Kim Kardashian Said Eating a Plant-Based Diet Helps Her Psoriasis — Here's What Experts Think

There's limited scientific research on whether or not diet can help psoriasis symptoms.

Kim Kardashian
Photo: Getty Images

Kim Kardashian has been open in the past about dealing with psoriasis, and she just shared new details about how she manages the autoimmune condition. The 41-year-old reality TV star said she tries to follow a plant-based diet to help control her psoriasis in a new interview for her sister Kourtney Kardashian's website Poosh.

ICYDK, psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes the body to make new skin cells in days rather than weeks, explains the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). The cells pile up on the surface of the skin and can create thick, scaly patches that typically show up on the knees, elbows, lower back, and scalp, notes the AAD. It's important to note that psoriasis isn't just a skin condition. It's also a sign of inflammation in the body that could lead to other diseases, such as psoriatic arthritis (which Kardashian has), cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and mental health concerns, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF).

Eating a plant-based diet is one thing that helps her deal with the condition, Kardashian told Poosh. Although she doesn't get into the specifics of what her diet entails (some consider a plant-based diet to be a plant-based vegan diet, while others consider it a diet based primarily on plants but occasionally including meat and fish), she said she does her "best to stay as plant-based as possible" and "to eat as many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant foods as possible." For her, that includes sea moss smoothies and a favorite: plant-based tacos, she said in the interview. (Read more: Irish Sea Moss Benefits That Make It a Legit Superfood)

So, can switching to a plant-based diet really help with psoriasis symptoms? Research done on the topic has been "inconclusive," says Keri Gans, M.S., R.D., author of The Small Change Diet. For instance, a 2019 scientific review of 63 articles about diet and psoriasis suggests dietary changes alone don't "cause a large effect" in psoriasis. However, some specific diets, including a low calorie diet, a fish oil diet, and a gluten-free diet may help the condition when used along with treatments, such as immunosuppressant drugs. And while the NPF notes there's no diet that can cure psoriasis, it does suggest eating heart healthy foods, such as lean meats, fish, and low-fat dairy products can lessen the severity of symptoms and lower the chances of psoriasis leading to another disease.

"We just don't have a lot of data on using diet to manage psoriasis," says Jessica Cording, M.S., R.D., author of The Little Book of Game-Changers: 50 Healthy Habits For Managing Stress & Anxiety. "There are a lot of known anti-inflammatory benefits to eating some animal products, like oily fish," she points out.

"I don't think there's a lot of validity to eating a plant-based diet to treat psoriasis," says board-certified dermatologist Ife J. Rodney, M.D., F.A.A.D., founding director of Eternal Dermatology Aesthetics and professor of dermatology at Howard University and George Washington University. "Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition, but not all animal-based products are pro-inflammatory," she adds, echoing Cording. What's more, eliminating inflammation from your diet won't necessarily get rid of the inflammation in your body, says Dr. Rodney. "Officially, it sounds great," she admits. "But when you look at the science, it doesn't connect."

Still, if you have psoriasis, there's no harm in looking into how what you eat impacts your symptoms, if at all, according to Dr. Rodney. "If you ever eat a specific food and you think your psoriasis flares afterward, it's possible it could be a trigger in your specific case," she says. Psoriasis triggers are different for everyone but can include stress, skin injuries, illness, weather, and certain foods, according to the NPF.

While Kardashian may notice improvement in her psoriasis symptoms from eating a plant-based diet, experts can't conclude that this may be the case for everyone. However, the entrepreneur can offer words of encouragement to others with the condition. "You have to get to a place where you just feel comfortable and own it," she recently told Poosh. "Be able to realize it's a part of you."

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