The Best Diet for Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Those with psoriasis often suffer from dry, scaly plaque buildup that can crack and bleed. In addition to being uncomfortable, these lesions can also cause individuals to feel self-conscious about their appearance.
Conventional psoriasis treatments, such as injections and light therapy, only address the symptoms of psoriasis, not the underlying causes of the condition. In some cases, poor nutrition is to blame for the imbalances that can trigger psoriasis. Specially designed nutrition plans can fix these imbalances and significantly reduce the symptoms of psoriasis. Targeted dietary modifications can provide hope to people seeking relief from chronic psoriasis, and San Antonio functional nutritionist Sarah Treat, MS, CCN, is here to help.
In this article, we will look at the causes of psoriasis, explore the nutrient deficiencies associated with the condition, and outline a comprehensive diet plan that includes specific foods and meals to help manage psoriasis. If you have any questions, take a look at how our nutrition services can target psoriasis and other autoimmune conditions in San Antonio.
What are the Causes of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder, meaning the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells. Several factors contribute to the development and exacerbation of psoriasis:
Family history plays a significant role in psoriasis development. If you have a family member with the condition, your risk of psoriasis is higher.
Immune System Dysfunction
Overactive immune systems are a key driver of psoriasis. Immune cells called T cells become hyperactive and trigger inflammation in the skin.
Certain environmental factors, such as stress, infections, and skin injuries, can trigger psoriasis flare-ups.
Nutrient imbalances and deficiencies can contribute to the severity of psoriasis symptoms.
Before we can formulate the best diet for psoriasis, we first need to understand the condition’s root causes. That’s what functional nutrition is all about, after all – discovering and addressing the root causes of disease.
Nutrient Deficiencies that Contribute to Psoriasis
Nutrient deficiencies can exacerbate the symptoms of psoriasis. Some common nutritional deficiencies associated with psoriasis include:
Low levels of vitamin D are common in psoriasis patients, and this deficiency is linked to increased disease severity. Vitamin D is essential for skin health and can help regulate the immune system.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce inflammation associated with psoriasis. Deficiency in these essential fats can worsen symptoms.
Antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E help protect the skin from oxidative stress and inflammation. A lack of antioxidants in the diet can contribute to skin problems.
Zinc is important for skin repair and immune function. A zinc deficiency can slow down the healing process of psoriatic lesions.
Selenium is an essential mineral that supports skin health and can help reduce inflammation. Psoriasis patients may have lower selenium levels.
Build The Best Diet for Psoriasis
When determining the best diet for psoriasis, we need to acknowledge that every person’s nutritional needs are different. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions in functional nutrition, so it’s best to work one-on-one with Sarah Treat to personalize your nutrition plan truly.
However, most psoriasis diets will follow a few general guidelines. Use the following information as a starting point and adjust as needed. A well-balanced diet rich in nutrients can help manage psoriasis symptoms and improve overall health. Here are specific foods and meal ideas to consider when creating a psoriasis-friendly diet plan:
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These fats can help reduce inflammation and alleviate psoriasis symptoms. Aim for at least two servings per week as part of your psoriasis diet.
Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are packed with vitamins and antioxidants. They can support skin health and reduce inflammation. Include them in salads, smoothies, or stir-fries. Not only are leafy greens best for a psoriasis diet, but they’re also good for overall nutrition!
Colorful Fruits and Vegetables
A variety of colorful fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and antioxidants. Carrots, sweet potatoes, blueberries, and oranges are excellent choices.
Nuts and Seeds
Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are rich in nutrients that include vitamin E, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. Incorporate them into your diet as snacks or add them to meals.
Opt for lean protein sources like poultry, tofu, and legumes to support skin repair and maintain muscle mass.
Choose gluten free whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and potatoes over refined grains. They provide fiber and nutrients that can help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation.
Certain herbal teas, like chamomile and turmeric tea, have anti-inflammatory properties and may help soothe psoriasis symptoms.
Staying hydrated is essential for skin health. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your skin moisturized.
Sample Psoriasis-Friendly Meal Plan
So, what does an optimized diet for psoriasis look like? To help, here’s a sample meal plan that incorporates these psoriasis-friendly foods. We try to recommend meals that taste good while also helping you reach your nutritional goals. Good nutrition is a journey that takes time. Daily consistency is key!
- A smoothie with fresh greens, berries, and protein powder
- Whole grain toast with almond butter
- Green tea or water
- Spinach and kale salad with grilled chicken, cherry tomatoes, and balsamic vinaigrette
- Quinoa or brown rice on the side
- Water with lemon
- Carrot and cucumber sticks with hummus
- Almonds or walnuts
- Herbal tea
- Baked salmon with a lemon and dill sauce
- Steamed broccoli and sweet potatoes
- Water or herbal tea
Holistic Remedies for Psoriasis
Finally, functional nutritionists will recommend other lifestyle habits to prevent inflammation and keep your skin as clear as possible. Psoriasis is not just a nutrition issue, so you’ll likely need to make other changes to best manage your symptoms. In addition to dietary changes, several holistic remedies can complement your psoriasis management plan:
High-stress levels can trigger psoriasis flare-ups. Practice stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.
Applying aloe vera gel directly to psoriatic lesions can soothe inflammation and itching.
Limited sun exposure can be beneficial for psoriasis, as it stimulates the production of vitamin D in the skin. However, always use sunscreen to protect healthy skin.
Probiotic-rich foods like yogurt or probiotic supplements can support gut health, potentially reducing inflammation associated with psoriasis.
Some people find relief from psoriasis symptoms through acupuncture, which may help balance the body’s energy flow.
Natural topical treatments like coconut oil, jojoba oil, or apple cider vinegar can be applied to affected areas to soothe the skin.
Let Sarah Treat Help You Find the Best Diet for Your Psoriasis
San Antonio functional nutritionist Sarah Treat takes a holistic approach to managing the symptoms of psoriasis, one that considers the underlying causes of the condition, including nutritional deficiencies. Let Sarah show you how you can take control of your psoriasis through dietary modifications and other lifestyle changes. Schedule a discovery call today to learn more!