Your Introduction to a Psoriatic Arthritis Diet
My guess is if you’re reading this you either have or suspect you have psoriatic arthritis.
Certainly, it’s not an enjoyable condition to have. That’s why you’re here!
And I’m glad you are.
There’s more to managing psoriatic arthritis than taking a medication. As much as we’d like to believe a medication can cure all our woes… That’s simply not the case.
We have to address the foundational cause as to why we are not feeling well.
To this point, diet is an essential part of how our bodies react and manage health challenges.
Well, let’s find out!
Why Diet and Nutrition are Important for Managing Psoriatic Arthritis
Even though it may not seem like it, our diet has a direct affect on our ability to manage psoriatic arthritis.
You may be thinking… I have rashes and my joints are on fire, how does this have anything to do with my breakfast?!
Well, let’s break it down.
Imagine some of your favorite foods. Maybe it’s chocolate, maybe it’s bread, perhaps cheese.
Now, imagine you are eating these foods every day, three times a day. (You may already be doing this).
Finally, imagine you have a sensitivity to these foods. Whether you’re consciously aware of it or not.
Now you’re eating something that weakens your body three times a day, seven days a week, and 12 months a year.
That’s a ton of inflammation!
For everyone, this inflammation expresses itself differently. For some, it’s digestive issues. For others, it’s a headache or even hormonal problems. Sometimes people get acne or can’t sleep. It can also be a combination of all of the above, and more.
In your case, that inflammation is expressing itself as skin patches and joint pain.
Even if you recognize a connection with food, why exactly does this happen?
Well, as Hippocrates would say…
“All Disease Begins in the Gut”
You may have heard this quote before, and for good reason. This truth has stood the test of time!
When there is an imbalance in the gut, this opens the door to dysfunction in the rest of the body.
This statement makes more sense when you realize about 70% of your immune system is housed in the gut. That’s a big deal!
When there is an imbalance in gut microbes… The immune system is activated… Which then leads to inflammation in the body. There’s a direct cause and effect relationship here.
Two of the most common outward symptoms of this imbalance are skin conditions and joint pain.
I’m sure it does.
The long and short of it is… Dysbiosis (imbalanced gut microbes) causes inflammation in the body. Everyone expresses it a little differently. In your case? It’s skin patches and joint pain.
So… What can be done?
There are two major categories to work on. One is to balance nutrition for general inflammation reduction. The other is to balance the gut microbiome.
Each category is a huge task in their own right! So we’ll break each down a bit more.
Let’s start with step one.
What does a Psoriatic Arthritis Diet Look Like?
As we have discussed, nutrition is an essential step to maintaining psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis is a result of inflammation and immune activation. We don’t want to be consuming foods that are further irritating this immune response.
Naturally, you are wondering… What is this mystical diet I have to follow?
Well, the reality is… There isn’t a specific diet plan for psoriatic arthritis.
Every individual responds differently to certain foods. One person may get horrible joint pain with tomatoes, the other not at all.
So what a psoriatic diet looks like for you may be very different from someone else. Much of the process is determining what foods are specifically a trigger for you. And only you can determine what they are!
Thankfully, there is a way to make the process slightly less cumbersome. There are a ton of foods that are a common trigger for many people. In fact, there is an entire diet surrounding this list.
Determine your Trigger Foods Using this Protocol
Yes, I know, you are dying to find out what it is!
This elimination diet is one of the best ways to determine what your trigger foods for psoriatic arthritis are.
It’s called the Autoimmune Protocol.
AIP is an incredible way to manage all manner of autoimmune conditions. And if you didn’t know already, psoriatic arthritis is considered an autoimmune disease.
In short, this means the immune system is hyper-stimulated and lashing out on healthy cells. The body is attacking itself. In your case, it’s attacking the joints and skin.
The autoimmune protocol works on two levels. For one, it eliminates classes of foods that are known to be irritating to many people. Secondly, it focuses on foods that nourish and heal the gut.
So what does it eliminate?
Seed Oils (Canola, Soy, Corn, etc.)
Herbs Derived From Seeds (Cumin, Coriander, etc.)
You’re right, it is a lot! But if you stick with it, you will have an excellent idea of what triggers your symptoms when you reach the re-introduction phase.
Thankfully, there are a ton of delicious AIP-compliant recipes available online. I personally was on an AIP diet for 3 months to help heal my gut issues. While it was certainly a challenge… Those recipes kept my taste buds interested and prevented me from missing chocolate too much!
You’ve got the Diet Down… Now What About the Gut?
Once you’ve identified and removed your trigger foods, it’s time to address the gut.
Hopefully during AIP you were adding in a lot of foods that are nourishing to the intestinal lining. Things like bone broth, collagen, etc.
Now we have to rebalance the microbiome. We want to cultivate a population of beneficial bacteria that reduces inflammation and calms the immune response… Which will improve your symptoms!
How do we do that?
A few ways!
Continuing to eat a healthy diet is key. Even if you’ve reintroduced foods with no problem, you will still want to avoid processed foods, refined sugar, etc. Focus on organic and grass-fed whenever possible.
We also want to ‘seed’ the gut with probiotics! You can do this with food, supplementation, or both. Probiotics from live food tend to be more beneficial for most people.
You’ll find live probiotics in things like yogurt (dairy or non-dairy), kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, and other lacto-fermented vegetables.
And once you’ve ‘seeded’ the gut with probiotics, you’ll want to keep them there!
We achieve this by using prebiotic foods. Prebiotics act as food for the probiotics. Prebiotics are found in things such as leafy greens, garlic, onion, and mushrooms.
Finally, stress is a factor. Yes, stress can influence your microbiome!
Stress is inherently inflammatory to the body. This is why people who are chronically stressed also tend to have chronic health conditions.
Therefore, it is essential to manage stress. The more stress you have, the more inflammation in your gut, the more pain you feel.
Employ strategies such as meditation, yoga, tapping, or keep a gratitude journal. Whatever allows you to manage stress is the best strategy to employ.
This regimen should allow you to maintain a microbial balance in the gut that is beneficial for you… And for your symptoms of psoriatic arthritis!
What if I Don’t Know Where to Start?
No need to fear!
We hear you… All of these recommendations are overwhelming!
There’s a restrictive diet to follow… Possible supplement regimen… And stress management tactics to juggle into an already busy day.
You may want to get started, but are not sure if you will make the right decisions.
It can be very beneficial to work with someone as a sounding board and provide guidance on your wellness journey. Take some of the guesswork out of the process.
If what you’ve read here resonated with you and you’d like some assistance…
Schedule a Free Consult
We are always happy to meet with new clients!
Holistic nutrition is our passion, after all.
You can schedule a free 15 minute discovery call with us and see if we are a good match for one another.
From there, we can get you set up in our system and schedule your initial appointment. We go deep into your health history to address root causes of the health concerns you want to remediate. We create meal plans and supplement plans tailored to your needs. To support you through the process, we make ourselves accessible through phone and email. We will do everything in our power to help you get better.
But I’m getting ahead of myself!
To schedule your free 15 minute discovery call, you can book online or via phone. You can access our online scheduling platform here, and you can give us a call at the office at (603) 526-6687.
Not a local?
Not a problem!
We see clients virtually all over the country, and even the world!
Whether near or far, we are happy to help you with your nutrition goals.
In health and healing,
Gabrielle and Kristen