There’s no strong scientific evidence that specific foods can impact psoriasis, but there is evidence that losing extra weight can ease symptoms. Nutritionists and physicians recommend a healthy, balanced diet to control your weight and your psoriasis, as well as lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke (which are elevated in people with psoriasis). The foundation of a healthy diet is lean protein, low-fat dairy, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables.
Here is a list of dietary changes you can make to your daily routine to keep your symptoms under control:
Fish and seafood
Omega-3 fatty acids—abundant in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and albacore tuna—are the foundation of a heart-healthy diet. Fish oils are thought to reduce inflammation and help the immune system, which is overactive in people with psoriasis. Given that psoriasis is also linked to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke, it’s a good idea to eat fish at least twice a week.
Fruits and vegetables
A diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables can have an anti-inflammatory effect. Although there are no studies connecting fruits and vegetables specifically with a reduction in psoriasis symptoms, psoriasis is an inflammatory condition. Specific vegetables that might have inflammation-fighting properties include carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, and broccoli.
Grains such as whole-grain bread, cereal, and pasta; oatmeal; and brown rice are another component of an overall healthy diet. Like fruits and vegetables, grains also contain a variety of anti-inflammation antioxidants and are high in fiber, which has been linked with lower inflammation levels and better regulation of blood sugar. Legumes such as beans and lentils also have antioxidants and fiber, so include them in your diet as well.
If you eat meat, choose lean types such as white-meat chicken or turkey. Some people with psoriasis report anecdotally that their condition seems to improve if they limit red meat. Fatty red meats have been linked to increased inflammation in the body. If you want to occasionally eat red meat, try less fatty cuts like lean flank steak or sirloin.
Nuts and avocados
Fats in general get a bad rap, but there are such things as “good fats.” These include the polyunsaturated fats found in nuts, vegetable oils, and avocados, and monounsaturated fats found in soybean oil, walnuts, flaxseed, and certain fish. They’re good for you in general (when taken in moderation, of course—they still can pack in the calories). Stay away from saturated fats and trans fats, which may increase inflammation in the body.
Not only do blueberries have anti-inflammatory properties, but also lots of vitamin C, manganese (good for bone health), and fiber. All this while low in fat. Other fruits that may have anti-inflammatory properties include mangoes, strawberries, and figs. But you really can’t go wrong with any fruits, which are right up there with vegetables on the “good-for-you” list. Scientists are only just beginning to uncover other healthful properties of fruits. Blueberries, for instance, may also boost memory and fight heart disease.