Diet can play a very important role in the treatment of psoriasis, as there are foods that help to relieve the symptoms, while others are known to be psoriasis triggers.
A psoriasis diet should be rich in anti-inflammatory and detoxifying foods, such as fish, seeds and fruit, and should not contain pro-inflammatory foods, such as red meat and processed products.
To correctly adapt your diet it is very important you consult with a nutritionist, who will create a diet plan based on your own particular tastes and needs.
The foods that are allowed and can be eaten regularly include:
1. Whole grains
Whole grains are considered low glycemic carbohydrates and 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: wholegrain bread, wholegrain 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.
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 avoid the inflammatory process and reduce psoriasis symptoms.
Examples: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, chia, amongst others
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 lesions on the skin 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.
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 considered high glycemic carbohydrates, and the higher the GI, the bigger 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.
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:
2 wholewheat pancakes with peanut butter and chopped up fruit
2 slices of wholegrain bread with 2 slices of white cheese + 1 orange
Oatmeal made with skimmed milk and a tablespoon of chia seeds + mix of seeds
½ papaya + 1 tablespoon of oats
1 low-fat yogurt with 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds and 6 walnuts
1 slice of grilled chicken 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 slice
Wholegrain pasta with tuna with a broccoli and carrot salad seasoned with 1 tablespoon of olive-oil + 1 slice of melon
Boiled fish with vegetables + half a cup brown rice + vegetable salad seasoned with extra virgin olive-oil + 1 pear
1 cup of 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
The quantities indicated in the meal plan may vary according to age, gender, amount of physical activity and other health conditions. It is always recommended you consult a nutritionist to do a complete assessment and a nutrition plan that suits your tastes and needs.