Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are chronic inflammatory diseases. When you’re living with a chronic disease, it’s important to make choices that support a healthy lifestyle. This includes the foods you eat!
Although there’s little scientific evidence to support the notion that diet has a major impact on psoriatic disease, some people do report reduced symptoms when they change what they eat. And even if dietary changes don’t improve your symptoms, there is scientific evidence that making the following changes to your diet could improve your overall health and reduce your risk of developing related conditions like obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
Eating a balanced diet primarily composed of lean proteins, whole grains, fresh produce and healthy fats is sometimes referred to as an “Anti-Inflammatory” or Mediterranean diet. To learn more about the anti-inflammatory diet, consult a dietician or visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.
Foods not included in the anti-inflammatory diet because they are believed to promote inflammation include:
- Fatty red meats. Red meat tends to contain higher levels of cholesterol and saturated fat. Since cholesterol and saturated fat can raise your blood sugar, opt for leaner proteins like chicken, fish, tofu and beans. For an occasional meal with beef, choose lean cuts (like round, loin or sirloin) and trim off as much fat as you can before cooking.
- Processed foods. Minimally processed foods, like lean frozen meat, pre-cut vegetables and packaged whole grains, are a fine part of any healthy diet. When you're at the grocery store, avoid heavily processed foods, like microwavable dinners, packaged deli meats and high-sodium canned soups and sauces. These foods are likely to contain added trans-fats, sodium and sugars.
- Refined sugars. Refined sugar is high in calories and consuming it can make it difficult to attain a healthy weight. Instead, get your sugars from healthy, natural sources like seasonal fruits.
- Dairy products. Some people find that eating dairy worsens their psoriatic disease symptoms.
Foods emphasized in the anti-inflammatory diet and believed to reduce inflammation include:
- Coldwater fish, like albacore tuna, mackerel, salmon, herring, and lake trout. Fish are an excellent part of a healthy diet! They are good sources of protein, low in saturated fat and are great source of omega-3 fatty acids.Eating omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce risk factors for developing heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
- Flaxseeds, olive oil, pumpkin seeds and walnuts. These are plant sources of omega-3s.
- Colorful fresh fruits and vegetables. Focus on eating foods from the colors of the rainbow. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and have a positive impact on our blood sugar levels.
Nutritious examples are:
- Squash and sweet potatoes
- Kale and broccoli
- Strawberries and figs