Foods That Trigger a Psoriasis Flare-up

Psoriasis is a common chronic skin condition that is characterized by elevated itchy patches of raised red skin that is often covered with thick silvery scales. It is usually found on the knees, scalp, and elbows, but it can also affect the trunk, legs, and nails. When you suffer from psoriasis, it is essential to identify and reduce the triggers that cause the condition to flare-up. This is an important part of managing your condition and also avoiding flare-ups. There are a variety of triggers that cause psoriasis flare-ups, and some of these can also include excess stress, bad weather, and even certain foods. Let us take a look at specific foods that trigger a psoriasis flare-up.

Foods That Trigger a Psoriasis Flare-up

Foods That Trigger a Psoriasis Flare-up

When you have psoriasis, you must avoid foods that can trigger inflammation in the body. This is because inflammation and the resulting immune system response is what can lead to a flare-up of your condition.

Let us take a look at some foods that you should avoid if you have psoriasis.

Dairy Products and Red Meat

Both dairy products and red meat, especially eggs, are known to contain a polyunsaturated fatty acid called arachidonic acid. In the past, research studies have shown that byproducts of arachidonic acid are responsible in producing psoriatic lesions.(1)

Foods you should be avoiding in this category include:

  • Eggs and dishes that contain egg
  • Red meat, especially beef
  • Bacon, Sausage, and any other processed items that contain red meats

Gluten

Celiac disease is today a prevalent condition that afflicts many people around the world. It is a condition that is marked by the body’s autoimmune response to gluten, which is a protein typically found in wheat and wheat products.

People who have psoriasis are primarily known for having increased markers for gluten sensitivity.(2) If you are sensitive to gluten and also have psoriasis, it is necessary for you to cut out and avoid all gluten-containing foods. Some of the foods you should be avoided include:(3)

  • Certain processed foods that have wheat
  • Wheat and wheat derivatives
  • Barley
  • Malt
  • Rye
  • Pasta, noodles, and any baked goods that contain rye, wheat, malt, and barley
  • Certain condiments and sauces
  • Malt and beer beverages

Processed Foods

Not only are processed foods not good your health but if you have psoriasis, then these might contribute to a flare-up of your condition. Eating too much high-calorie, processed foods can also lead to conditions such as metabolic syndrome, obesity, and many other chronic health conditions. These types of medical conditions are also known to cause chronic inflammation in the body, which is also associated with a flare-up of psoriasis.(4)

Foods you should be avoiding in this category include:

  • Processed meats
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Prepackaged food products
  • Basically, any processed foods that are high in salt, sugar, and fat

Alcohol

Alcohol is known to be a trigger of psoriasis flare-up because of the disruptive effects it has on the many pathways of your immune system.(5) Autoimmune flare-ups are typically associated with the health of the immune system, and if you have psoriasis, you should consider drinking alcohol very sparingly or not at all.(6)

Nightshades

One of the most common triggers that cause a psoriasis flare-up is due to the consumption of nightshades. Nightshade plants are known to contain solanine, which has a direct effect on digestion in humans and is a known cause of inflammation in the body.(7)

Foods you should avoid in this category include:

Foods You Should Be Eating In Psoriasis

If you have psoriasis, you need to focus on having a diet that is high in anti-inflammatory foods. These foods help decrease the severity of a psoriasis flare-up. Let us look at what some of these foods are:

Fruits and Vegetables

Nearly all anti-inflammatory diets include lots of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants. These are compou8nds that reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. A diet that is high in fruits and vegetables is not just recommended for your overall well-being, but it is especially beneficial for inflammatory medical conditions such as psoriasis.

Foods you should be eating in this category include:

  • Cherries, grapes, and other dark-colored fruits
  • Cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts
  • Berries such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries
  • Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and arugula

Fatty Fish

A diet that is rich in fatty fish can help you get anti0inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. A high intake of omega-3 fatty acids has been associated with a reduction in inflammatory substances in the body, and therefore, also with a decrease in overall inflammation.

Fatty fishes you should be eating include:

  • Cod
  • Trout
  • Sardines
  • Salmon (both fresh and canned will do)

However, point to note here is that there is still more research that is required on establishing a clear link between consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and psoriasis.(8)

Heart-Healthy Oils/Fats

Similar to fatty fish, there are many vegetable oils also that contain anti-inflammatory fatty acids. In this scenario, it is best to focus on oils that have a higher omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio. Some of the ideal oils you should include in your diet are:

Conclusion

People who suffer from autoimmune conditions such as psoriasis can significantly benefit from making dietary changes. If you have psoriasis, then you will find it beneficial to include a lot of anti-inflammatory foods, including fruits, vegetables, fatty fish, and healthy oils, in your diet.

At the same time, you should also avoid foods that are known to boost inflammation in the body, including dairy products, meats, and processed foods. Carrying out these dietary changes may help decrease the severity and frequency of the flare-ups of psoriasis.

However, it is always best to consult a doctor or nutritionist for more information on how changing your diet can help control and manage the symptoms of psoriasis.

References:  

  1. Park, M.K., Li, W., Paek, S.Y., Li, X., Wu, S., Li, T., Qureshi, A.A. and Cho, E., 2017. Consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk of incident psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis from the Nurses’ Health Study II. The British journal of dermatology, 177(1), p.302.
  2. Kolchak, N.A., Tetarnikova, M.K., Theodoropoulou, M.S., Michalopoulou, A.P. and Theodoropoulos, D.S., 2018. Prevalence of antigliadin IgA antibodies in psoriasis vulgaris and response of seropositive patients to a gluten-free diet. Journal of multidisciplinary healthcare, 11, p.13.
  3. Celiac Disease Foundation. (2019). Sources of Gluten | Celiac Disease Foundation. [online] Available at: https://celiac.org/gluten-free-living/what-is-gluten/sources-of-gluten/ [Accessed 28 Aug. 2019].
  4. Debbaneh, M., Millsop, J.W., Bhatia, B.K., Koo, J. and Liao, W., 2014. Diet and psoriasis, part I: Impact of weight loss interventions. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 71(1), pp.133-140.
  5. Adışen, E., Uzun, S., Erduran, F. and Gürer, M.A., 2018. Prevalence of smoking, alcohol consumption and metabolic syndrome in patients with psoriasis. Anais brasileiros de dermatologia, 93(2), pp.205-211.
  6. Sarkar, D., Jung, M.K. and Wang, H.J., 2015. Alcohol and the immune system. Alcohol research: current reviews, 37(2), p.153.
  7. Afifi, L., Danesh, M.J., Lee, K.M., Beroukhim, K., Farahnik, B., Ahn, R.S., Yan, D., Singh, R.K., Nakamura, M., Koo, J. and Liao, W., 2017. Dietary behaviors in psoriasis: patient-reported outcomes from a US national survey. Dermatology and therapy, 7(2), pp.227-242.
  8. Park, M.K., Li, W., Paek, S.Y., Li, X., Wu, S., Li, T., Qureshi, A.A. and Cho, E., 2017. Consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk of incident psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis from the Nurses’ Health Study II. The British journal of dermatology, 177(1), p.302.

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