When it comes to skin health, there are so many factors that can affect it – including diet. In fact, the food you eat can be the difference between a flare up and clear skin. Food is a common eczema trigger with some common culprits being shellfish, peanuts, citrus fruits, and dairy. In this post, we’ll explore the relationship between diet and eczema and share the best anti-inflammatory diet for your skin.
Eczema and Food
Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that affects roughly 10-20% of the population. It causes a person to develop patches of dry, red, itchy skin on their body, most commonly appearing on the face, hands, feet, and back of the knees. It occurs in both babies and adults but typically develops during childhood.
The itchy skin condition can be triggered by a number of factors. Common irritants include house-hold products like soaps and detergents, extreme hot or cold weather conditions, stress, rough fabrics such as wool, and a variety of beauty products. Because eczema develops due to inflammation, food is one of the biggest culprits of the condition.
Foods to Avoid
As eczema is an inflammatory condition, you want to do your best to avoid foods that can trigger inflammation. Here are some common foods that are known to exacerbate eczema symptoms:
Gluten - A reaction to gluten will usually occur minutes after consuming the wheat, but it’s possible, in some cases, that symptoms won’t appear for a couple of hours after consumption.
Nuts - Common nut allergies include almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, and pistachios.
Soy Products - Soy is found in many processed foods including frozen meals, mayonnaise, and vegetable broth.
Eggs - Eggs are hard to avoid as they are found in many products such as cakes, cookies, breads, and pasta.
Citrus Fruits - Eating citrus fruit like lemons, oranges, and limes, or coming into contact with the peeling can cause itching, redness or burning.
- Shellfish - Shellfish to avoid include shrimp, lobster, crab, and prawns. You may also want to avoid other seafood such as oysters, mussels, and squid.
What Diet Helps with Inflammation?
The good news is that many foods can help reduce eczema symptoms while keeping your body well nourished. We recommend foods that are high in probiotics. For example, sourdough bread, tempeh, and miso soup are all great choices. Foods that are high in quercetin are also helpful as quercetin is a powerful antioxidant and antihistamine that can reduce inflammation. Examples include kale, broccoli, spinach, blueberries, and apples.
Fatty fish are another good source of protein that can help decrease inflammation. For example, salmon, trout, and sardines contain high-levels of omega-3 fatty acids which make them a perfect addition to your anti-inflammatory diet. Lastly, try to incorporate more heart-healthy oils into your diet such as olive oil, coconut oil, and flaxseed oil.
Your Eczema Elimination Diet
One of the best ways to relieve eczema is eliminating the triggers that are causing it in the first place. When it comes to diet, this means avoiding eating the foods that are known to make your symptoms worse. Of course, this is easier said than done when you don’t know which foods are causing the reaction. That’s where the eczema elimination diet comes in.
The Eczema Elimination Diet involves avoiding the consumption of foods that are known to make eczema worse for a certain period of time (usually about a month) and then slowly working these foods back into your diet to determine which caused a reaction. Bear in mind that an eczema elimination diet is only a short-term diet. Its aim is to reduce the intake of the triggering food as much as possible. Remember to always seek the advice of a medical professional or a nutritionist before making any dietary changes.