Smoking, alcohol or obesity | Which could trigger psoriasis?

Some known triggers of psoriasis

How to avoid some known psoriasis triggers

There is currently no cure for psoriasis.1 However, as well as the numerous treatments available,1,2 simple lifestyle choices may help minimise the impact of your condition.1

Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight is not only bad for your overall health,1 it may also make your psoriasis symptoms worse.3 Losing weight may reduce the severity of your symptoms3 and make your treatments more effective.1

A healthy diet can help you lose weight but may also help your psoriasis in other ways.1,4 Some foods can make your psoriasis worse. They are known as ‘inflammatory foods’ and you should try and avoid them:4,5

  • Red meat (beef)
  • Refined sugar
  • Processed foods (bacon and sausages)
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs

Healthy foods that can help your psoriasis are ‘anti-inflammatory’ foods. They include:4,5

  • Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach and Brussels sprouts)
  • Fruits (berries, cherries and grapes)
  • Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, trout and cod)
  • Heart-healthy oils (olive, coconut, flaxseed and safflower)

The Mediterranean diet is high in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds. It is associated with a lower risk of long-term inflammatory diseases including psoriasis. Key foods in the Mediterranean diet that are linked to lower degree of psoriasis severity are legumes (e.g. peas, beans and lentils), fish and extra virgin olive oil.6

As well as helping you lose weight and reduce the severity of your psoriasis symptoms4 a healthy diet can reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.5 Research has found it can also improve your mental wellbeing. In one study, people who ate more fruit and vegetables reported feeling happier and less anxious.7 Talk to a healthcare professional if you would like further help with your diet or losing weight.

forest and psoriasis jogger

Alcohol and your health

Drinking alcohol can increase your risk of developing psoriasis8 and can cause it to flare up.1,8 It may also stop some treatments from working.8 Talk to your doctor if you need help cutting down the amount of alcohol you drink.1 Always follow your doctor’s advice if they tell you to stop drinking when taking certain treatments.

Stop smoking

Psoriasis is just one of many conditions associated with smoking.9 It can increase your risk of developing the condition and make your symptoms worse.8,10 The risk increases the more cigarettes you smoke a day.9 There are very strong associations between smoking and a type of pustular psoriasis called palmoplantar pustulosis.8

Psoriasis may be a long-term condition that challenges you throughout your life.1 However, trying to avoid your triggers and taking the right approach will help you get on with your life, despite your psoriasis.1

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

UK/IE MAT-27176 Date of prep: July 2019

  1. (accessed July 2019).
  2. NICE guidance. Psoriasis assessment and management. 2012.
  3. M Debbaneh et al. J Am Aca Dermatol 2014; 71(1): 133-40.
  4. (accessed July 2019).
  5. (accessed July 2019).
  6. A Korovesi et al. Int J Dermatol 2019. Doi: 10.1111/ljd.14523.
  7. (accessed July 2019).
  8. (accessed July 2019).
  9. L Naldi. Psoriasis: Targets and Therapy 2016; 6: 65-71.
  10. (accessed July 2019).

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