I have heard that certain foods can trigger psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. It was interesting that this week everyday health put out an article on this article. I did not like the heading that the gave the article “8 Foods to Avoid If You Have Psoriasis” as that implies right away that it is “proven” that these foods can cause psoriasis. Typical sensationalist media heading to try and grab attention. The problem with this approach is that some people only read the heading and not the article, and will use that heading as a one-liner in future arguments.
“Did you know that there are certain foods that cause psoriasis? It is proven! I read it in Everyday Health”. However if you read the article then in the very first paragraph it states “this could be true…. but there is no scientific proof to back it up”. I wish they would be more honest in their headlines.
Anyway, as I mention above, the article talks about the anecdotal evidence out there that perhaps there are some certain foods that can trigger psoriasis or arthritis flare. I believe that for sure, for some people there are going to be some particular foods that will trigger their psoriasis. However I don’t believe that it is the same for everyone. I believe it is the same as allergies – as some people are allergic to nuts and some aren’t, for some people red meat will trigger psoriasis / arthritis and for some it won’t.
So I think that the list of 8 foods that the article tells all psoriasis warriors to “avoid” should be taken with a grain of salt. As the article states, if your psoriasis is out of control or you are not happy with it, then it can’t hurt to try it out. If I did not have insurance to pick up the cost of my Remicade then there is no way that I could afford to pay for it myself. So if I found myself in that situation and my arthritis came back as bad as I had it pre-Remicade, then for sure I would try to control it through diet.
So how should one go about testing the food-psoriasis-arthritis link? You can read a couple of success stories here and here (see the second comment). The process is that for 2 to 3 weeks you avoid the following foods:
Nightshades (potato, tomato, eggplant, peppers)
If after 2-3 weeks you have a great improvement in your psoriasis or arthritis, then you know that one of those foods is triggering your symptoms. However if there is no change at all, then you know that diet isn’t affecting your psoriasis / arthritis so you can just go back to eating / drinking what you like. If you are in the first group though (you have some improvement after being on this exclusion diet) then every three days you add back one of those food groups, to see which one(s) causes your psoriasis / arthritis to flare. Whichever food it is should trigger a flare-up within a day or so. According to this blog, on eating beef “within 4 hours my arthritis pain was back with a vengeance”, so apparently it can happen pretty quickly.
If you have been on an exclusion diet and it has worked for you, we’d be really interested to hear your results.