How to Follow the Right Diet for Psoriasis

Three Parts:Eating to Maintain a Healthy WeightFocusing on Heart-Healthy FoodsEnsuring Dieting Success

Psoriasis might seem like a severe problem with dry skin. But, it's actually a chronic skin disease caused by inflammation. If you've been diagnosed with psoriasis, your immune system tries to respond to this inflammation by making cells that unfortunately reproduce too quickly. This makes the tell-tale patches seen in psoriasis. Improve your diet by losing weight and focusing on heart-healthy foods which can reduce inflammation.[1]

Part 1
Eating to Maintain a Healthy Weight

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    Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). Your BMI is a number used to indicate your level of body fat. Use an online BMI calculator to find your BMI. All you'll need to enter is your weight and height. Ranges have been created to show what which numbers are healthy, overweight, or obese. [2]
    • The BMI is simply a diagnostic tool that should give you an idea of your weight loss or maintenance goals. It's not an indicator of overall health.
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    Determine your ideal weight range. If you're in a normal weight range, try to maintain your weight by eating the same number of calories. But, if you're overweight, consider what BMI weight range would be normal for you. Determine how many pounds you should lose and figure on cutting 500 calories a day in order to lose 1 pound a week. Aim for gradual weight loss, not a crash diet.[3]
    • For example, if you're 5'7" and weigh 180 lbs, your BMI is in the overweight range. Your healthy range would be 118 to 159 lbs, so you should lose a minimum of 21 lbs.
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    Eat complex carbohydrates. Whole grains and complex carbohydrates have anti-inflammatory antioxidants and are high in fiber that can regulate your blood sugar and reduce inflammation. At least 90 to 95% of the carbohydrates you eat should be complex. Complex carbohydrates are found in whole, unprocessed foods like:[4]
    • Whole grains
    • Peas
    • Lentils
    • Beans
    • Vegetables
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    Reduce your sugar intake. Read food labels and pay attention to how much sugar you consume. In general, women should eat no more than 2 tablespoons of sugar a day and men shouldn't eat more than 3 tablespoons a day. Sugar can contribute to being overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese has been scientifically linked to an increased risk for psoriasis.[5]
    • A good rule of thumb is no “white” foods. Eat no white bread, white pasta, or white rice. You should also avoid candies, cookies, cakes and other confections.
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    Avoid skipping meals. It's easy to think that just skipping breakfast will help you cut out your extra calories for the day. Unfortunately, skipping meals will only make you hungrier later and you'll be more likely to overeat or make unhealthy food choices. Try to eat meals throughout the day, just cut back on the portion sizes. Breakfast is especially important for starting the day in a healthy way.[6]
    • Studies have linked skipping meals with obesity.

Part 2
Focusing on Heart-Healthy Foods

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    Eat foods high in omega-3s. Omega-3s are fatty acids which are healthy fats that reduce inflammation and improve heart and brain health. Eating omega-3s can manage inflammation that causes your psoriasis. Eat wild-caught fish like salmon, cod, haddock, and tuna twice a week. You can also get omega-3s from flaxseeds. Include 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds at every meal.[7]
    • Your body best digests flaxseeds when they're ground. Use a coffee or spice grinder to grind your flaxseeds or keep pre-ground flaxseeds (also called flaxseed meal) in your refrigerator or freezer to keep from getting rancid.
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    Include more fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Try to eat at least 3 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Keep changing the colors of the produce and eat different types so you get a full range of nutrients. Beans and legumes are also anti-inflammatory, so try to eat 1 to 3 servings a day. Good anti-inflammatory choices include:[8]
    • Carrots
    • Squash
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Kale
    • Broccoli
    • Berries (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries)
    • Cherries
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    Prepare your own food from scratch. Purchased processed foods can contain a lot of preservatives, fats, added sugars, and food dyes. Many foods also have antibiotics, hormones, or pesticides. These can all buildup and irritate your skin. Try to do most of your cooking from scratch so you can control exactly what you're eating.
    • Choose organic food as often as possible since it isn't produced using hormones, pesticides, or antibiotics.[9]
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    Cut back or eliminate alcohol. Alcohol can increase inflammation that causes your psoriasis so you should reduce or stop drinking alcohol. This is especially important if your psoriasis is severe. Drinking alcohol could also interact with medications you're taking which could be dangerous.[10]
    • Don't forget that while you should cut back on alcohol, you should increase your intake of water. Try to drink 1 to 2 liters or 6 to 8 eight-ounce glasses of water a day.[11]
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    Avoid foods that are bad for your heart and increase inflammation. While research is conflicted about whether certain foods can make your inflammation worse, many people believe that eating specific foods can increase inflammation. These foods include:[12]
    • Fatty red meats: although you can include a small amount of red meat if it is grass-fed since grass-fed beef has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids (the anti-inflammatory fats).
    • Dairy products
    • Processed and prepackaged foods
    • Refined sugars
    • Nightshade vegetables: potatoes, tomatoes and peppers
    • Gluten products: a number of studies have shown that up to 25% of people with psoriasis are gluten sensitive.[13] Try going gluten-free for at least 6 to 8 weeks to see if it helps your psoriasis.

Part 3
Ensuring Dieting Success

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    Talk with your doctor. Anytime you start a new diet, want to take supplements, or are beginning a new exercise regimen, you should consult with your doctor. This is especially important if you're taking any medications, since some supplements can interact with your prescriptions.[14]
    • Your doctor will help you create a diet or workout routine that's suited to your particular needs.
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    Make sure you eat food you enjoy. It's harder to stick to a diet if you feel like you're constantly depriving yourself of food you enjoy. If you practice moderation, you'll be more likely to stick to the diet. This means you can enjoy a little of a food that you consider to be a treat, just don't eat it every day.[15]
    • Don't think of certain foods as off limits. This may only make you want to eat them even more. Instead, think of them as foods you should rarely eat.
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    Consider supplementing with vitamin D. If your doctor has prescribed a topical ointment for your psoriasis, it might contain vitamin D. Ask your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement. It's been shown to change the way your cells grow and can slow them down (which is helpful since psoriasis increases the growth of cells). Moderate levels of vitamin D can also help your body fight inflammation. Take 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D daily or eat:[16]
    • Fish: cod liver oil, salmon, mackerel, tuna
    • Dairy: milk, fortified yogurt, Swiss cheese
    • Fortified cereals and juices
    • Eggs
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    Exercise to help lose weight. If you're watching your calorie intake and burning calories through exercise, you'll lose weight. Being overweight can contribute to the inflammation that's causing your psoriasis. Research shows that losing weight can make your treatments for psoriasis more effective.[17]
    • Since psoriasis is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, losing weight can be an important way to improve your risk factors for heart disease.
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    Plan your meals. If you lead an active life, you know that it can be hard to find time to eat, let alone eat a nutritious meal. Take the time to plan your meals before your week gets too busy. Even taking five minutes to plan the next day's meals will mean that you're more likely to make healthy choices. You'll also be less likely to just grab prepacked convenience foods.[18]
    • Planning your meals is also a good way to keep track of the foods you're eating throughout the week. A food journal is a great way to be accountable to yourself and your dieting goals.

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Categories: Skin Conditions