Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is a condition in which the skin becomes inflamed. Hardened, abrasive patches form and intense itching and irritation make it an unpleasant experience for the patient. While the cause of eczema is still unknown, it is often experienced alongside hayfever and asthma.
Unfortunately, there are no cures for eczema as yet, despite ongoing research. Many sufferers do claim that a change in diet can do wonders to relieve their symptoms. Sufferers have also observed that particular foods can cause a flare in the severity of the symptoms. Eczema is an immune response to an irritant, unfortunately, it may be impossible to identify the irritant.
A diet that contains whole, organic foods will help to reduce the levels of inflammation, which decreases the severity of the conditions, ultimately allowing the individual to live life in greater comfort. Here are some of the food and eating guidelines recommended by a dermatologist for patients suffering from eczema.
Eating your foods in their most natural state will benefit every aspect of your health, including your eczema. Natural foods have no preservatives and no artificial colouring. Any foods that have been altered from their natural state by a manufacturing process will cause an inflammatory response in the body, which will irritate conditions like eczema. If your diet already consists of whole foods like fruits, vegetables and pasture-raised meats and dairy and your eczema is still intense, you may have underlying food sensitivities. This can be addressed with the help of a medical practitioner.
Whole, organic foods
Fruits, vegetables, and legumes are a great choice for eczema sufferers. That said, fruit should be enjoyed in moderation, as the sugar can trigger a flare in some patients. Organic is better than conventionally grown produce, as the harsh chemicals found in pesticides can be hugely damaging to the body. If your produce is conventionally grown, a basin of water with a cup of apple cider vinegar may help to remove some of the pesticide residues from the food.
Eat fat for fab skin
Omega-rich foods are fantastic at neutralising inflammation and soothing an overactive immune response. Walnuts, almonds, pecans and brazil nuts are also great protein sources but do ensure that nuts aren’t eczema triggers for you first. Grass-fed meats are full of omega 3s and contain anti-inflammatory properties. Other fats you should include in your diet are extra-virgin coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, walnuts, hemp seeds, flaxseed, flax oil, and avocado.
While many people worry that a diet rich in fatty foods will cause weight gain, healthy fats tend to get metabolised by the body as they contain such wonderful components that the body needs. Therefore, they can be referred to as ‘clean burning fats’, they don’t leave ‘exhaust fumes’ in the form of gained weight and toxins because they are utilised by the body. Balance is the key element to any diet.
Protein-rich foods are known for their health benefits, allowing for a steady energy release into the body. Many protein-rich foods can exacerbate inflammation, therefore it is important to select your protein carefully, opting for quality. Soy is one form of protein which is best avoided. Soy typically contains GMOs, which are best avoided by those who suffer from inflammation and associated conditions. Pasture-raised meats are recommended, as well as seafood and wild fish, legumes, and beans.
Spices and herbs
Ginger, turmeric, garlic, cinnamon, basil, and rosemary are all great additions to your diet. Some people find herbs offer a great deal of relief from the symptoms of eczema while others feel no difference. Oolong tea, green tea, and white tea have also been mentioned as being effective in treating the symptoms associated with eczema.
Foods to avoid
Eliminating certain foods on a trial basis can reveal where your eczema trigger lies. Common food triggers include eggs, dairy from cows, soy products, gluten, nuts (especially peanuts), fish, and shellfish.
A well-balanced diet should include a little of everything you enjoy from each food group. Keeping your diet as low in processed foods as possible will have a positive effect on your whole body. Eliminating inflammatory foods will not yield instantaneous and miraculous results, it will be a long-term tool to manage this ongoing condition.
For more guidance, contact Dr. Khoza for a personal evaluation and treatment plan.