Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic condition that currently has no cure. Treatment revolves around the long-term management of the symptoms, and a person’s diet can play a key role in this.
No specific diet will cause or treat psoriasis or PsA, but some dietary tips may help manage the symptoms.
This article details which foods may benefit a person with PsA and which foods may be best to avoid.
The foods and dietary habits that may benefit people with PsA are similar to those that reduce the risk of metabolic conditions.
Consuming foods that contain fiber and antioxidants may help reduce inflammation and associated its symptoms.
The sections below look at some foods to eat with PsA in more detail.
Some anti-inflammatory foods that may help include:
Fiber and antioxidants
The Arthritis Foundation encourages people with a type of arthritis to eat fiber, as there is evidence to suggest that it can also reduce inflammation.
It recommends following a diet that is high in antioxidants, as these can help reduce inflammation by removing free radicals. Free radicals are byproducts of many bodily processes that can adversely affect health.
Some foods that provide fiber and antioxidants include:
- fresh fruits and vegetables
- whole grains
- low fat proteins, such as legumes
- nuts and seeds
- oily fish and other types of fish
A person’s diet should also include healthy fats, such as:
- extra virgin olive oil
- avocado oil
- other vegetable oils
Fish such as salmon, trout, and herring contain healthy fat that is good for heart health. They also provide anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
Although most vitamin D comes from sun exposure, dietary sources are also important.
Some good food sources of vitamin D include:
- egg yolk
- fortified dairy products, cereals, and orange juice
- oily fish
Ginger is high in antioxidants and may have anti-inflammatory properties. Three antioxidant compounds present in ginger are gingerol, shogaol, and paradol.
A 2015 study suggests that ginger may help reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis. However, it does not mention PsA specifically.
Curcumin is a chemical in turmeric and could be of benefit to people with PsA. One
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, fatty red meats, refined sugars, processed foods, and dairy products can all increase inflammation and worsen the symptoms of psoriasis. Each of these foods can also contribute to weight gain.
Also, many processed foods contain a highly processed type of fat known as trans fat. This is not a healthy fat.
For this reason, people with PsA may wish to avoid:
- foods and beverages with added sugar, including soda and candy
- white bread, white rice, and other processed bread and cereal products
- packaged cookies, cakes, and snack foods
- processed meats, such as bacon, sausages, and hot dogs
- fried foods and foods containing trans fat
- alcoholic beverages
The balance of bacteria in the gut can affect a person’s overall health, including their immune system, metabolism, and weight. Some scientists suggest that changes in gut bacteria may increase the risk of PsA.
Some foods and supplements that may boost the health of gut bacteria include:
- Fermented foods: Kimchi, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, yogurt, and miso contain beneficial bacteria.
- Probiotics: Different types have different functions. A person should ask a doctor or dietitian to recommend an appropriate option for them.
- Fiber: This can also benefit gut health and gut microbiota, according to one
If tests find that a person has a gluten sensitivity, they will likely benefit from following a gluten-free diet. However, people should always speak with a doctor before adopting a gluten-free, as it may not suit everyone. A gluten-free diet needs careful planning, as it can increase the risk of some nutritional deficiencies.
Following a calorie-controlled diet may help. A non-restrictive diet that focuses mainly on fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may also help a person manage their weight.
The Mediterranean diet encourages a high consumption of fruits, vegetables, and fish.
Not all studies have confirmed a benefit for people with arthritis, but any diet that contains plenty of fresh, plant-based ingredients is likely to have overall health benefits.
The DASH diet does not restrict food intake. Instead, it focuses on fresh, plant-based produce and whole grains rather than processed foods and red meats.
A diet that provides overall health benefits may help a person with PsA manage their symptoms and prevent complications and comorbidities.
Other diets, including paleo and ketogenic diets, may help a person manage PsA.
Although these diets are currently popular and may provide health benefits, clinical studies have not yet proven their efficacy in specifically benefiting people with PsA.
A person who wishes to try either diet should consult a doctor first.
The sections below look at these options in more detail.
The paleo diet consists of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans. It typically prioritizes minimally processed meat, fish, vegetables, and grains.
A 2016 review suggests that the paleo diet may benefit weight management and metabolic issues.
The keto diet is typically low in carbohydrates and high in fats.
Healthcare professionals do not recommend a specific diet for PsA, but a person may benefit from a diet that:
- boosts overall health
- reduces inflammation
- increases fiber intake
- is heart-healthy
- enables a person to manage their weight
- is low in unhealthy fats and added salt and sugar
- contributes to healthy gut bacteria
In general, a diet that emphasizes plant-based foods while limiting the intake of processed foods is likely to be beneficial.