Diet can play a very important role in the treatment of psoriasis, as there are foods that help to relieve certain symptoms. Some types of food, on the other hand, can also trigger flare-ups.
A psoriasis diet should be rich in anti-inflammatory and detoxifying foods, such as fish, seeds and fruit. You should avoid food that induces inflammation like red meat and processed products.
To correctly adapt your diet, it is very important you consult a registered dietitian, who will create a diet plan based on your own particular preferences and health goals.
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.
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
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.
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:
2 whole-wheat pancakes with peanut butter and chopped up fruit
2 slices of wholegrain bread with 2 slices of white cheese + 1 orange
Oatmeal made with skim 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 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 slice
Whole-grain 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 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 registered dietitian for a complete assessment and a nutrition plan that suits your preferences and health goals.