Tag: healthy diet

04 Sep 2018

Eat to Calm Psoriasis

Most people with psoriasis will have some degree of symptoms for life. But this doesn’t mean that improvement can’t happen. Medications help keep this skin disease under control and combining medication with certain dietary choices can also have a positive effect on both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (which is a joint condition related to the skin disease).

The Medical Board of the National Psoriasis Foundation recently reviewed the current body of scientific research so they could share the latest understandings about how diet affects psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Their review included 55 studies – which covered more than 77,000 people both with and without psoriasis.

The biggest take-away from this National Psoriasis Foundation project relates to overweight or obese patients with psoriasis. It may not be the most popular news to hear, but the evidence shows that a low-calorie diet with the goal of losing weight leads to significant improvements in the severity of psoriasis symptoms, as well as (obviously) weight loss and an improved “dermatology quality of life.” Losing weight improves both skin and joint symptoms of psoriasis, which is why this dietary change earned the Medical Board’s strongest recommendation.

People with psoriasis are known to have a higher risk of also developing celiac disease, which is why gluten-free diets tend to be popular with psoriasis sufferers. According to this Medical Board, gluten-free diets have shown some benefit, but only in patients who test positive (based on a blood test) for gluten sensitivity. In these situations, a three-month trial of going gluten-free can make sense.

In terms of dietary supplements, the strongest evidence emerged for vitamin D supplements, but this recommendation was geared specifically to overweight/obese patients with psoriatic arthritis.

One final thing that’s important to keep in mind: all of these dietary changes are recommended to be done in combination with a medication plan of care – not in place of one.


Ford AR, Siegel M, Bagel J, et al. Dietary recommendations for adults with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis from the medical board of the National Psoriasis Foundation: A systemic review. JAMA Dermatol 2018;154(8):934-50.

24 Apr 2018

Become a Fish Fan

Earlier this year I wrote a blog about the benefits of a Mediterranean diet – a big component of this being regular consumption of fish – for those with rheumatoid arthritis. Anyone concerned about their risk of multiple sclerosis will also be interested to hear about how a Mediterranean diet brings benefits.

Including fish in the diet regularly could make multiple sclerosis less likely due to an anti-inflammatory effect. Research indicates that even as little as 1-3 fish meals each month, combined with daily omega-3 supplements, can reduce the chances that a person develops multiple sclerosis. Omega-3s are the healthy fats found in fish.

When researchers compare people with high and low fish intake, clear differences emerge in terms of which of them later develops multiple sclerosis. High intake, for this research, was characterized as 1 serving of fish each week plus daily omega-3 supplements. Low intake meant no supplementation and less than 1 serving of fish per month.

The high fish intake group was found to have a 45% lower risk of multiple sclerosis (as well as the similar condition called clinically isolated syndrome).

This is a remarkable benefit from eating a diet that is a sound choice for overall health. In fact, I switched to a Mediterranean diet myself more than six months ago due to the heart-healthiness of it. It was an adjustment from my prior eating style, but it wasn’t long before it became my ‘new normal’ – I made the change for my heart, but it’s great to know that my joints and risk of MS will also benefit from this diet.

Fish with the highest level of omega-3s include salmon, sardines, lake trout, and albacore tuna. Omega-3s can be found in flaxseed and walnuts for those who don’t care for fish.


Press release. Eating fish may be tied to a reduced risk of MS. Am Acad Neur March 1, 2018.