psoriasis diet

The Psoriasis Diet

Did you know that you can manage psoriasis with a special diet? In fact, there are plenty of disorders you can manage solely through what you eat. For example, the DASH diet can help treat high blood pressure. A low FODMAP diet can help manage irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms.

While there isn’t an official psoriasis diet yet, you can base your diet around foods that help. Most of these foods have anti-inflammatory qualities. Dr. John Pagano is notable for offering a psoriasis diet and has proven great success stories.

At its core, psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory, autoimmune skin condition. The right diet helps reduce inflammation and supports a healthy immune system. Foods that promote inflammation will obviously lead to the opposite effects. In addition, losing some extra pounds seems to be very helpful.

Let’s review some foods you should eat, and some you should avoid, based on research studies.

psoriasis diet - peppers on food scale

Caloric Intake

A 2018 systematic review published by the JAMA Dermatology looked at 55 published studies and 4,534 participants with psoriasis. They evaluated the impact of dietary interventions on psoriasis symptoms and psoriatic arthritis.

They found the strongest evidence to support the benefits of a low caloric diet in the case of those who have excess weight.

Based on these findings, the Medical Board of The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends dietary changes for those who need to manage their weight. This includes those who are overweight or obese.

This study also found evidence that a gluten-free diet and Vitamin D supplements decrease symptoms. Also, eating certain foods, nutrients, and adopting new patterns helps too.
To achieve a healthy weight, you may want to consider working with a nutritionist. Professionals can help you optimize the benefits of weight loss.

The key to losing weight is to do it gradually, not quickly. This will help you maintain a healthy weight long-term while consuming nutrient-dense meals. The CDC recommends losing no more than two pounds per week.

psoriasis diet - packed lunch with fruits, vegetables, and sandwich

Psoriasis Diet Food List

A healthy diet should contain foods from all groups. Vegetables should make the most of your plate, followed by legumes, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds, healthy oils, eggs, dairy, lean meats, and fish.

To lose weight, decrease your caloric intake or carbohydrates. Both hypocaloric and low-carb diets are effective to lose excess weight.

1. Vegetables

When looking at your meal, vegetables should make up most of it. You should consume vegetables of all colors, not just the leafy green and cruciferous ones. Vegetables with yellow, orange, red, and purple colors have antioxidants in them. These antioxidants fight free radicals and decrease inflammation – perfect for managing psoriasis.

Vegetables are also packed with vitamins, minerals, and fibers. These are all essential to achieve a healthy and nutritious diet.

2. Fruits

Fruit is another food group that should make up a majority of your diet. Choose those that have a low glycemic index such as berries. These are high in antioxidants, especially blueberries. Plus, they are helpful if you’re trying to lose weight too.

3. Legumes

Legumes offer a great source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. To reduce levels of inflammatory lectins and risks of bloating and digestion issues, soak them overnight. You can also use a pressure cooker to rid them of these qualities.

4. Dairy

Eggs and dairy products are also great sources of protein and low in calories. While cow’s dairy is a common food sensitivity, you can use alternative dairies such as goat, sheep, or buffalo. Vegan options include coconut, oat, or almond milk.

5. Lean Meat and Fish

Lean meat such as turkey and chicken is an optimal and healthy protein source. Fish is another great source and it offers healthy nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids.

6. Healthy Fats

We often run away from foods that have high-fat quantities. However, you must know the difference between healthy and harmful fats.

Healthy fats include olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds. Make sure to add some of these to your diet.

7. Grains

Whole grains are the best option when eating bread or pasta. These offer more nutrients and fibers than white flour products.

You may be wondering about gluten while eating grains in your diet. With psoriasis associated with celiac disease, you should avoid gluten at all costs.

Although there is minimal research, there is evidence that suggests people with psoriasis tend to have a gluten sensitivity. Therefore, a gluten-free diet can help manage psoriasis symptoms.
Products that contain wheat, rye, barley, and malt also have gluten. Processed foods such as dressings also contain gluten. To achieve a gluten-free diet, buy “gluten-free” products and prepare food at home.

Watch for personal care products as well. Some shampoos and creams also have gluten as an ingredient.

psoriasis diet - open bag of potato chips

Foods to Avoid on the Psoriasis Diet

The list of foods to avoid is pretty straightforward. Reduce or eliminate processed foods, high sugar foods, and beverages. As mentioned above, it is worth eliminating gluten and cow’s dairy to see if there is an improvement.

Some people may be sensitive to nuts and seeds, or different compounds from foods like sulfites or oxalates. Food intolerance tests are available, but they aren’t always accurate. Keeping a food journal can help you identify the problematic foods, and cut these foods from the diet. Avoid alcohol as well because it’s a known trigger for psoriasis flare-ups.


Dr. Pagano’s diet for psoriasis was found to benefit those using it. Dr. Pagano emphasizes the consumption of high amounts of vegetables, fruits. He encourages reducing, grains, meats, seafood, eggs, and dairy. Eliminating red meat, citrus fruits, and processed foods can greatly help manage psoriasis.

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