You may have heard of psoriasis—a condition that features red patches of skin with silvery scales. You may have also heard of arthritis, the joint pain disorder. What most people don’t know is that these two conditions can actually present together in an entirely separate condition.
Psoriatic arthritis (PA) is a chronic autoimmune condition resulting in increased inflammation of the body that gets worse over time, but those affected may have symptom-free periods on occasion. The symptoms of PA often resemble that of rheumatoid arthritis, as both diseases cause the joints to become painful, swollen, and warm to the touch. However, PA is more likely to cause swollen fingers and toes, foot pain, and lower back pain, and of course, it also presents with the typical skin abnormalities seen in psoriasis patients. Individuals with PA may also have an increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. This joint pain can lead to significant joint damage over time, so it is advised to see your doctor for treatment. Medications used for PA can carry many side effects, but luckily. the food you eat can be a big help in reducing symptoms and even decreasing risk factors associated with excessive inflammation.
Food high in antioxidants are known to reduce inflammation, and it is a good idea to make these the star of your meals. It is also best to cook these foods with healthy fats such as extra-virgin olive oil, unrefined coconut oil, or avocado oil. Great foods that psoriatic arthritis patients may benefit most from include:
- Vegetables and fruits in a range of colors
- Nuts and seeds
Foods to avoid
Not all foods are created equally, with some actually worsening inflammatory states. Foods high in saturated fats, simple carbs, sugar, and alcohol are all known to lead to excess weight gain, which in turn has been shown to increase inflammation in the body. Psoriatic arthritis patients should try to avoid the following foods:
- White bread
- White rice
- Sugary drinks
- Packed snack foods
- Fried foods
- Processed meats, such as bacon, sausages, and hot dogs
While there is no definitive diet plan for psoriatic arthritis patients, there are many foods that we recognize as having anti-inflammatory properties. They may not completely resolve all of the symptoms experienced, but by incorporating them into your daily diet, your symptoms will become more manageable.