If you suffer from psoriasis, you probably already know there are certain triggers you need to stay away from to avoid painful, itchy flare-ups. Staying moisturized and hydrated, checking your medications for certain chemicals, and reducing stress are just a few. What we are now learning is that diet can also have a great impact on your psoriasis.
A study just recently published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology* cites the Western diet as a major culprit in flare-ups. This diet, which typically consists of moderate fat and high amounts of sugar, “induces appreciable skin inflammation and enhances the susceptibility to imiquimod-induced psoriasiform dermatitis” in mice.
It was previously thought that it was through obesity where individuals who regularly ate a Western diet would be predisposed to inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis, but emerging data tells us it’s more likely the food we are eating rather than obesity itself. Even with anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat psoriasis, this study suggests changes to diet may actually be as, if not more, effective.
How Does Diet Effect Psoriasis?
What it comes down to is gut health. The function of your gut microbiota, the microorganisms living in your intestines, are changed easily and quickly by eating a Western diet. This imbalance leads to gut inflammation, which in turn, causes inflammation in your joints and psoriatic skin.
During this 10-week study, the authors found that the group of mice that switched to standard diet had less skin scaling and reduced ear thickness than the group continuing on a Western diet. Switching to a healthier diet could partially reverse the changes to the gut microbia, reducing psoriasis-causing inflammation.
Inflammation-reducing Diet Tips
If you suffer from psoriasis flare-ups, it’s time to make some changes to your daily eating habits. Here are some of our top tips to reduce sugar and fat intake and reduce inflammation:
- Replace sugary drinks with tea or water.
- Eat more whole grains, lean meats, nuts, and colorful vegetables
- Grill, steam, or bake your foods instead of frying them
- Switch from sweetened yogurts and cereals to unsweetened
- Season foods with spices instead of sauces
- Read your labels and be aware of hidden sugars
For any questions on your psoriasis symptoms, schedule an appointment with The Derm Group by calling 973.571.2121.
*Article: Shi et al. (2021). Short-Term Western Diet Intake Promotes IL-23‒Mediated Skin and Joint Inflammation Accompanied by Changes to the Gut Microbiota in Mice. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, doi:10.1016/j.jid.2020.11.032