Psoriasis and Nutrition


Do you feel uncomfortable and irritated because of the itchy rash on your skin? You are not alone. Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports psoriasis as one of the five diseases that greatly influence a person’s quality of life.1 Psoriasis affects about 2 percent of the population around the world. The percentage of people with psoriasis varies with the country and the condition affects all ages.2 Psoriasis may cause you discomfort if not properly treated. Many things can cause you to have psoriasis, including the type of food you eat. In this article, you will learn about what psoriasis is, how a balanced diet can help to manage psoriasis, and what foods can flare up psoriasis.

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a long-term disease that affects the skin and causes an itchy rash and scaly patches. The condition is painful and affects your sleep and self-confidence. Psoriasis occurs commonly on the knees, elbows, trunk, and scalp. You might find that the disease tends to go in cycles - it flares for a few weeks or months, then disappears for a while.3


Common symptoms of psoriasis include:4

  • Patchy rash
  • Rash that varies in colour 
  • Small scaly spots
  • Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
  • Itching, burning, or soreness
  • Cyclic rashes

A balanced diet often helps manage psoriasis

It is important you eat a healthy diet. Research has shown that what you eat can help reduce the symptoms and level of impact of most long-term diseases such as psoriasis. You should note that it is not the amount of food you eat but what you eat that makes a difference when changing your diet. Unfortunately, you can’t cure psoriasis through diet.

If you’re looking for ways to manage psoriasis with diet, you’ll discover that some diets are better than others. Below are some diet options to consider according to studies.5

  • Mediterranean diet
  • Low-calorie diet
  • Gluten-free diet
  • Pagano diet for psoriasis
  • Vegetarian diet
  • Paleo diet

In addition to diet, you can manage psoriasis through other ways such as exercise, medication, and dietary supplements.

The connection between the skin and the stomach

The skin and stomach are active and big organs in your body that are exposed to the outside environment and different types of microorganisms daily. Your skin and stomach work together to enable organisms to maintain balance and survive. The microorganisms in the stomach have both a positive and negative impact on how the gut and skin tissues work.

When there is a change among the microorganisms in the stomach, it makes your body defenceless and affects your immune system, which can subsequently influence skin health.6 Skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and rosacea are linked with intestinal imbalance.7

Gut bacteria, inflammation, and the skin

Do you know that there are several living microorganisms present in your gut? Your gut contains many microbial cells. Some of these microorganisms are called good bacteria because they protect your gut. When there is an imbalance of the gut microbial makeup, it is called dysbiosis. 

Dysbiosis is caused by many factors such as genetic makeup and lifestyle.

In your intestine, there are enzymes that help to break down microbial waste products. An example is secreted phospholipase A2 (SPLA2) - it contains 11 variants in humans and animals, and is abundant in the gut.

According to a study published by The American Society for Clinical Investigation, secreted Phospholipase A2 IIA ( SPLA2-IIA) plays a role in regulating gut bacteria. When the enzyme is absent, it can lead to an alteration in how your body responds to inflammation.8 A study showed that a high amount of inflammation in the gut could be linked with the worsening of psoriasis.9

Importance of antioxidants

Your skin and mucous layers have a contact and defence  barrier against chemical, physical, and biological substances that are harmful to your body. Antioxidants are substances that combine to neutralise the activity of reactive oxygen, hence preventing damage to your cells and tissues.10 Antioxidants are important for protection against cancer, heart disease, and chronic diseases such as psoriasis. Examples of good sources of antioxidants are fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains.

What foods can cause psoriasis to flare up ?

Some people with psoriasis discover that the type of food they eat affects how their skin feels and looks. Although there has not been any studies to confirm a link between your diet and psoriasis flare-ups. removing certain foods and drinks from your diet can offer relief from its symptoms. Below are some foods that might cause psoriasis flare-ups. These foods are generalisations and not all trigger psoriasis for everyone. 


Dairy products contain a high number of arachidonic acids, which are natural inflammatory compounds. A study shows that arachidonic acid found in dairy affects the intestinal lining of your stomach that can worsen psoriasis symptoms.11 Examples of dairy products are cow milk and red meat.

Simple carbohydrates

If you have coeliac disease, you may be at an increased risk for psoriasis. According to a study published in the Journal of Dermatology, a gluten-free diet is recommended for people with psoriasis who have gluten sensitivity. A gluten-free diet could help improve the psoriasis symptoms you experience. More studies need to be done to establish whether gluten consumption can contribute to the development of psoriasis. Removing yeast from your diet for some time will be a good decision to see if it may help to prevent flare-ups.

Soy products

Soy and soy oil contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which may promote an inflammatory response according to some studies. However, the relationship between omega-6 fatty acids and inflammation is complex and still not well understood. Some foods may cause flare-ups in a person and don’t have any effect on others. A research study showed that soy contains phosphatidylglycerol (PG) which is effective in inhibiting inflammation as seen in psoriasis; but, the mechanism by which soy PG functions to suppress inflammation is unclear.12


Psoriasis is a long-term inflammatory skin disease characterised by a rash with itchy and scaly patches. Most psoriasis patients have conditions often associated with obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart diseases, or inflammatory bowel diseases, due to their unbalanced dietary habits such as a higher intake of fat and a lower intake of fish or dietary fibre. Such dietary habits might lead to the incidence and severity of psoriasis. Nutrition influences the development and progression of psoriasis and its comorbidities. Seek medical advice if you suspect or experience any of the symptoms of psoriasis.


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  9. Vlachos C, Gaitanis G, Katsanos KH, Christodoulou DK, Tsianos E, Bassukas ID. Psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease: links and risks. Psoriasis (Auckl). 2016;6:73-92. Published 2016 Jul 20. doi:10.2147/PTT.S85194 [cited 2022 Nov 11]
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  11. Amin, Syed & Adil, Mohammad & Alam, Mahtab. (2017). ROLE OF DIETARY INTERVENTION IN PSORIASIS: A REVIEW. Indian Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 1. 1-5. [cited 2022 Nov 11]
  12. Choudhary V, Griffith S, Chen X, Bollag WB. Pathogen-associated molecular pattern-induced tlr2 and tlr4 activation increases keratinocyte production of inflammatory mediators and is inhibited by phosphatidylglycerol. Mol Pharmacol [Internet]. 2020 May [cited 2022 Nov 11];97(5):324–35. Available from:

Lauretta Iyamu

Doctor of Pharmacy- PharmD, University of Benin, Nigeria

Lauretta Iyamu is a medical and health content writer with a strong passion for health, medicine, and well-being having exposure to clinical and management roles between the hospital and community healthcare sectors.
She has 5 years of experience as a registered clinical pharmacist and started her medical writing career in 2018.
Lauretta is currently undertaking the “Digital Content Marketing and Data Analytics” course online from Google. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
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