Foods That Help Prevent PsA Flareups

Making good diet choices can go a long way toward lessening psoriatic arthritis symptoms.

Medically reviewed in August 2019

Updated on February 1, 2021

If you’re living with psoriatic arthritis (PsA), you probably wonder often if there’s something more you can do to tame the pain. So here’s a suggestion: Consider whether you’re eating foods that are helping—or triggering—your psoriatic arthritis. 

Psoriatic arthritis is all about inflammation, so the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) recommends following an anti-inflammatory menu. To be clear, studies haven’t found that the diet will cure PsA, but the NPF says it can help many people reduce their symptoms—and it’s healthy overall, to boot. 

Your goal should be to avoid foods known to worsen inflammation, such as fatty red meats, dairy products, refined sugar and processed foods. Instead, stock your pantry and fridge with these smart choices for a psoriatic arthritis diet. 

Cold-water, fatty fish are anti-inflammatory superstars. They’re rich in eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids, which not only help protect the heart—especially important for people with inflammatory diseases like PsA—but also may help curb chronic pain and joint stiffness. So, fill up on these fish: albacore tuna, mackerel, salmon, herring and lake trout. 

You can also get omega-3s from plant-based foods, such as certain nuts and legumes. Research shows that walnuts are especially antioxidant-rich and may help ease inflammation. 

Need more options? The NPF suggests flaxseeds, olive oil and pumpkin seeds as other good sources. 

Colorful fruits and veggies 
Your body is going through a lot of stress, especially if you’ve just had a recent PsA flareup. So even though “eat your fruits and veggies” may sound like boring advice, it may be one of your best lines of defense. They’re loaded with vitamins and disease-fighting antioxidants that provide your body with the energy and nutrients it needs to quench inflammation. 

The NPF does advise to steer clear of nightshade vegetables, which include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. Your best bets for a psoriatic arthritis diet include leafy greens such as spinach, kale and collards, as well as strawberries, blueberries, oranges and cherries.

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