Psoriasis and Diet: Foods that Cause Flare-ups

Uncovering the link between skin health and what you eat.

If you suffer from psoriasis, you know that flare-ups can come on quickly and seemingly at random. But you might have noticed that certain foods or drinks can make your symptoms worse, and doctors have been taking note of those sensitivities in scores of psoriasis patients.

Currently, there is no scientific proof that these foods make psoriasis worse, but doctors agree, if you eat something that aggravates your skin, it can’t hurt to avoid it in the future. Here are some of the most common foods that patients have noted as potential culprits, and why you should consider cutting them out.

Avoid Alcohol
Psoriasis is a skin disorder, and when certain blood cells, called T cells, reach the skin, their reactions are what cause flare-ups. When you drink alcohol, your blood vessels dilate, meaning more blood can get to your skin, bringing with it more of those pesky T cells. And you don’t have to be a heavy drinker to see a difference; even light to moderate drinkers have noted positive results from cutting out alcohol from their diets.

Stay Away from the “Nightshades”
Nightshade plants include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and white potatoes. These plants contain a chemical compound called solanine that has been shown to cause pain in psoriasis patients.

Cut the Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits have long been known to be a common food allergen, and some allergens have been shown to make psoriasis worse. Removing fruits like grapefruits, oranges, lemons and limes may help improve your skin’s condition.

Remove Red Meat
That tasty steak may look appealing, but it contains a type of fat compound called arachidonic acid. It’s naturally occurring, but it is linked to an inflammatory response, like break outs on the skin. It may also be wise to cut out processed meats like bacon and sausage.

Steer Clear of Dairy
Much like red meat, dairy products often contain the same arachidonic acid. Cow’s milk in particular contains yet another inflammatory agent, casein, a milk protein. Also consider cutting out egg yolks, as they, too, contain these compounds.

Get Rid of Gluten
It’s been all over the health news, a tiny protein found in grains like rye, wheat and barley. It can be tough to find foods that don’t contain gluten, but the market is growing. And research, while not definitive, has shown some good responses to gluten-free treatment of psoriasis.

Skip the Junk Foods
Saturated fats, refined starches and sugars all promote inflammation, and junk and snack foods are riddled with them. On a similar note, it might be helpful to skip the sauce, as many patients have noted flare-ups increasing when they eat condiments like ketchup, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, curry, vinegar and even mayonnaise.

So, while the science may still be in the works, the results are cropping up: food may affect psoriasis. Try excluding these items from your diet and take special care to look at the results. You may find that there’s a link between what you eat and how you feel.

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