Some fruits have benefits beyond serving as a tasty snack. Berries, apples, and avocados are some of the options that can help manage inflammation due to psoriatic conditions.
Fresh fruit is a delicious food that you can enjoy at any time, and it’s packed with nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. If you have psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis (PsA), you may be trying to incorporate healthy foods into your diet to see if they can help manage your symptoms.
You may be unsure of what fruit is best for you and your condition. Understanding what fruits to eat to minimize inflammation can be instrumental when managing your psoriatic condition.
Inflammation is a natural process, and it’s not always bad. Inflammation can signal the body’s immune response to an illness, germs, or an external injury. In this way, inflammation can be part of the healing process.
But in other instances, inflammation can be caused by or tied to a medical condition. Inflammation can be marked by redness in an area, heat, pain, or swelling.
Psoriasis is an example of inflammation that shows up on the skin in the form of plaques. Psoriatic arthritis is an example of inflammation that impacts the joints. Both are immune-mediated conditions, meaning that it’s known that an issue with the immune system leads to inflammation, but it’s unclear the exact connection. What is known is that chronic inflammation can lead to long-term damage in the body and disease.
Researchers have noted that certain foods can increase inflammation in the body, and others can decrease it. If you have psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, eating anti-inflammatory foods such as fruits and vegetables can help manage your symptoms and condition. You will also want to avoid foods that have been linked to increased inflammation.
So, as you’re shopping for fruit, consider reaching for these anti-inflammatory choices:
This summery fruit is packed with vitamin C. Just 1 cup of fresh strawberries contains all of your daily vitamin C needs. Vitamin C has been linked to healthy immune function. This is important for autoimmune conditions like psoriasis and PsA.
Inflammation occurs when your immune system is stressed or overloaded. You may notice an increase in symptoms when you get sick, and this may be why. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help boost your immunity and control inflammation. Vitamin C may also lower your risk for high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and gout.
A study from 2021 found that strawberries may improve vascular health. A 2020 meta-analysis found that adding strawberries to your diet could lead to reductions in C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory marker linked to arthritis and heart disease. Your doctor may check your CRP levels to determine how your psoriatic condition is impacting your overall health.
Along with vitamin C, strawberries also have other anti-inflammatory phytochemicals, like anthocyanin. They are a good source of folic acid as well. Methotrexate, a medication prescribed for severe psoriasis and PsA can deplete your folic acid stores. You may still need to take a folic acid supplement, but including strawberries can help.
Strawberries can be sliced and served on yogurt, cereal, salads, or layered on top of peanut butter on whole-grain toast.
The powerful antioxidant anthocyanins in strawberries can also be found in cherries. Some studies have compared the anti-inflammatory properties of cherries (in the form of tart cherry juice) to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen (Advil). Tart cherries like Montmorency cherries may help with joint pain in people with osteoarthritis.
The anthocyanins and other compounds found in cherries help reduce inflammation by stopping damage from free radicals. An added bonus? A small study of 11 people found that tart cherries may also help you sleep better and longer.
Cherries make great snacks. If you don’t like fussing with the pits, try looking for frozen cherries to add to your smoothies.
Don’t forget about a lunchbox favorite, the apple! A 2021 study looking at people with obesity found those who consumed Gala apples daily over a 6-week period showed decreased levels of C-reactive protein by 17%.
They also experienced decreased IL-6 and IL-17, which are often targeted by biologic therapies used to treat psoriasis and PsA. Apples were also shown to increase the total antioxidant capacity by almost 10%.
Additionally, apples contain soluble fiber, which is good for good bacteria in your gut. This may also help your intestinal lining overall.
Apples are easy to pack in a lunch or work bag and make a wonderful addition to many salads. You can also bake apples and top them with granola for a warm, comforting dessert.
Blueberries are often lauded as one of the most anti-inflammatory foods you can eat. The compounds that give blueberries their signature hue act as antioxidants to reduce inflammation. Studies indicate that eating blueberries may help to:
Blueberries are a great topping for yogurt, smoothies, or cereal and can also be added to salads. You can also try rolling blueberries in your favorite Greek yogurt and then freezing them on parchment paper for a healthy cold snack.
Much has been said about the health benefits of wine, but remember, all wine starts as grapes. Grapes, whether green, red, purple, or black, all contain antioxidants and polyphenols. Red and black grapes also have resveratrol, the compound found in wine that helps the cardiovascular system.
Resveratrol acts on the same targets that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications do. Grapes were also found to improve IL-10 and increase nitric oxide synthase, which helps blood pressure. There’s ongoing research into how resveratrol and other compounds found in grapes may improve arthritis and other diseases.
Grapes are a beautiful addition to a cheese board or can be laid out casually for a healthy, easy, and sweet end to dinner. Try freezing some grapes in a sandwich bag for an edible ice pack that is TSA-friendly at the airport!
Yes, avocados are a fruit. These popular toast toppers are anti-inflammatory powerhouses.
Unlike other fruits, avocados provide plenty of monounsaturated fats (the healthy kind of fat) and vitamin E, as well as fiber. Research shows that the nutrients in avocados can counteract the damage done by unhealthy foods that you eat at the same time. Vitamin E has powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
Research has also shown that eating an avocado a day can increase HDL cholesterol (or the “good” cholesterol) and decrease LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol). And even though avocados are higher in calories than other fruits, studies have found that people who eat avocados regularly tend to maintain healthy weights and have a smaller waist circumference. It’s thought that the fat and fiber in them help you feel satisfied for a longer time.
Mashed avocado is a healthy swap for mayonnaise and can be used similarly in sandwiches or wraps. You can also slice them on toast or add them to your favorite smoothie. And it’s hard to beat classic guacamole!
If you’re looking to improve your health and diet and better manage your symptoms of psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, consider setting up a fruit bowl in your kitchen. Fruit is full of healthy nutrients that can tamp down inflammation and support your immune system. The fiber found in fruit can also help feed healthy gut bacteria, which has been indicated to help manage both conditions.
As you’re shopping, reach for a few of the choices above, as well as any other favorites. Fruit makes a great portable snack, yogurt topping, addition to salads, or can be blended up into a delicious smoothie.
Medically reviewed on July 18, 2023
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