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.
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.
Gluten is a protein in certain grains, including wheat. For example, bread, pasta, and baked goods 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.
Researchers also found that when people who tested positive for the antibody ate a gluten-free diet, they saw a reduction in their psoriasis symptoms.
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
For a person living with psoriasis, avoiding red meat may help prevent heart disease even if it does not affect their psoriasis symptoms.
Like red meat, dairy also contains arachidonic acid.
A 2017 review suggested that the arachidonic acid in dairy products may irritate the intestinal tract’s inner lining and worsen psoriasis symptoms.
However, researchers called for more studies to confirm this link.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that some people have experienced fewer psoriasis symptoms after eliminating dairy from their diets.
Processed foods can contribute to various health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
A person with psoriasis who also has obesity may find that cutting out or reducing processed foods may also help them manage their weight. This could improve their psoriasis symptoms.
The term processed food means any food that manufacturers change during production.
According to a
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.
Caffeine may trigger psoriasis flares in some people.
Some research indicates that people with psoriasis could consider
However, some people may find reducing or eliminating caffeine helpful.
Nightshades include the following vegetables:
One study indicated that people living with psoriasis
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.
The National Psoriasis Foundation notes 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 grain, 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 should 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.
Several environmental factors, or triggers, can cause psoriasis symptoms to flare.
Some potential psoriasis triggers include:
- cold or dry weather
- alcohol, particularly heavy drinking
- injuries to skin
- infections, such as strep throat
- tobacco use
- certain medications, such as:
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.
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.