8 Foods to Avoid With Psoriasis

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Susan Fishman, NCC, CRC on September 18, 2022
  • man-eating-lunch-at-table
    Don’t Feed the Disease
    A chronic skin disease like psoriasis can feel like a never-ending battle. You may have tried everything, but still find you can’t get rid of those itchy or sore patches of skin. While changing your diet is not a psoriasis cure, many people have found that avoiding certain foods can help bring them some relief.
  • pitcher of milk pouring into glass on table
    1. Whole Milk
    Much like cancer or heart disease, psoriasis is an inflammatory disease caused by chronic inflammation in the body. Since fat is an inflammatory tissue, researchers believe reducing overall body fat, and maintaining a healthy weight, can reduce inflammation and, in turn, help improve symptoms of psoriasis. If you already consume a lot of high-fat dairy products, you may want to switch from whole milk, which contains 3.25% fat to 1% or 2% milk, or even skim milk, to help reduce your overall fat intake.
  • Asiago and gouda cheeses  with crackers
    2. Cheese
    Other fat-laden dairy products include cheeses, which may lead to inflammation and aggravate your symptoms. Look for low-fat cheese options or even cheese substitues to replace the higher fat varieties. You can also opt to leave the cheese out of your sandwich or burger altogether.
  • African American businessman looking at cafe menu
    3. Processed Foods
    Processed and fast foods have also been shown to trigger inflammation due to their high-fat content and excess sugar. A good psoriasis diet, like any healthful diet, should have less of these foods and more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Studies have found that excess sugar consumption can also contribute to type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and can increase cholesterol levels, so your overall health will benefit, as well.
  • steak
    4. Fatty Red Meat
    Red meat is another fatty food that can contribute to inflammation. Instead of red meat, choose lean meats, such as poultry (without skin) and fish. For some people, eating foods containing omega-3 fats, found mainly in certain types of fish, such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and anchovies, has been shown to help improve symptoms of psoriasis.
  • Loaf of bread
    5. Foods Containing Gluten
    Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, has also been shown to cause problems for some people with psoriasis. If you think you may be sensitive to gluten, talk to your doctor about getting tested. If you do have this sensitivity, there are many food products on the market today that make it easier to stick to a gluten-free diet.
  • Man drinking pint of beer
    6. Alcohol
    Alcohol use can wreak havoc on a number of organs, and excessive consumption can lead to many health conditions, including liver and heart disease. Some believe it may also contribute to conditions like psoriasis, so it may be helpful to avoid alcohol, or try consuming it in moderation, to see if this helps improve your symptoms. As a general health rule, women should have no more than one drink per day, and men no more than two.
  • Cocoa
    7. Coffee
    Caffeine can also lead to inflammation, so it may be helpful to avoid beverages that contain high amounts of caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks. You may also want to limit hot chocolate and energy drinks (including energy waters), which often contain caffeine, as well.
  • Chocolate pieces and ground cocoa on wood table
    8. Chocolate
    Chocolate is another source of caffeine, so try to limit the amount of chocolately desserts you consume. Some other surprising caffeine culprits include protein bars, candy bars and coffee-flavored ice cream and yogurt.
Psoriasis Diet | Psoriasis
  1. Diet and Psoriasis. National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/treatments/alternative/diet-supplements
  2. Spotlight on Psoriasis. National Institutes of Health. News in Health. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2016/08/spotlight-psoriasis
  3. Six diet tips to help with psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis. National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/features/6-diet-tips-to-help-with-psoriasis-psoriatic-arthritis
  4. Psoriasis diet: Can changing your diet treat psoriasis? Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriasis/expert-answers/psoriasis-diet/faq-20057925
  5. Anti-inflammatory diet. National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/treating-psoriasis/complementary-and-alternative/diet-and-nutrition/anti-i...
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Last Review Date: 2022 Sep 18
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.