Psoriatic Arthritis Diet

Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
healthy foods

If you have psoriatic arthritis, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do to alleviate symptoms. In addition to getting treatment from your healthcare provider, eating certain foods and eliminating others helps keep psoriatic arthritis symptoms under control.

Basics

When you have psoriatic arthritis, it's important to eat a balanced diet to look and feel your best. Weight loss is beneficial if you're overweight or obese. The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends following a heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory, gluten-free (if you're sensitive to gluten) meal plan packed with vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3-rich fish oil is beneficial for people with psoriatic arthritis, according to a 2014 review in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. A common anti-inflammatory diet that's beneficial for psoriatic arthritis is the Mediterranean diet.

What to Eat

Including the following nutritious foods in your meal plan is beneficial when you have psoriatic arthritis, because they help keep inflammation to a minimum.

  • Fresh fruit (especially blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and strawberries)
  • Fresh vegetables (spinach, kale, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts)
  • Fish (omega-3-rich salmon, tuna, anchovies, and sardines)
  • Fish oil
  • Skinless unbreaded chicken breast
  • Legumes (lentils, black beans, etc.)
  • Seeds (flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds)
  • Nuts (walnuts, almonds, and pistachios)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Dairy-free soy milk or protein-fortified almond milk
  • Honey

What to Avoid

Avoid the foods below when you have psoriatic arthritis, because they tend to promote inflammation and make symptoms worse.

  • Red meat
  • Dairy foods
  • Wheat, barley, and rye products (if you're sensitive to gluten)
  • Processed foods (white bread, cookies, chips, sweets, and other baked goods)
  • Refined sugars
  • Sugary drinks
  • Alcohol (red wine in moderation is generally okay but ask your doctor)
  • Foods high in sodium

Sample Meal Plan

The amount of each food you should eat varies based on your individualized calorie needs. If you're overweight, focus on reducing your intake by 500 to 1,000 calories daily. Men not trying to lose weight should eat about 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day, while women should eat between 1,600 and 2,000.

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal topped with flaxseeds
  • Blueberries and strawberries
  • Hard-boiled eggs

Snack

  • Protein-fortified almond milk or soy milk
  • Cherries
  • Almonds or pistachios

Lunch

  • Grilled chicken
  • Vegetable salad
  • Quinoa with black beans

Snack

  • Soy yogurt
  • Walnuts

Dinner

  • Grilled salmon
  • Brown rice
  • Broccoli and cauliflower

Snack

  • Oat cereal topped with almond or soy milk
  • Banana

Organic Foods

You may be wondering if going organic is better when you have psoriatic arthritis. While eating only organic foods won't hurt you, more research is needed to determine if an organic diet is really beneficial when you have psoriatic arthritis. Just be sure to wash fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating them.

Artificial Sweeteners

In general, it's best to avoid artificial sweeteners because they have been linked with weight gain, sweet cravings, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. However, more research is needed to determine if artificial sweeteners are linked with inflammation. One 2011 review reports animal studies show aspartame may actually help reduce inflammation. However, because of other health risks associated with artificial sweeteners, it's generally a good idea to avoid them.

Bottom Line

Eating a nutritious diet containing anti-inflammatory foods, maintaining an appropriate weight, and living a healthy lifestyle help alleviate symptoms when you have psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriatic Arthritis Diet