Overview of the Psoriasis Diet

Foods to Eat and Avoid to Decrease Flare-Ups

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For some people, diet can play a significant role in the onset and severity of psoriasis. There is some evidence that certain foods can trigger flare-ups or aggravate symptoms of this chronic autoimmune skin condition.

On the flip side, there are foods that have an anti-inflammatory effect and may help calm the itching, scaling, flaking, and redness caused by psoriasis.

An illustration with information about what to eat during a psoriasis diet

Illustration by Laura Porter for Verywell Health

There is no "psoriasis diet" per se as different foods can affect people differently. Even so, there are a handful of "good" and "bad" foods that commonly affect people with psoriasis. With a few dietary modifications, you may be able to better manage your symptoms and maintain plaque-free skin.

This article offers a list of foods to eat and avoid if you have psoriasis and explains why they are good or bad for you.

Foods to Avoid With Psoriasis

When you have psoriasis, you may want to avoid foods that are thought to cause inflammation in the body.

Psoriasis is a chronic (long-term) autoimmune disease in which the immune system targets and attacks the skin with inflammation (the body's natural response to anything it considers harmful).

The inflammation "speeds up" the production of skin cells from the normal 28 to 30 days to a mere four to five days, causing cells to pile up on the surface of the skin. As a result, you get itchy, scaly, flaking patches known as plaques.

Some foods are known to cause systemic (whole-body) inflammation that can add to the autoimmune inflammation. This can either trigger or worsen psoriasis symptoms in some people.

Here are five common culprits to consider if you have problems managing psoriasis symptoms:

Red Meats

Red meats can be problematic for people with psoriasis because they are high in saturated fat. As saturated fats are broken down in the gut, they release toxins called lipopolysaccharides that the immune system responds to with inflammation.

By contrast, polyunsaturated fats are easier to break down and induce far less inflammation.

Red meats to avoid or limit in your diet include:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Bacon, sausage, and other processed meat


Research has shown that people with psoriasis have higher rates of an autoimmune disorder known as celiac disease (CD). Symptoms of CD are triggered by a protein called gluten found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye).

While the connection between the two conditions is unclear, some research has suggested that a gluten-free diet may help certain people with psoriasis control their symptoms. This includes a small study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in which 73% of the participants experience an improvement after adopting a gluten-free diet.

Foods high in gluten include:

  • White bread, rolls, buns, bagels
  • Flour tortillas
  • Wheat pasta
  • Wheat cereals
  • Crackers
  • Gravies and canned soups
  • Beer


Alcohol should be avoided with psoriasis because it can disrupt the normal functioning of the skin barrier. The skin barrier is the outermost layer that, among other things, protects against moisture loss. Moisture loss aggravates psoriasis by promoting flaking, scaling, itching, and peeling.

Psoriasis and Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol overconsumption can cause severe inflammation that can aggravate psoriasis on the face, backs of the knees, and insides of the armpits, elbows, and groin. In cases like these, there may be less scaling but more hyperkeratosis (the hardening of the outer layer of skin).

Processed Foods

Highly processed foods may increase inflammation in the body, which, in turn, increases the risk of psoriasis flare-ups.

This is because many processed foods are high in refined carbohydrates which can cause a spike in blood sugar and, in turn, sudden, extreme inflammation. Others contain ingredients, such as saturated fats, that activate inflammation in different ways.

Processed foods you may want to avoid or limit include:

  • White bread, buns, rolls, or bagels
  • Crackers and chips
  • Cakes, cookies, and pastries
  • Processed cheeses
  • Breakfast cereals (especially sugary ones)
  • Pizza
  • Microwave meals
  • Fast foods


The overconsumption of caffeine, a stimulant found in coffee, sodas, energy drinks, black teas, green teas, and chocolate, may need to be avoided if you have psoriasis.

With that said, there remains debate as to how much caffeine influences psoriasis symptoms. Some researchers argue that coffee contains antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. Other studies have also reported that the topical application of caffeine can help reduce skin inflammation in people with psoriasis and eczema.

With that said, there may be a line where the intake of caffeine may be beneficial and non-beneficial.

How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?

According to a 2018 study published in the Archives of Toxicology, people with psoriasis who drank up to three cups of coffee per day had fewer symptoms than those who drank no coffee. However, for those who drank four or more cups per day, the frequency and/or severity of symptoms increased.

Foods to Eat With Psoriasis

There are also foods that are known to reduce inflammation in the body and control psoriasis flares. These include fatty fish, fruits and vegetables, healthy fat sources, certain supplements, and probiotics.

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish can be helpful for managing psoriasis because of their high content of omega-3 fatty acids. While fatty acids should be avoided from sources like red meat, omega-3s derived from fatty fish can be beneficial in reducing inflammation.

Examples of beneficial fatty fish include:

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Tuna
  • Herring
  • Sardines

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are a great way to lower inflammation in the body. Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, compounds that are known to protect cells from free radicals that incite chronic low-level inflammation.

Chief among the best fruits and vegetables for psoriasis:

  • Tomatoes
  • Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collard greens
  • Fruits rich in vitamin C, such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges

Healthy Sources of Fat

Healthy fats like olive oil, flaxseed oil, and safflower oil are good for your heart and beneficial for psoriasis because of their anti-inflammatory effects. Olive and safflower oil are rich in monounsaturated fat, while corn, flaxseed, and walnut oil are rich in polyunsaturated fat.

Dietary Supplements 

Taking supplements in addition to eating a balanced diet may be helpful for managing psoriasis symptoms. Supplements to consider include:

  • Fish oil
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B12
  • Selenium

It is thought that these help by functioning as antioxidants. Some like selenium are plasma antioxidants that counteract free radicals in the blood, while others are membrane radicals that combat free radicals in cells.


Probiotics are live microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeast, that can increase the levels of "good bacteria" in your gut. By doing so, there may be less systemic inflammation.

Research has found that taking a probiotic supplement or eating probiotic foods may help reduce psoriasis symptoms and flare-ups.

Probiotic foods are those found in fermented foods like:

  • Yogurt
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kefir

Psoriasis-Friendly Diet Plans

Adding or removing certain foods from your diet may help improve psoriasis symptoms. But some people prefer a holistic dietary approach that can direct how you eat and what you eat on an ongoing basis.

Some of these plans may be beneficial for people with psoriasis, including:

  • Mediterranean diet, which includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, fish, poultry, whole grains, legumes, and extra virgin olive oil (which has anti-inflammatory effects)
  • Gluten-free diet, a plan that is recommended if you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (both of which have been linked to an increased risk of psoriasis)
  • Paleo diet, which focuses on real foods and the avoidance of processed foods, both of which can reduce inflammation

Before starting any diet plan, speak with your healthcare provider to ensure that it is both safe and appropriate for you. Your healthcare provider can also refer you to a dietitian or nutritionist to help you build a sustainable diet plan that meets your daily nutritional needs.


Research has shown that dietary changes can help control the frequency and/or severity of psoriasis. Fruits and vegetables, healthy oils, and fatty fish have anti-inflammatory properties that may help prevent psoriasis flares. In contrast, red meat, gluten, processed foods, and caffeine can trigger inflammation and cause psoriasis symptoms to flare.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are eggs bad for psoriasis?

    Eggs should be avoided if you have psoriasis. This is because they contain arachidonic acid, which research has found may trigger flares.

  • Which diet is good for psoriasis?

    A Mediterranean diet has been shown to be helpful in controlling psoriasis outbreaks.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Molly Burford
Molly Burford is a mental health advocate and wellness book author with almost 10 years of experience in digital media.