Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes skin cells to build up and form lesions on the skin. Food is one of many potential triggers that may make a person’s psoriasis symptoms worsen or flare.

People with psoriasis have a greater chance of developing other conditions, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Making dietary adjustments may help prevent these secondary conditions and reduce symptoms.

Certain foods may act as triggers for some people.

This article explores what foods may trigger psoriasis flares and how a person can identify them.

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Gluten is a protein present in certain grains, such as wheat. Bread, pasta, and baked goods all contain gluten in varying amounts.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that causes a reaction to gluten when a person consumes products that contain wheat.

A 2018 study found that people with psoriasis had the same amount of an antibody that people with celiac and gluten sensitivities have.

Researchers also found that when people who tested positive for the antibody ate a gluten-free diet, their psoriasis symptoms decreased.

Learn more about how a gluten-free diet might help with psoriasis.

Red meat contains a polyunsaturated fatty acid called arachidonic acid that can contribute to psoriasis lesions. A diet high in red meat may therefore worsen the inflammation in psoriasis.

As a result, avoiding red meat, such as hamburgers or steak, may help reduce the severity of psoriasis lesions.

Avoiding red meats has the added benefit of helping to prevent heart disease.

According to some research, red meats create byproducts that increase a person’s likelihood of developing heart disease.

For a person living with psoriasis, avoiding red meat may help prevent heart disease even if it does not affect their psoriasis symptoms.

Learn more about red meat and health here.

As psoriasis is a systemic inflammatory disease, reducing the intake of foods that can increase inflammation, such as processed foods, is important for individuals with psoriasis.

The term processed food means any food that manufacturers change during production. Processed foods can contribute to various health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

As these conditions also have an association with psoriasis, it may be best for a person to limit highly processed, fast foods.

Learn more about processed foods here.

According to a review of studies, alcohol worsens psoriasis.

Drinking alcohol can increase the severity of psoriasis symptoms because it can cause inflammation in the body.

A person with psoriasis could try limiting or eliminating alcohol from their diet to see how it affects their psoriasis symptoms.

Learn about drinking alcohol with psoriasis here.

Caffeine may trigger psoriasis flares in some people, but research into this is ongoing.

A 2018 study suggests that the effects of coffee on psoriasis depend on the amount of coffee a person drinks.

They found that regular, moderate consumption — ranging up to 3 cups of coffee daily — may relieve psoriasis symptoms and might have an anti-inflammatory effect in some people.

However, higher coffee consumption, or more than 4 cups daily, may worsen symptoms in some.

Some people may find reducing or eliminating caffeine helpful.

Learn more about caffeine here.

Nightshades include the following vegetables:

One study indicates that people living with psoriasis often avoid nightshades because they believe it helps with their psoriasis symptoms.

However, the Global Healthy Living Foundation states that the number of nightshades a person typically eats would not be enough to trigger an inflammatory response.

Though they focused primarily on arthritis, researchers believe the same chemicals trigger psoriasis responses.

Still, some people may find that reducing their consumption of nightshades may help reduce their psoriasis symptoms.

Learn whether nightshades worsen inflammation here.

During a 2017 study on the effects of certain foods on psoriasis flares, researchers found the following foods had a positive result on the skin symptoms of participants:


The National Psoriasis Foundation states that no specific diet will cure psoriasis but may reduce the severity of the symptoms. They also note that eating healthier foods may help a person avoid other conditions, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. They recommend eating:

  • A heart-healthy diet: This diet can include fish, lean meats, low fat dairy, whole grains, reduced-sodium foods, and plant-based fats.
  • A balanced diet: This diet can consist of various fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low fat dairy products, and lean proteins.
  • Gluten-free diet: If a person is following this diet, they’ll need to avoid wheat-based products.


Some people may find keeping a food journal helpful.

A food journal can help people look for patterns in what they eat and improve their psoriasis symptoms.

Learn more about how diet can affect psoriasis here.

Several environmental factors, or triggers, can cause psoriasis symptoms to flare.

Some potential psoriasis triggers include:

Some people may find they have other triggers. Others may be unable to identify their triggers.

A person should talk with their doctor about what may trigger their psoriasis flares if they have any questions.

Learn more about psoriasis triggers and how to avoid them here.

Certain foods may trigger psoriasis flares in some people.

A person can take steps, such as keeping a food journal, to help determine what foods may help and which may cause triggers.

Generally, the most helpful diets for psoriasis include fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, low fat dairy, whole grains, and plant-based fats.

These diets may not help prevent a flare, but they may reduce symptom severity and help prevent other conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, or heart disease, from developing.