The Anti-Inflammatory Psoriasis Diet
An anti-inflammatory psoriasis diet makes sense, because chronic inflammation is not only the root cause of diseases like psoriasis, but also of heart disease, many cancers, and conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. When you have psoriasis, you will be familiar with the symptoms of psoriasis that include redness of the skin, heat, swelling, cracked and dry skin and pain when the skin’s surface has been breached. Not all inflammation is bad, because inflammation is a normal response of the body and is a cornerstone of the body’s healing mechanism. It brings an increasing immune activity and nourishment to a site of infection or injury, and your body is unable to heal itself without a level of healthy inflammation.
When inflammation is inappropriate, or persists for prolonged periods of time or serves no therapeutic purpose it can actually damage your body and cause an illness by itself. Chronic inflammation can be the result of lack of exercise, toxins such as tobacco smoke or alcohol, a genetic predisposition, stress and especially poor dietary choices. The purpose of this article is to show you how specific foods can have an anti-inflammatory action, and that by incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet when you have psoriasis is one of the best strategies for managing any chronic inappropriate inflammation affecting your body, thereby reducing your chances of inflammatory skin flare-ups.
Sweets To Consume: Very sparingly
Choices: Unsweetened dark chocolate
Reason: Dark chocolate contains polyphenols with good levels of antioxidant activity. Choose 70 percent pure cocoa dark chocolate and have an ounce (about 30 grams) twice per week.
To Consume: 2-3 cups per day
Healthy choices: White, green, oolong tea. Matcha green tea is one of the best green teas to consume.
Reason: Tea is rich in catechins, antioxidant compounds that reduce inflammation. Purchase high-quality tea and learn how to correctly brew it for maximum taste and health benefits.
Herbs and Spices
To Consume: Unlimited amount
Healthy choices: Garlic, turmeric, ginger, (dried and fresh), basil, cinnamon, rosemary, and thyme. Avoid chili, it belongs to the nightshade family and is pro-inflammatory when it comes to psoriasis.
Reason: Use these herbs and spices generously to season foods. Garlic is anti-fungal, and turmeric and ginger are powerful and natural anti-inflammatory agents.
To Consume: From 2-6 servings a week (one portion is equal to 1 ounce of cheese, 1 eight-ounce serving of dairy, 1 egg, 3 ounces cooked organic free-range chicken, free-range turkey or grass-fed lamb)
Healthy choices: High quality natural cheese (especially goat’s cheese) and yogurt (naturally soured, containing no artificial sugars or fruits, etc.), free-range eggs, poultry, free-range turkey, and grass-fed lean lamb meat. Avoid all beef, bison and deer meat if you have psoriasis.
Reason: Reduce consumption of beef, it is more pro-inflammatory than white meats or lamb. If you eat chicken, choose organic, cage-free chicken because the meat will be free of antibiotic residues. Use organic dairy products moderately, especially yogurt and natural cheeses such as Emmental, Edam, Jarlsberg and Parmesan. If you eat eggs, choose organic eggs from free-range chickens.
Seaweeds and Mushrooms
To Consume: Unlimited amounts
Healthy choices: The best seaweeds are kombu, nori, hijiki, wakame, dulse, and kelp, and the mushrooms are shiitake, maitake, enokidake, and oyster mushrooms.
Reason: Seaweeds contain an incredible amount of natural minerals, including iodine, which has a profound effect of keeping your thyroid and immune system powered up. Mushrooms contain many different compounds that enhance your immune function. Don’t eat mushrooms raw though, and reduce your consumption of common commercial button mushrooms, including Portobello mushrooms.
Whole Soy Foods
To Consume: 1-2 servings per day (one serving is equal to ½ cup tofu or tempeh, 1 cup soymilk)
Healthy choices: soy milk, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and soy nuts.
Reason: Soy foods contain isoflavones that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity and are protective against cancer. Several studies have suggested that isoflavones (estrogen-like compounds found in soy products) may help lower CRP (C Reactive Protein) and inflammation levels. Best to choose whole soy foods over isolated soy protein powders and imitation meats made with soy isolate (TVP – Textured Vegetable Protein).
To Consume: 2-6 servings per week (one serving is equal to 4 ounces of fish or seafood)
Healthy choices: Wild Alaskan salmon (especially sockeye), mackerel, herring, and sardines. Why: Oily fish are rich in omega-3 fats, which has strong anti-inflammatory activity. If you don’t like eating fish, then take an omega-3 fish oil supplement that provides both EPA and DHA. Take one capsule three times daily with meals.
To Consume: 3-6 servings per day (one serving is equal to 1 teaspoon of oil, 2 walnuts, 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil, 1 ounce of avocado)
Healthy choices: For cooking, I always recommend that you use extra virgin olive oil and expeller-pressed organic oils like sesame seed oil. Other sources of healthy fats include walnuts, macadamia nuts, avocados, and flaxseeds (freshly ground), sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and even hemp seeds. Omega-3 fats are found especially in cold-water oily fish, walnuts, whole soy foods, and omega-3 enriched eggs. Organic, expeller pressed, high-oleic safflower or sunflower oils may also be used, as well as walnut, avocado, macadamia and hazelnut oils in salads and dark roasted sesame oil as a flavouring for soups and Asian stir-fries
Reason: Healthy fats are rich in either monounsaturated or omega-3 fats. Extra-virgin olive oil is rich in polyphenols with a high antioxidant activity and other nut and seed oils like contain small fractions of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
To Consume: 2-6 servings a day (one serving is about ½ cup cooked grains)
Healthy choices: Quinoa, amaranth, barley, brown rice, basmati rice, wild rice, buckwheat, groats, and steel-cut oats
Why: Whole grains digest more slowly than their refined products, reducing any frequency of spiking in blood sugar that may promote inappropriate inflammation. Whole grains are intact or in large pieces. Try to avoid whole wheat bread or other products made from refined flours. If you do have flour, use whole grain, stone-ground flour, mix with water and salt and make your own flat breads.
Pasta – al-dente
To Consume: 2-3 servings per week (one serving is about ½ cup cooked pasta)
Healthy choices: Rice noodles, bean thread noodles, buckwheat pasta or part whole wheat and buckwheat noodles (like Japanese Udon and Soba pasta).
Reason: Don’t overcook pasta, because it has a higher GI index (breaks down more rapidly) than pasta cooked al-dente. Pasta cooked when it has “tooth” to it (al-dente) has a lower glycemic index than over-cooked pasta. It is important to remember that low GI carbs should make up the bulk of your carb intake when you have psoriasis to assist in reducing any potential spiking in your blood glucose levels.
Legumes and Beans
To Consume: 1-2 servings per day (1 serving is ½ cup cooked beans or legumes)
Healthy choices: Your best bean choices are adzuki, black beans, anasazi, adzuki, chickpeas (Garbanzo), lentils and black-eyed peas.
Reason: Beans are a low-inflammatory source of high quality protein as well as magnesium, potassium, folic acid, as well as soluble fiber. They are a superb low-GI food. It is best to eat them very well cooked, and you can consume them either whole or pureed into spreads like hummus (chickpeas).
Vegetables To Consume: 3-7 servings per day minimum (one serving is about 2 cups of salad greens or ½ cup of steamed, raw or juiced vegetables)
Healthy Choices: Lightly cooked dark leafy greens (spinach, collard greens, kale, or Swiss chard), cruciferous vegetables (Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, kale, bok choy and cauliflower), carrots, beets, onions, peas, squash, and salad greens. Remember to trial avoiding the nightshade family of vegetables (potato, tomato, eggplant, and chilli) because they can be pro-inflammatory for some with psoriasis.
Reason: Vegetables are rich in many different phytonutrients, including flavonoids and carotenoids that have both antioxidant as well as profound anti-inflammatory properties. Choose vegetables that have a wide range of colours, and try to eat them both in their raw or partially cooked form, always buy organic when possible or grow most of your own like me.
To Consume: 2-4 servings per day (one serving is equal to 1 medium size piece of fruit, ½ cup chopped fruit, avoid dried fruits due to their high sugar content)
Healthy choices: Avocado, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, cherries, grapefruit, pomegranates, green apples, and kiwi fruit. These fruits are lower in glycaemic load than most fruits and won’t affect your blood sugar too much. They also won’t encourage any candida yeast infection from proliferating.
Reason: Fresh fruits are very good sources of both flavonoids and carotenoids which have an excellent antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory activity. Always choose fruit that is brightly coloured and fresh in season or frozen. Buy organic fruit when you can, commercial fruits are often sprayed with insecticides.
To Consume: Regularly throughout the day
Healthy choices: Drink pure, fresh or filtered water, or beverages that are mostly made from water throughout the day. (Like green tea or sparkling water with lemon or lime juice)
Reason: Water is vital for overall functioning of the body, it reduces inflammatory responses in your digestive system, aids digestion and helps keep the bloodstream thin as well.