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Last Updated on July 20, 2023

Diet plays a crucial role in managing Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) for several reasons. While it’s important to note that diet alone cannot cure HS, making appropriate dietary choices can significantly impact symptom management and overall well-being for individuals with this condition. Here’s why hidradenitis suppurativa diet is important for people with HS

What To Look For In An Optimized Hidradenitis Suppurativa Diet

Inflammation Reduction

HS is characterized by chronic inflammation, which leads to painful and recurring boils. Certain foods, such as processed foods high in refined carbohydrates, unhealthy fats, and artificial additives, can promote inflammation in the body. On the other hand, a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods like fatty fish, leafy greens, and turmeric can help reduce inflammation and alleviate HS symptoms.

Immune System Support

HS is believed to be an autoimmune condition, meaning the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s tissues. Supporting the immune system through proper nutrition is essential for individuals with HS. Including foods that provide immune-boosting nutrients, such as fruits, vegetables, and probiotic-rich foods, can help strengthen the immune system’s response and potentially reduce flare-ups.

Antioxidant Protection

Moreover, HS is associated with oxidative stress, which occurs when there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Free radicals can damage cells and contribute to inflammation. However, consuming foods high in antioxidants, such as berries, colorful vegetables, and green tea, can help neutralize free radicals, protect against oxidative stress, and support skin health.

Whole Foods and Balanced Nutrition

Emphasize a diet based on whole, unprocessed foods. Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Strive for a well-balanced and nutrient-rich diet that provides essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support overall health and immune function.


Furthermore, staying hydrated is important for the Hidradenitis Suppurativa diet, as, it supports skin health. Aim to drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day to support proper skin function.

Gut Health

Emerging research suggests a link between gut health and HS. An imbalance in gut bacteria, known as dysbiosis, may contribute to inflammation and immune dysfunction. Additionally, probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kefir, as well as fiber-rich foods like whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, can promote a healthy gut microbiome and potentially improve HS symptoms.

Identifying Trigger Foods

While trigger foods can vary among individuals with HS, certain foods have been reported to exacerbate symptoms in some cases. These may include dairy products and nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers. By keeping a food diary and eliminating or reducing potential trigger foods, individuals with HS can identify their dietary triggers and make informed choices to minimize flare-ups.

Stress Management

While not directly related to the Hidradenitis Suppurativa diet, stress can trigger or worsen HS symptoms. However, engaging in hobbies and activities you enjoy can help manage stress levels and prevent flare-ups.

What Should Your Hidradenitis Suppurativa Diet Include

Living with Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) can be challenging, as this chronic skin condition causes painful and recurring boils in areas such as the armpits, groin, and buttocks. While there is no cure for HS, making dietary changes can play a crucial role in managing symptoms and supporting the body’s healing process. In this blog, we will explore the key foods that can aid in relieving HS symptoms and promoting overall well-being.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Inflammation is a major component of HS, and incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet can help reduce flare-ups and alleviate discomfort. Some excellent choices include:

  • Fatty Fish

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines possess potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help calm the immune system and reduce inflammation.

  • Turmeric

This vibrant yellow spice contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound. Add turmeric to your meals or enjoy it in the form of golden milk for its beneficial effects.

  • Leafy Greens

Foods like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that combat inflammation. Include them in salads, smoothies, or lightly sauté them as a side dish.

Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Antioxidants play a vital role in promoting skin health and reducing oxidative stress. Moreover, foods with high antioxidant content can help your body fight off free radicals and support healing. Here are some antioxidant-rich foods to include in your HS diet:

  • Berries

Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are bursting with antioxidants that can help neutralize harmful free radicals and promote skin health. Enjoy them as a snack, in smoothies, or on top of yogurt.

  • Colorful Vegetables

Vibrant vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, and tomatoes are excellent sources of antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E. These nutrients aid in skin repair and protect against inflammation.

  • Green Tea

Sip on a cup of green tea daily to benefit from its high levels of catechins, which have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Gut-Healing Foods

There is growing evidence to suggest a connection between gut health and HS. Supporting a healthy gut microbiome may help reduce inflammation and improve HS symptoms. Consider including these gut-healing foods in your hidradenitis suppurativa diet:

  • Probiotic-Rich Foods

Fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kefir contain beneficial bacteria that promote a healthy gut. These probiotics can help balance your gut flora and strengthen your immune system.

  • Fiber-Rich Foods

Whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables are high in fiber, which acts as food for the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Consuming a variety of fiber-rich foods can support a healthy digestive system.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foods to Avoid

While incorporating beneficial foods is important, it’s equally crucial to avoid trigger foods that can exacerbate HS symptoms. Although triggers may vary from person to person, certain foods commonly associated with HS flares include:

  • Processed Foods

Foods high in refined carbohydrates, artificial additives, and unhealthy fats can contribute to inflammation and worsen symptoms. Limit your intake of packaged snacks, sugary treats, and fast food.

  • Dairy Products

Dairy increases inflammation in some individuals. Try removing or reducing dairy products from your hidradenitis suppurativa diet to see if it helps.

  • Nightshade Vegetables

Some individuals with HS report flare-ups after consuming nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers. While this may not apply to everyone, consider eliminating or minimizing these foods to see if it provides relief.

Busting Myths About Hidradenitis Suppurativa Diet

  • Diet can cure Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS)

There is currently no known cure for HS, and diet alone cannot cure the condition. While diet can play a role in managing symptoms and potentially reducing flare-ups, it is important to approach it as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes medical interventions and lifestyle changes.

  • There is a specific Hidradenitis Suppurativa diet that works for everyone.

HS affects individuals differently, and there is no one-size-fits-all hidradenitis suppurativa diet that works for everyone. Each person may have unique triggers and sensitivities, and what works for one person may not work for another. Individuals with HS need to listen to their bodies, keep a food diary, and work with healthcare professionals or registered dietitians who specialize in HS to develop a personalized approach to diet management.

  • Everyone with HS should avoid dairy products and nightshade vegetables.

Individuals with HS may experience flare-ups after consuming dairy products or nightshade vegetables. However, these triggers may not affect all individuals with HS. It is essential to determine personal trigger foods through self-monitoring and working with healthcare professionals or registered dietitians to identify and eliminate specific trigger foods, if necessary.

  • Following a specific Hidradenitis suppurativa diet will guarantee improvement in symptoms.

Even though dietary modifications can alleviate symptoms and reduce flare-ups for some people with HS, they do not guarantee improvement for everyone. HS is a complex condition influenced by various factors, including genetics, hormonal changes, and lifestyle. Dietary changes may have different effects on different individuals, and it may take time and experimentation to find the right approach for managing symptoms.

  • All processed foods should be eliminated from Hidradenitis Suppurativa Diet.

While reducing the consumption of processed foods is beneficial, it is not necessary to eliminate them. While some processed foods having refined carbohydrates, unhealthy fats, and additives may contribute to inflammation, not all processed foods are problematic. However, focus on overall dietary patterns and make choices that prioritize whole, unprocessed foods while allowing for flexibility and balance.


While there is no specific hidradenitis suppurativa diet for managing Hidradenitis Suppurativa, making mindful dietary choices can contribute to symptom relief and overall well-being. Be mindful of incorporating anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich foods into your diet. Moreover, focusing on gut healing can support the body’s healing process and reduce inflammation. Additionally, identifying and avoiding trigger foods can play a significant role in minimizing HS flares. Remember, consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to create a personalized Hidradenitis Suppurativa diet plan that suits your specific needs. By adopting a nourishing diet, you can take control of your health and improve your quality of life while living with Hidradenitis Suppurativa.


MetroBoston Clinical Partners is a well established and experienced research center in the greater Boston area. Under the leadership of qualified physicians and medical professionals, we coordinate a range of clinical research trials in Dermatology and Internal Medicine.

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