While there is not yet a clear connection between psoriasis flareups and diet, some experts recommend avoiding triggers such as junk foods, red meat, dairy products, gluten and citrus fruits, reports Beth Orenstein for Everyday Health. Other triggers that potentially aggravate psoriasis symptoms include alcoholic drinks, condiments and nightshade plants, such as tomatoes, eggplant, white potatoes and peppers.
Alcohol possibly worsens psoriasis flareups because it dilates the skin's blood vessels, leading to the leakage of T cells, which is known to cause psoriasis, to the skin's outer layers, explains Orenstein. Psoriasis patients should also avoid junk foods, as these products contain high amounts of refined starches and sugars, trans fats, and saturated fats, which contribute to inflammation.
Red meats and dairy products have high amounts of arachidonic acid, which is a polyunsaturated fat that turns into inflammatory compounds, thus aggravating psoriasis symptoms, states Orenstein. Processed meats are also unhealthy for psoriasis patients. Additionally, nightshade plants may aggravate psoriasis symptoms because they contain the chemical compound solanine, which has been found to cause pain in some patients.
Because allergic reactions sometimes lead to psoriasis, experts suggest avoiding lemons, oranges, grapefruits and other citrus fruits that are known as common allergens, notes Orenstein. Doctors advise patients to eliminate these foods and beverages from the diet one at a time and observe which ones exacerbate psoriasis flareups.