Although a person’s diet cannot cause or prevent psoriatic arthritis, some evidence suggests that certain dietary changes may help reduce the severity of the condition.

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an inflammatory condition that can lead to joint pain in addition to plaques on the skin. Some dietary changes may help reduce psoriasis severity when used with regular medication.

Keep reading for more information about how diet can affect PsA.

A person’s diet may affect the severity of their PsA symptoms. However, individuals should consider changing their diet as part of an overall treatment plan and not as a replacement for standard treatments.

According to a 2018 review, researchers found that diet can play a role in reducing the severity of PsA.

However, not all research findings agree on the extent diet can help. One study looked at the diets of more than 80,000 women over the course of 4 years. It found that diet did not significantly affect the occurrence of the women’s PsA or other similar conditions.

The Global Healthy Living Foundation states that despite some conflicting findings on diet and PsA, eating anti-inflammatory foods may help prevent other comorbidities associated with PsA.

  • diabetes
  • fibromyalgia
  • obesity
  • autoimmune eye disease
  • metabolic syndrome
  • cardiovascular disease
  • osteoporosis
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • depression
  • nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

There is limited and sometimes conflicting research into which diets have a positive impact on PsA. However, the following diets may have a positive effect on PsA.

Mediterranean diet

Studies suggest that the Mediterranean diet may help manage or reduce PsA symptoms due to its potential anti-inflammatory effects.

This Mediterranean diet primarily consists of:

  • heart-healthy fats such as those in olive oil and certain fish
  • mostly vegetables, fruits, potatoes, beans, nuts, bread, grains, and seeds
  • a small to medium amount of eggs, poultry, and other lean proteins

The Mediterranean diet also has other benefits. In another study, researchers found that it may reduce the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Weight loss diet

There is no singular best diet for weight loss. The best diet for weight loss is one that ensures adequate nutrition while enabling a person to remain consistent in following it. A broader approach to diet and lifestyle is often better for reaching and maintaining a moderate weight long term, rather than short-term restrictive practices.

The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends that people with excess weight lose 1–2 pounds weekly until they reach a moderate weight.

It recommends eating the following foods to maintain or lose weight:

  • fruits
  • fat-free or low fat dairy
  • vegetables
  • whole grains
  • lean proteins, such as fish or chicken

Gluten-free diet

The National Psoriasis Foundation states that following a gluten-free diet may help some people with psoriasis manage their symptoms. Since many people with PsA also have psoriasis, this may be beneficial.

That said, following a gluten-free diet may not work for everyone. Those with gluten allergies or sensitivities will most likely experience a difference.

However, the Global Healthy Living Foundation states that eating a gluten-free diet will likely not affect arthritis unless celiac disease is also present.

A person should talk with a doctor before switching to a gluten-free diet in hopes of reducing their PsA symptoms.

A person can avoid certain food groups to potentially help reduce their PsA symptoms. Avoiding these foods may also help prevent other conditions, such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends avoiding the following when possible:

  • saturated fats
  • trans fats
  • processed foods
  • refined sugars
  • foods high in cholesterol
  • foods high in salt

Before making drastic changes to their diet, a person should talk with a doctor or treatment team. They may be able to make recommendations and offer advice on foods not to limit due to other health considerations.

A person should also be wary of fad diets. Fad diets vary, but they tend to advertise amazing health benefits. If a diet plan sounds too good to be true, it may be.

A person should ask a nutritionist or doctor about any diets they are not sure of so that they can make the best decision for themselves.

Diet may help with managing PsA to an extent. Although research does not fully support this, eating an anti-inflammatory diet such as the Mediterranean diet may help reduce symptom severity.

Following a healthy eating plan that can help a person maintain a moderate weight may also help manage the condition.

People should always talk with a doctor before making any changes to their diet.

Read this article in Spanish.