Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an inflammatory condition that can lead to joint paint in addition to plaques on the skin.

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

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

A person’s diet may play a role in the severity of their PsA symptoms. However, individuals should consider making changes to their diet as part of an overall treatment plan and not as a replacement for standard treatments.

According to a 2018 review of over 50 studies, researchers found that diet can play a role in reducing the severity of PsA.

In another study, researchers looked at the effects of the Mediterranean diet on PsA. They found that certain components of the diet — such as a higher consumption of extra virgin olive oil, fruits, and vegetables — may help with managing the symptoms.

However, not all research findings agree on the extent that 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 impact 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.

Some research indicates that PsA may be associated with the following conditions:

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

Combined with exercise, eating a low inflammation diet can help a person reduce or maintain their weight. A person may wish to consider adding spices such as turmeric to their meals for added anti-inflammatory effects.

Although eating a healthy diet may not prevent PsA or other conditions, a person may find that their diet can help reduce their symptoms and lower their risk of other conditions.

There is limited and sometimes conflicting research into which diets have a positive impact on PsA. Here is what researchers currently know.

Mediterranean diet

In one 2015 study, researchers found evidence to suggest that the Mediterranean diet may help with managing PsA symptoms.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), this diet consists of:

  • olive oil as the primary source of fat
  • mostly vegetables, fruits, potatoes, beans, nuts, bread, grains, and seeds
  • a small-to-medium amount of eggs, dairy products, fish, and poultry

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

Weight loss diet

The Global Healthy Living Foundation suggests that the best diet is one that helps a person reach and maintain a moderate weight. This may help a person manage their symptoms of PsA.

According to one 2015 study, people who are overweight or who have obesity are less likely to remain symptom-free than people who maintain a moderate weight.

As a result, the Global Healthy Living Foundation recommends the Mediterranean diet for its potential anti-inflammatory effects and its ability to support weight loss and maintenance.

The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends that people with excess weight lose 1–2 pounds per week 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 are the most likely to experience a difference.

However, the Global Healthy Living Foundation states that eating a gluten-free diet will likely not have an effect on 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.

There are certain food groups that a person can avoid to potentially help reduce their PsA symptoms. Avoiding these foods may also help prevent some 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 diet that can help a person maintain a moderate weight may also help with managing the condition.

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

Read this article in Spanish.