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What You Should Know About Psoriasis and Your Diet

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on November 10, 2020

If you have psoriasis, you might take medication and keep close tabs on the weather, your stress level, and other triggers. Should you also watch what's on your plate?

A healthy diet -- lots of fruits and veggies, lean protein, and whole grains -- is a good idea for just about everyone. But some people who have psoriasis say their eating habits can affect their skin.

There's no scientific proof that staying away from certain foods or following a specific diet will help your condition. But what you eat and drink may make a difference.

Limit Alcohol

The link between alcohol and psoriasis isn't clear, but experts say that if you drink, be moderate. For men, that means no more than two drinks a day, and for women, no more than one.

Studies show that men who drink heavily don't respond to psoriasis treatments as well. And some research suggests that people who have psoriasis and drink heavily may find that their skin gets better when they stop.

If your condition is especially severe or you take certain medications, like methotrexate and acitretin, your doctor may tell you to stay away from alcohol completely.

The Truth About Psoriasis Home RemediesWhich at-home treatments work best to soothe psoriasis flares?114

[MUSIC PLAYING]



SPEAKER: Let's face it,

psoriasis can be extremely

uncomfortable.

So are there things you can do

at home to ease the symptoms?

Let's find out the truth.



Will sunlight cure my psoriasis?

No.

There is no cure for psoriasis,

but you can reduce symptoms.

Small amounts of sunlight

every day can reduce redness

and inflammation.

Talk to your doctor first,

and don't forget to cover

healthy skin in sunscreen,

because sunburns can make

psoriasis worse.



Should I avoid baths?

No.

Baths are great way to manage

symptoms.

Just make sure they are lukewarm

and not too hot.

Add bath salts, oatmeal, or oil

to soothe the skin.



Will vegetable shortening help

red flaky patches?

Maybe.

Keeping your skin moisturized

is essential for minimizing

the effects of psoriasis.

Vegetable shortening will do

the trick, but so will thick,

unscented creams.

You can also try

coconut or olive oil.

Apply after bathing and again

at night.



Can apple cider vinegar really

relieve scalp itch?

Yes.

Apple cider does work to relieve

itchy scalp in some people.

Apply equal parts of apple

cider vinegar and water to scalp

up to three times per week.

If this works for you,

you should see results

within a few weeks.

But avoid this remedy if you

have cracked or broken skin.



Can meditation make psoriasis go

away?

Yes, sort of.

Stress can cause psoriasis

to flare for the first time

or cause existing psoriasis

to get worse.

Doing things that ease stress

does help.

So meditation and exercise

can all go a long way to reduce

flares and ease symptoms.



Psoriasis is complicated.

In addition to seeing

your doctor,

try some of these tips

to keep you a little more

comfortable.

My.Health.Alberta.Ca: "Psoriasis: Care Instructions." <br>National Psoriasis Foundation: "Herbs/Natural Remedies," "Mind and Body Therapies," "Causes and Triggers."/delivery/39/61/3961d46b-8299-4c3d-9ac0-3a26babead2a/vd-1659-truth-about-psoriasis-home-remedies_,2500k,1000k,750k,4500k,400k,.mp412/05/2017 18:00:0000the truth about home remedies for your skin video/webmd/consumer_assets/site_images/article_thumbnails/video/the_truth_about_home_remedies_for_your_skin_video/650x350_the_truth_about_home_remedies_for_your_skin_video.jpg091e9c5e8186bdbd

Foods That Fight Inflammation

Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition. Research is limited, but some people who have psoriasis say they can manage it better if they eat more inflammation-fighting foods.

Some studies suggest that antioxidants, like vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and selenium, may make a difference. And some research suggests fatty acids from fish oil can be helpful. More research is needed.

Anti-inflammatory foods are generally healthy, so it shouldn't hurt to give them a try. They include:

  • Fruits and veggies, especially berries, cherries, and leafy greens
  • Salmon, sardines, and other fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Antioxidant-rich herbs and spices like thyme, sage, cumin, and ginger
  • Heart-healthy sources of fat, like olive oil, seeds, and nuts

Some foods can make inflammation worse. Eat less of these:

  • Processed foods and refined sugars
  • Fatty cuts of red meat
  • Dairy

Lose Weight

People who are overweight or obese have a higher chance of getting psoriasis, and their symptoms tend to be worse. Studies suggest that your skin may get better if you shed extra pounds. This may be because fat cells make certain proteins that can trigger inflammation and make the condition worse.

You might eat smaller portions, limit carbs or fat, or follow a combination of diet strategies your doctor recommends.

Gluten-Free Diet

You may wonder whether your psoriasis would get better if you ate a gluten-free diet. Although you may hear about success stories from others who have tried it, so far studies aren't clear that it helps. More research is needed.

This kind of eating plan is needed if you have celiac disease, which, like psoriasis, is an autoimmune disease. This plan may be useful when you have gluten sensitivity. Research suggests that people with psoriasis are more likely to also have another autoimmune disease.

If you go gluten-free, it means you have to cu

You may wonder whether your psoriasis would get better if you ate a gluten-free diet. Although you may hear about success stories from others who have tried it, studies aren't clear that it helps. More research is needed.

This kind of eating plan is needed if you have celiac disease, which, like psoriasis, is an autoimmune disease. This plan may be useful when you have gluten sensitivity. Research suggests that people with psoriasis are more likely to also have another autoimmune disease.

Continued

If you go gluten-free, it means you have to cut out foods that have grains like wheat, barley, and rye. The downside is that those foods are also heart-healthy, and psoriasis raises your chance of getting heart disease. Talk to your doctor before you make any changes in the food you eat.

out foods that have grains like wheat, barley, and rye. The downside is that those foods are also heart healthy, and psoriasis raises your chance of getting heart disease. Talk to your doctor before you make any changes in the food you eat.

Beware of 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, and there are just as many theories about which foods might be helpful.

You may feel so frustrated with your psoriasis that you're ready to try anything. Don’t let desperation make you gullible.

Continued

If you're thinking about trying a psoriasis diet, talk to your doctor first. They’ll probably tell you that 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 with things like fasting or enemas. They won't work and can even be dangerous. And don't assume that supplements are helpful or even safe. Always talk to your doctor before using any supplements or alternative medicines.

Listen to Your Body

Don't ignore your own experience with psoriasis. If your skin gets worse after you eat certain foods, stop eating them and see what happens. That food could be a trigger for you.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Inflammation and Diet."

Choudhary, S. Bioscience Biotechnology Research Communications, 2016.

Michaelsson, G. British Journal of Dermatology, January 2000.

National Institutes of Health: "The Role of Herbs and Spices in Cancer Prevention."

National Psoriasis Foundation: "Diet and Psoriasis," "Gluten-Free Diet," "How Cigarettes and Alcohol Affect Psoriasis."

Wolters, M. British Journal of Dermatology, August 2005.

Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology: "The association of psoriasis with autoimmune diseases."

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?”

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