Foods to Avoid if You Have Psoriasis

Foods to Avoid if You Have Psoriasis

Food and psoriasis

Although the causes of psoriasis are still uncertain, its plaques or scales  on the skin are a clear sign of inflammation in the body, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. Inflammatory triggers , including stress , smoking, and different foods, can cause psoriasis flare-ups for some people.

Avoiding inflammatory foods and emphasizing anti-inflammatory foods in your diet can be helpful in managing conditions like psoriasis. It’s important to understand that there is no known diet that can cure psoriasis, and the types of foods that can cause a flare-up can be highly individual. For example, although gluten may be a trigger for one person, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will cause symptoms in another person with psoriasis.

But there are some general recommendations for reducing inflammation in the body if you have psoriasis. These are some of the foods that you may want to avoid or limit to help manage your symptoms.

Foods with added sugars

Sugar has long been considered a food that promotes inflammation in the body, and a February 2020 study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology showed that, even in the short term, eating a diet high in added sugars was linked to psoriasis .

There are sugars that occur naturally in some foods, such as fruits and dairy products , but added sugar refers to sweeteners added to a food during processing.

Common foods with added sugars include:

  • Sugary drinks like soda and energy drinks
  • Sweets and candies
  • Ready cereals
  • Some types of bread


Reducing your intake of added sugars may have the added benefit of reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease .

In general, the same dietary patterns that prevent obesity and cardiovascular disease may be beneficial for psoriasis.

Refined carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates are carbohydrates that have been highly processed so that they are no longer in their original form. These include:

  • white rice
  • White bread
  • flours
  • convenience foods such as crackers, chips, cookies, granola bars , energy bars , and breakfast cereals.


Refined carbohydrates are associated with inflammation in the body . To avoid them, try to focus on eating foods as they are grown in nature: brown rice instead of white, steel-cut oats instead of grains, or an apple instead of that apple-flavored energy bar.

These foods contain antioxidants , which fight inflammation-causing free radicals in the body.


When possible, avoid cooking with refined oils , which include:

  • corn oil
  • cottonseed oil
  • peanut oil
  • rice bran oil
  • sesame oil
  • soybean oil
  • sunflower seed oil

These omega-6- rich oils have been linked to  chronic low-grade inflammation . Instead, try to opt for unrefined cooking oils, such as extra virgin olive oil , raw coconut oil , and cold- pressed avocado oil .

If you miss the flavor of refined oils, consider sprinkling on some zing in the form of herbs and spices . Turmeric , in particular , may help minimize psoriasis in some people.

Hamburgers and sausages

Saturated fat increases inflammation throughout the body through many pathways, and too much intake can make psoriasis worse . Any type of high-fat meat will also have high levels of saturated fat , so these should be limited. Particularly:

  • Red meats like burgers and steaks
  • Processed meats such as salami

To further aid your psoriasis treatment , swap those saturated fats for some healthy omega-3 fatty acids , which can help reduce chronic inflammation. Instead of steak for dinner, opt for salmon and a salad dressed with walnuts and flaxseeds .


Psoriasis can be triggered or made worse by alcohol intake . Keep in mind that everyone should  drink alcohol in moderation, which means no more than one or two drinks a day .

Foods that are difficult to tolerate

Negative reactions, including psoriasis flare-ups, can occur with foods to which you have an intolerance. Specific intolerances vary from person to person, so the key is understanding which foods may be triggers on a personal level.

For example, in some cases, psoriasis symptoms improve after eliminating foods such as gluten and dairy products. An elimination diary or food diary  can be useful tools for keeping track of your diet and symptoms to share with your doctor and to explore possible links.

If you go the elimination route, the idea is to remove only one food at a time , such as gluten, for a few weeks, then add it back into your diet. Basically, you experiment to see if your psoriasis symptoms clear up with removal and come back with reintroduction. Be sure to work closely with your doctor or dietitian to do this safely so you don’t end up cutting out important nutrients from your diet.

Products of animal origin

A  healthy microbiome is linked to a reduced risk of psoriasis, so foods that support gut health may help improve psoriasis symptoms.

A healthy microbiome needs fiber , which is found only in plant foods . If you’re following a diet high in animal products, such as dairy, cheese and meat, be sure to incorporate more high-fiber foods , such as vegetables , fruits, beans , whole grains , nuts and seeds.

Another plus for the plant-based category: In general, plants are anti-inflammatory .



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