Atopic dermatitis, commonly referred to as eczema, is a skin condition that results in dry, itchy patches of skin on the body. It is commonly the result of inflammation in the body, and this inflammation is primarily caused by the foods you eat. With that knowledge, it is possible to reduce symptoms and prevent inflammation by eating foods that are considered to be eczema friendly.
There is no known cure for eczema, but over-the-counter creams, ointments, or medications exist to reduce the inflammatory responses. In addition to the prescribed creams, doctors may suggest avoiding specific foods that release inflammation causing T cells and immunoglobulin-E or IGE, an antibody that the body produces when a threat is present. Some of these threats can include nuts, milk, and wheat, all of which have been linked to inflammation.
The road to a body with reduced eczema symptoms is long and ever changing. It can take years to learn how to manage and improve the condition, trying out elimination diets or using holistic approaches with natural ingredients. Your diet, however, is the first place to begin, and that is why we have detailed beneficial foods for eczema and the foods you should avoid in this article.
Beneficial Foods For Eczema
Eczema-safe foods are typically nutrient dense and rich in anti-inflammatory properties that promote skin repair. One can almost compare an eczema diet to an anti-inflammatory diet, because the goal is to avoid foods that induce eczema flair ups.
Probiotics are bacteria that work to promote gut health. They work to increase the amount of healthy bacteria, lessening the amount of harmful bacteria in your microbiome. This can help to reduce inflammation, inhibiting the development of eczema, so consume the following probiotic foods:
- Fermented foods
- Unpasteurized sauerkraut
Foods Rich In Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have been known to fight inflammation and increase circulation in the body. Many Americans are often deficient in omega-3s, and the lack of anti-inflammatory omega-3s in the body contributes to the development of inflammatory conditions like eczema or arthritis. Omega-3 deficiency has also been linked to dry skin and poor skin elasticity, so eat the following omega-3 rich foods to improve skin health:
- Chia Seeds
- Hemp Seeds
- Brussels Sprouts
- Algal Oil
Anti-Inflammatory Fruits And Vegetables
Many raw fruits and vegetables are loaded with anti-inflammatory properties, and they help to reduce the body’s acidity. A more alkalized body can improve immune function and reduce the risk of inflammatory conditions. For those with eczema, it is wise to eat an assortment of colorful fruits and vegetables to obtain inflammation-fighting flavonoids. Some of the best anti-inflammatory foods to eat include:
What To Avoid
When you have eczema, there are specific foods that commonly trigger flare ups, primarily because they are food allergens or contain inflammatory compounds. Food-related eczema reactions will occur between 6-24 hours after eating a particular food, but the reactions can be delayed longer. In order to determine what foods cause eczema reactions, try an elimination diet. You can read more on elimination diets by clicking here. The main foods you should avoid are as follows.
Aside from being eczema triggers, eggs often worsen most skin conditions. People who have allergic reactions to eggs develop increased histamine levels, increasing redness on the skin or triggering skin rashes.
Processed Foods/Junk Foods
Put the fries and chicken strips down, and don’t even think about touching that bag of chips or cookies. Processed foods and junk foods are typically rich in artificial preservatives, flavors, and dyes, all of which can weaken the stomach lining and lead to inflammation, increasing the risk of an eczema flare up.
While it is encouraged to consume fresh fruits and vegetables, specific fruits can trigger reactions based on their salicylate content or amines. The following fruits can sometimes disrupt the chemical balance in people with sensitive systems, leading to itchy symptoms.
Foods Containing Nickel
People who have dyshidrotic eczema, which commonly affects the hands and feet, are encouraged to avoid foods that contain nickel. Depending on where the foods are grown, the soil can contain trace amounts of nickel, which gets absorbed into the food. Foods that contain nickel include:
- Black Tea