaneh M, Millsop JW, Bhatia BK, Koo J, Liao W. Diet and psoriasis: part I. Impact of weight loss interventions. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Jul;71(1):133-40.
Diet and psoriasis. Portland, OR: National Psoriasis Foundation. (Accessed on March 5, 2018 at https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/treatments/alternative/diet-supplements.)
Gluten-free diet. Portland, OR: National Psoriasis Foundation. (Accessed on March 5, 2018 at https://www.psoriasis.org/treating-psoriasis/complementary-and-alternative/diet-and-nutrition/gluten-free-diet.)
Ni C, Chiu MW. Psoriasis and comorbidities: links and risks. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2014;7:119-32.
Psoriasis: overview. Schaumburg, IL: American Academy of Dermatology. (Accessed on March 5, 2018 at https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/scaly-skin/psoriasis#overview.)Six diet tips to help with psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis. Portland, OR: National Psoriasis Foundation, 2015. (Accessed on March 5, 2018 at https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/features/6-diet-tips-to-help-with-psoriasis-psoriatic-arthritis.)