Eat for Your Eczema!

aeshetEczema, Eczema Lifestyle

While diet alone is not the secret to managing eczema, it is one factor you can control that may help you manage eczema flareups. It is confusing to know which diet to try when there are so many diets recommended for people with eczema – dairy free, gluten free, no sugar, no dyes, no yeasty foods, alkaline foods etc. What researchers do know is that some foods are inflammatory and since eczema is an inflammatory skin condition, sticking to a diet that contains foods known to help with inflammation may help you better manage your eczema symptoms.1

When you have eczema, you are all too familiar with the skin irritation, oozing blisters, and itchy, dry rashes that can develop into leathery patches over time. What you may not know, is that you could have food sensitivities or allergies that cause your eczema flareups, and that by identifying and eliminating those foods, you may be better able to better manage your symptoms. Getting tested for food allergies is one way to know which foods to eliminate.

Eczema: Think Anti inflammation

Researchers have been studying the effect of an anti-inflammatory diet such as the Mediterranean diet on many health conditions.2 Experts now recommend a diet that focuses on mindful eating, calorie balance and foods that have each been evaluated for their health benefits:

  • Healthy fats – replace butter with extra virgin or virgin olive oil and canola oil
  • Fruits and vegetables – apples, broccoli, cherries, spinach and kale are good sources of inflammation fighting flavonoids
  • Fish – fatty fish such as salmon, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and mackerel are high in Omega 3 fatty acids, with protective benefits for heart health and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Whole grains – bread, cereal and pasta
  • Moderate amounts of red wine
  • Limit red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Herbs and spices instead of salt – garlic, turmeric, cumin, ginger
  • Low fat dairy – switch to skim milk, fat-free yogurt and low-fat cheese2
  • Foods high in probiotics: Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso soup and other foods that are fermented or that have active cultures are good sources of pre-and-probiotics, which have been reported to be beneficial for people with skin inflammation3

Food to Avoid with Eczema

Not everyone with eczema will have the same reactions or flare ups from the same foods. Some common foods associated with eczema flareups include:

  • cow’s milk
  • eggs
  • soy products
  • gluten
  • nuts
  • fish
  • shellfish3

You should talk with your doctor about your current diet and any patterns you have noticed about specific foods and eczema flareups. Your doctor may recommend you be tested for food allergies or suggest foods you should avoid or include in your diet. You may also want to bring up the anti-inflammatory diet such as the Mediterranean diet and discuss if this would be appropriate for you.