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Psoriasis: What food to eat and to avoid?

If you suffer from psoriasis, you may take medications and closely track the weather, your stress level, and other triggers. But the question is: should you also pay attention to what’s on your plate?

Few people who have psoriasis believe that their eating habits can affect their skin and there’s no scientific evidence that staying away from certain foods or following a specific diet will help your condition. However, what you drink and eat may make a difference to your condition and can affect your medications.

Limit Alcohol
The link between psoriasis and alcohol isn’t clear, but if you drink, be moderate. For men, this means no more than two drinks a day, and for women no more than one. Alcohol affects the body and men who drink greatly don’t respond to psoriasis treatments as well. And some research states that people who have psoriasis and drink heavily may find that their skin gets better when they stop. In case your condition is very severe or you take certain medications, your doctor may tell you to avoid alcohol completely.

Include Foods That Fight Inflammation
Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition. Some people who have psoriasis say they can handle it better if they eat more inflammation-fighting foods like vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and selenium. In addition, fatty acids from fish oil can be helpful. Anti-inflammatory foods are usually healthy, so it shouldn’t hurt to give them a try. They include:
– Fruits and veggies, especially cherries, berries, and leafy greens
– Salmon, sardines, and other fish high in omega-3 fatty acids
– Antioxidant-rich herbs and spices, like cumin, thyme, and ginger
– Heart-healthy sources of fat, like olive oil, nuts, and seeds

Avoid inflammatory foods
Some foods could make inflammation worse. Eat less of these:
Refined sugars and processed foods
Fatty cuts of red meat
Dairy products

Lose Weight
People who are overweight or obese have a better chance of getting psoriasis, and their symptoms tend to be worse. Your skin may get better if you lose extra pounds. This may be because fat cells make certain proteins that can activate inflammation and make the condition worse. You might eat smaller portions, limit carbs or fat, or follow a combination of diet strategies. Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian can help you follow a weight loss diet that improves your condition.

Gluten-Free Diet
You may wonder whether your psoriasis would improve if you ate a gluten-free diet. Although you may hear about success stories from others who have tried it, so far there’s no scientific evidence about that. This kind of eating plan is required if you have celiac disease, which, like psoriasis, is an autoimmune disease. This plan is useful when you have gluten sensitivity. People with psoriasis are more likely to also have another autoimmune disease. If you go gluten-free, it means you have to cut out foods that have grains like wheat, rye and barley. The disadvantage is that those foods are also heart-healthy, and psoriasis raises your chance of getting heart disease. Communicate with your doctor before you make any changes in the food you eat.

Finally, good skin requires good care. Check this article if you want to know more about how to have healthy skin.

Christelle Bedrossian
Beirut, Lebanon

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Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian