Diet is one of the most useful treatments for psoriasis. Even when medication is recommended by doctors, changing the way you eat can still have a big impact on the way your body reacts to the disease and how strong the symptoms are. When it comes to treating psoriasis, both what you eat and what you don't are equally important.
Folic acid is essential to the health of the skin and especially important for those with psoriasis, who often have a deficiency of the vitamin. Aside from taking supplements (which a doctor is likely to recommend), you can also consume green leafy vegetables and whole grains, which are often fortified with folic acid. Wheat and rye, however, can cause reactions in some people, so they are better avoided.
A high consumption of fibre is important to help the toxins in the body clear out, lowering the chances for an episode or attack. As toxins tend to congregate in the colon, eating a high-fibre diet will eliminate them and ensure that no good nutrients are binded along with them. Soluble fibre such as psyllium is more effective and quick-acting.
Fish is particularly beneficial to people with psoriasis. Certain types, like shellfish, should be avoided, since they are high in saturated fats and therefore damaging. All others, especially fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, can help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis considerably. Good sources of omega-3 are sardines and salmon. Trout and mackerel are also good for you. For those who don't eat animal products, both flaxseed and sesame seeds can be consumed as good alternatives. Sunflower seeds, while lower in omega-3 fatty acids, still provide enough to warrant their intake.
As important the foods that you eat are, you should also avoid certain foods to control symptoms and improve your quality of life. Animal fats are especially damaging to people with psoriasis. Red meats, eggs and anything heavy in dairy products should be especially avoided. This means not only plain dairy products themselves but also items such as cakes, chocolate and ice cream. Citrus fruits are also known to trigger psoriasis, so they should be avoided as much as possible.
Alcohol, coffee, certain sauces (especially spicy ones), tomato juice and canola or vegetable oil can trigger episodes of psoriasis in certain people, so it is important to pay attention after consuming these foods to see the effect they cause to the body. Spices can also be damaging to the body, especially the hot ones or the ones based on nuts or citrus. Examples include pepper, hot sauce, gravies, vinegar, cumin, mustard and curry.