Foods to Avoid to Prevent Psoriatic Arthritis Flare-Ups
Learn which foods can trigger flares and which foods help reduce inflammation.
Foods to Avoid to Prevent Psoriatic Arthritis Flare-Ups: Introduction
Adjusting your diet might help to manage the uncomfortable symptoms of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. While no studies have shown any real connection between diet and flare-ups, it’s possible that some people have triggers specific to them.
Consult your physician before changing your diet drastically, especially if you take systemic medications to control psoriatic arthritis inflammation and stiffness.
Reduce Sugar Consumption
Cutting back on the amount of sugar in your diet might ease psoriatic arthritis flare-ups. Sugar can increase inflammation within your body, and according to the CDC, it contributes to weight gain. More pounds put more pressure on your already achy joints.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with strawberries instead of your favorite candy bar. This fiber-rich fruit lowers blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, CRP rises when bodily inflammation levels are at their peak.
Cut Back on Red Meat
Red meat can increase your cholesterol levels and might increase your joint pain.
Embrace a plant-based diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits to promote optimal health. When you do eat meat, limit your animal fat consumption to leaner meat such as pork, fish, and poultry. Stick to portions that measure 3 ounces, or about the size of the palm of your hand.
The Dairy Myth
Don’t give up on milk just yet. The common myth that dairy products can aggravate arthritis symptoms is just that — a myth. Studies by the University of Auckland in New Zealand and those published in Arthritis & Rheumatism show that dairy does not increase the inflammation associated with arthritis. In fact, people who are predisposed to gout, another form of arthritis, might actually benefit from eating dairy products. However, psoriatic arthritis sufferers should stick to low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese and adhere to portion control as part of a healthy diet.
Saturated fats can pack on the pounds, increase your joint pain, and possibly raise your cholesterol to unhealthy levels. It is important to only eat fast foods, baked goods, and fat-laden salty snacks occasionally instead of regularly to avoid a high intake of these “bad” fats. When you cook, choose unsaturated fats such as olive, safflower, grapeseed, avocado, and walnut oils. These “good” fats act as natural anti-inflammatory agents and taste great.
Boost Antioxidant Intake
Load up on colorful foods to boost your antioxidant intake and fight the tenderness, swelling, and stiffness of psoriatic arthritis. Apples—particularly red-skinned varieties—and onions are antioxidant-rich foods. In addition, embrace foods that are high in vitamins A and C (think orange-colored fruits and vegetables) to maintain your health.
More Ways to Treat Psoriatic Arthritis
Eating right is a great first step, but there's much more you can—and should—do to treat PsA. For example, a few simple daily exercises can prevent hand stiffness, and the right body positioning at your desk and at home can protect your joints from additional damage. Being active fosters both physical and emotional well being. Learn more about PsA and what you can do to keep your symptoms at bay.