Eczema is a chronic skin condition that can be triggered by various factors, including diet. While there is no one-size-fits-all diet for eczema, certain foods have been found to aggravate or alleviate symptoms, we must remember that atopic dermatitis is not a food allergy, though there may be a connection between the two.
Food to Eat
1. Anti-inflammatory foods: Foods that are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds such as omega-3 fatty acids (fatty fish, flaxseeds), turmeric, ginger, and green leafy vegetables can help reduce inflammation and improve eczema symptoms.
2. Probiotic-rich foods: Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can improve gut health and strengthen the immune system. Foods that are rich in probiotics include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and tempeh.
3. Foods rich in vitamin D: Vitamin D plays a crucial role in skin health and immune function. Foods that are rich in vitamin D include fatty fish (salmon, tuna), egg yolks, mushrooms, and fortified foods (milk, cereal). It is important to note that while diet can play a role in managing eczema symptoms, it is not a substitute for medical treatment. People with eczema should consult with their healthcare provider before making any dietary changes.
Food to Avoid
1. Allergenic foods: People with eczema may be allergic to certain foods such as dairy, eggs, soy, wheat, nuts, and shellfish. These foods can trigger an immune response that leads to inflammation and worsen eczema symptoms.
2. Processed foods: Processed foods are high in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats that can disrupt the gut microbiome and trigger inflammation.
3. Acidic foods: Acidic foods such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and vinegar can cause irritation and itching in people with eczema
Can Elimination Diets Help Treat Eczema?
An elimination diet involves removing certain foods from your diet to help identify the cause of an allergic reaction or other food-related symptoms. You’ll avoid a particular food or ingredient for a few weeks and then monitor your skin for any changes.
If symptoms improve, slowly reintroduce the food into your diet over a few days. If symptoms return, you’ve likely found a trigger.
An elimination diet isn’t only effective for eczema. It’s also helpful for identifying foods that may trigger other conditions, like celiac disease, a gluten intolerance, a lactose intolerance, and irritable bowel syndrome. Research suggests that people with specific food allergies may find some eczema relief by avoiding those foods. But there isn’t much evidence showing that so-called elimination diets — those in which people completely stop eating certain food groups — are effective for eczema relief in general.
Most children eventually outgrow their allergies to milk, eggs, soy, and wheat, allowing them to eat these foods without experiencing eczema flares.
Research suggests that for some people, celiac disease and eczema seem to go hand in hand. This may be because of the genetic link between the disorders. Celiac disease is treated by removing gluten from the diet. If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity in addition to eczema, you may see an improvement in your skin if you eliminate gluten.
Gluten-free food has become very popular, and many foods are now labeled as gluten-free.
Many wheat, rye, and barley products also have gluten-free substitutes available to buy. A little imagination goes a long way here. For example, you can use potato flakes instead of bread crumbs to coat chicken cutlets and almond flour instead of wheat flour for baking.