A Gluten-Free Diet and Psoriasis

As with the anti-inflammatory diet, more studies are needed to verify whether this way of eating should be something doctors recommend for people with psoriasis. A gluten-free diet is a must for people with certain gut diseases (such as coeliac/celiac disease) but it may also be of use to psoriasis suffers.

It’s not an easy diet to follow as gluten is a hidden factor in a lot of foods. It will become easier when you get to know which foods have gluten in them, so make this a gradual learning process and look at the content of the foods you buy.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein. It’s found in wheat, rye and barley, as well as a lot or grain-based products such as cereals, pasta and bread. It’s also a hidden ingredient in:

  • egg substitute
  • salad dressings
  • beer
  • flavoured food such as rice/pasta ready-mixes and flavoured potato chips
  • Surimi (imitation crab)
  • Liquorice
  • Some chocolate

It’s well worth seeking help from a registered dietician if you want to go gluten-free, so that you are aware of other hidden gluten and what to eat instead.

As a rough guide, avoid:

  • Wheat, including semolina, spelt, kamut, einkorn and faro
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Oatbran
  • Wheat germ
  • Bran
  • Durum flour
  • Farina

And do eat:

  • Quinoa (say ‘keen-wah’)
  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Popcorn
  • Cornmeal – polenta and tortillas
  • Millet
  • Breads, cereals, crackers and biscuits made from cornflour, potato flour, rice flour, soy flour, arrowroot, tapioca, sago flour flax and hominy.
  • Oats are ok if they haven’t been processed with other products that contain gluten, so check the packaging.

 

Notes and tips for psoriasis suffers changing their diet.

  • When we talk about ‘diet’ we need to think of a life-time change in eating patterns rather than something temporary.
  • Manufacturers are getting better at labelling foods so become label aware.
  • At restaurants, ask how the food is prepared.
  • Start your diet change gradually. A wholesale change and suddenly cutting out foods that you love can be hard and mean you can’t maintain the changes long enough to see if it’s will work for you.
  • Ask yourself if your symptoms are bad enough or conventional treatment so unacceptable that you want to make big changes to your diet for your psoriasis.
  • Do dietary changes fit with your family/social life?
  • Use health food stores more and ask the experts in these shops for their help.
  • Cook food from scratch and use more fresh, seasonal produce.
  • Remember that maintaining a healthy weight is also one of the most important aspects of helping to treat psoriasis with diet. Experts have found that obese people with psoriasis are more likely to develop psoriatic arthritis.
  • Look at your diet as a whole and try not to focus on individual foods: balance is key. These diets – like any other – won’t work overnight. So be prepared to wait a few weeks before you see a reduction in your symptoms.

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