Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic condition. There is currently no cure, but treatment can help manage symptoms. Some diets and dietary choices can also help, such as the Mediterranean diet, with its focus on fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy oils.
People with PsA experience swelling, pain, and stiffness in the joints, as well as fatigue and other symptoms. Many people with PsA also have skin involvement, which is the hallmark symptom of psoriasis.
No specific diet will cause or treat psoriasis or PsA, but some dietary tips may help manage the symptoms.
This article details which diets and foods may benefit a person with PsA and which foods may be best to avoid.
Doctors do not prescribe a specific diet for psoriatic arthritis, but diets that focus on specific ingredients may have benefits.
A Mediterranean diet, for instance, focuses on fresh, plant-based foods and fewer servings of meat than a typical western diet. It does not contain a lot of processed foods or added sugars and fats, and
Some health conditions may also be
Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which can help reduce the risk of inflammation.
Read on to learn about some diets that may help people with psoriatic arthritis.
The balance of bacteria in the gut
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.
- 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 diet as it may not suit everyone.
A gluten-free diet needs careful planning because it can
Weight loss diet
Maintaining a moderate weight can help people avoid obesity and other comorbidities that have an association with psoriatic diseases,
Following a calorie-controlled diet may help. A nonrestrictive diet that focuses mainly on fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may also help a person manage their weight.
People with psoriatic arthritis appear to have a higher risk of metabolic syndrome, which includes obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.
- opt for foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fats, and added salt and sugar
- eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
- avoid highly processed foods
- limit alcohol intake to 2 drinks per day for males and 1 per day for females
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.
- reduce oxidative stress
- promote healthy gut flora
- contribute to weight management
For a high-fiber diet, a person should:
- opt for wholegrain cereals
- choose brown rice over white
- focus on fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables
- avoid added sugars, including honey and sweetened drinks
- avoid white bread, baked goods, and other items that contain highly processed carbohydrates
Other options, 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 that presumably early humans ate. It typically prioritizes minimally processed meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
A 2016 review suggests that the paleo diet may help people with weight management and metabolic issues.
The keto diet is typically low in carbohydrates and high in fats.
The foods and dietary habits that may benefit people with PsA are similar to those that reduce the risk of metabolic conditions.
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 arthritis to eat fiber as it may reduce inflammation.
It also recommends following a diet that is high in antioxidants. These can help lower 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:
A person’s diet should also include healthy fats,
- extra virgin olive oil
- avocado oil
- other vegetable oils
Fish such as salmon, trout, and herring contain anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit heart health.
Although most vitamin D comes from sun exposure, dietary sources are also important.
Some good food sources of vitamin D
- egg yolk
- fortified dairy products, cereals, and orange juice
- oily fish
A 2015 study suggests that ginger may help reduce the pain that results from osteoarthritis. However, it does not mention PsA specifically.
Curcumin is a chemical in turmeric and could be of benefit to people with PsA. One
The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends that people with psoriasis follow a heart-healthy diet, as outlined by the
Also, processed foods may contain a highly processed type of fat known as a trans fat. This is not a healthy fat.
In 2015, the
Foods that may contribute to weight gain include fried foods, refined grains, added sugars, and alcohol.
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
- alcoholic beverages
Here are some questions people often ask about dietary choices for psoriatic arthritis.
Which anti-inflammatory foods are good for psoriatic arthritis?
Plant-based foods, such as fresh vegetables and fruits, provide antioxidants that can help manage inflammation. A person should choose a range of types and colors and avoid adding sugar, fat, and salt to the food.
Highly processed foods are less likely to provide antioxidants. People should always opt for fresh, unprocessed foods where possible.
Which intermittent fasting foods should I avoid with PsA?
Researchers need more investigations to find out if intermittent fasting is helpful for people with psoriatic arthritis. A person should check with a doctor before trying this approach.
Which diet is best for a person with psoriatic arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory condition. Freshly prepared foods that are rich in antioxidants may help manage inflammation.
Doctors do not recommend a specific diet, but the Mediterranean diet — high in fresh, plant-based foods —
Other diets, such as a weight loss diet or a gluten-free diet, may help people if they have specific conditions that have links to psoriatic arthritis.
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 them to manage their weight
- is low in added sugars
- 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.