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  5. What Foods To Eat & Avoid When You Have Psoriasis?

We understand, psoriasis can cause a lot of embarrassment and skin irritation, be it mild or severe. Isn’t that right? While you may be taking OTC or prescription medications for the condition, it is crucial to keep a watch on your diet.

There are foods that can trigger psoriasis flare-ups and then there are foods that can prevent the condition and aid in healing your skin. Read in detail below.

Understanding Psoriasis

Psoriasis [1] is an inflammatory skin condition that causes skin cell buildup and appears as thick, red and scaly patches on the skin. It is an autoimmune disorder [2] - a condition where the body's immune system attacks its own cells. Psoriasis affects the scalp, elbows, knees, hands, feet and face.

The condition can be triggered by factors like extreme weather, stress and certain foods [3]. Below is a list of foods that you have to avoid in order to prevent psoriasis flare-ups.

What Foods To Avoid If You Have Psoriasis?

1. Eggs, Dairy & Red Meat

All these foods contain polyunsaturated arachidonic acid [4]. By-products of this acid can produce psoriatic scales on the body.

2. Gluten

Gluten [5] is a protein that is believed to increase the risk of psoriasis. It is present in foods like wheat, barley, malt, rye, beer, pasta, noodles and certain baked, processed foods and sauces.

3. Processed Foods

Eating processed foods can cause obesity, slowed metabolism and inflammation in the body, directly related to psoriasis. Avoid processed meats, canned fruits and vegetables, prepackaged foods and anything high in sugar, salt and fats.

4. Alcohol

Skin care and hair care experts recommend giving up on alcohol for healthy skin and hair. Alcohol has a negative effect on your body when you're dealing with psoriasis. It can mess up with your immune system and cause flare-ups.

5. Alkaloids Or Nightshades

Nightshades are a family of foods containing alkaloids. Nightshades like tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers contain solanine [6], which can cause psoriatic flare-ups besides causing digestion problems.

What Is The Best Diet For Psoriasis?

1. Anti-Inflammatory And Antioxidant Diet

An anti-inflammatory diet can help with psoriasis. Fruits and vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, berries, grapes, green leafy vegetables and dark fruits are anti-inflammatory and antioxidants.

So, why do you need antioxidants? [7] It’s because they help fight oxidative stress in the body. This stress is caused due to factors like sunlight, pollution, smoking and mental stress. What follows is a bunch of free radicals (molecules with unpaired electrons) that go haywire and cause damage to the body.

Some vegetable oils like olive oil, flaxseed oil, safflower oil, coconut oil and fatty fish are sources of omega 3 fatty acids. These acids are great anti-inflammatory agents.

2. Gluten-Free Diet

Gluten is a blend of two proteins that is responsible for the elastic texture of cereals like wheat. People who are already sensitive to gluten and have psoriasis, may notice that their flare-ups increase with a gluten diet. A small study [8] found that a gluten-free diet can help decrease the chances of flare-ups.

3. Vegan Diet

Vegan diet [9] is the one with vegetarian food minus the dairy. It is rich in anti-inflammatory fruits, vegetables and healthy oils. If you are someone with a sweet tooth and worried about missing out on desserts, there are a lot of vegan desserts out there made with dairy-free ingredients that taste equally good. More good news? You will be sparing a lot of animals by turning into a vegan!

Word Of Caution

You may miss out on certain nutrients while on a vegan diet. Talk to your doctor if you need to pop any vitamin or mineral supplements.

4. Paleo Diet

Sounds fancy? Paleo diet [10] lays emphasis on eating whole, traditional foods and avoiding processed foods like chips, cola, biscuits and so on. Whole foods contain anti-inflammatory agents that help against psoriasis.

5. Keto Diet

Keto diet [11] has gained immense popularity in recent times as a means to lose weight. It requires you to eat a low carb diet. It is helpful when you have psoriasis because your body does not crave for processed foods anymore, while it is being fed minimum or no carbs.

Note: Beware of the foods in a keto diet that may be responsible for your psoriasis.

6. Dr. Pagona Diet

This diet is named after Dr. Pagano [12], who helped heal psoriasis through diet. He recommends a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. He stresses on avoiding red meat, dairy, eggs, nightshades, citrus fruits and processed foods.

7. Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean diet focuses on fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, potatoes, breads, herbs and healthy oils like olive oil. Mediterranean diet not only helps with psoriasis, but also can decrease the risk of developing chronic disorders.

8. Auto-immune Protocol Diet (AIP Diet)

The auto-immune protocol diet is based on eliminating any foods that can cause inflammation and flare-ups subsequently [13]. You are supposed to stay away from dairy, refined sugars, eggs, gum, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, potatoes and processed foods to name a few. You can eat coconut products, olive oil, fruits and vegetables.

Wrapping Up

Psoriasis is a skin condition with no permanent cure. However, dietary changes can decrease the build-up of skin patches. Be mindful of what goes into your plate and steer clear of any foods that may cause allergic reactions in your body and worsen the condition. Also, practise yoga and breathing exercises to keep your mind happy and healthy.

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