Many people think that what they eat affects their psoriasis, but no studies have shown a connection. Doctors can’t be sure there's no link between some foods and psoriasis. It's just that so far, there's no proof.
According to most experts, the best dietary advice for people with psoriasis is the same as for anyone else: Eat a diet low in fats and sweets and high in fruits and vegetables. While you're at it, get regular exercise -- being overweight can make psoriasis worse and keep your medication from working like it should. Watch how much you drink -- alcohol can bring on psoriasis, too.
Psoriasis affects up to 7.5 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health. Psoriasis is more common in adults than children and affects males and females equally.
2% to 3% of people throughout the world
About 2.2% of people in the United States
Some cultures more than others. Worldwide, psoriasis is most common in Scandinavia and other parts of northern Europe. It appears to be far less common among Asians and is rare in Native Americans,...
Still, you shouldn't ignore your own experience with psoriasis. If your skin gets worse after you eat certain foods, then stop eating them and see what happens. That food could be a trigger for you.
Beware Miracle Diets
Even though there's no proof, you'll find dozens of psoriasis diets described in books and on websites. At some point almost every food has been blamed for an outbreak -- sugar, junk food, wheat products, tomatoes, coffee, and eggs are often called out.
There are just as many theories about what foods might be good, among them herbal teas, some fruit juices, and fish oilsupplements. It’s no surprise that psoriasis diets disagree about what's good and what's bad.
If you're thinking about trying a psoriasis diet, talk to your doctor first. He’ll probably tell you any diet that cuts down on the amount of junk food and alcohol you eat and drink is OK.
Stay away from extreme diets that claim to cure psoriasis. They won't work. Avoid those that require you to fast, get enemas, or take other extreme steps. These diets can be time-consuming, expensive, hard to stick with and, in some cases, even dangerous.
Don't assume that supplements you buy in the supermarket are helpful or even safe. Taking supplements in extremely high doses, which some shady psoriasis diet "experts" suggest, can be toxic. Always talk to your doctor before going on any diets or using any supplements or alternative medicines.
You may feel so frustrated with your psoriasis that you're ready to try anything. Be careful. Never let desperation make you gullible.
Bruce E. Strober, MD, PhD, associate professor of dermatology, University of Connecticut Health Center.
Jeffrey M. Weinberg, MD, director, Clinical Research Center, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York; associate clinical professor of dermatology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
American Academy of Dermatology: “Psoriasis: Tips for managing.”
PsoriasisNet: “When It Comes To Diet, What Really Works?”