Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition. The major symptoms of eczema are skin irritation, oozing blisters and itchy rashes. Over time, it can also form leathery skin patches. Eczema is the most common condition in children under the age of 2. It is also found in adults and older children. Environmental and hereditary factors may have a role in the development of the disease, but the exact etiology is unknown. Infants who are fully breastfed during the first three months are less likely to develop eczema.
Why do we need to follow a specific Eczema Diet?
Most of the people with eczema are also diagnosed with food allergies. But, each case is different therefore, discovering your personal food requirements is important to reduce issues with eczema and allergies. While not everyone with eczema will have issues with the foods listed below, common food allergies linked to this condition include:
- Cow’s milk
- Soy products
Eating some foods does not appear to cause eczema, although it may trigger a flare-up if you already have the condition.
What are the foods to consider for Eczema Diet?
The foods listed below contain qualities that may help reduce eczema flare-ups, but it’s important to get to know the body and what meals work best for an individual.
Anti-inflammatory foods may help to reduce the symptoms of eczema. This includes the following:
Salmon and herring fishes are fatty fish that help in reducing the symptoms of eczema. Fish oil can also be consumed as they have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and are also considered to be anti-inflammatory. An omega-3 supplement is another best option. So, it is recommended to consume at least 250 mg of omega-3 fatty acids daily.
Quercetin is a flavonoid found in plants. It contributes to the vibrant colour of many flowers, fruits, and vegetables. It also has the properties of antihistamine and an antioxidant. This implies it can lower inflammation and histamine levels in the body.
Certain foods that are rich in quercetin are:
A strong immune system is built while consuming probiotic foods such as yoghurt that helps to reduce allergic reactions and other outbreaks.
Foods that are rich in probiotics are:
- Naturally fermented pickles
- Sourdough bread
- Miso soup (A Japanese soup)
- Soft cheese
- Unpasteurized sauerkraut (Raw cabbage that is fermented)
- Kefir (fermented milk similar to yoghurt made from Kefir grains)
- Tempeh (Made from fermented soybeans)
The finest foods are mostly determined by any food sensitivities the individual may have. Foods that are deemed eczema-friendly may cause an allergic reaction in those who are sensitive to them.
What are the foods to avoid or limit while having eczema?
Certain foods do not directly cause eczema but can trigger the symptoms of eczema. The common foods that cause allergies are:
- Dairy products
Preservatives and artificial substances in foods might aggravate symptoms. Food’s high in trans fats, such as margarine, processed foods, and fast food, fall into this category. Foods that are high in sugar can also trigger eczema because they can increase inflammation.
Products that are high in sugar are:
- Coffee drinks
- Fast foods like burgers
Is there any specific Eczema diet chart to be followed?
Although there is no one-size-fits-all eczema diet, a diet high in antioxidants may help lessen symptoms. Some diet charts are built around principles that may help to manage symptoms:
This diet emphasizes the following foods:
- Olive oil and other healthful fats
- It also contains red wine, which contains the antioxidant quercetin.
In this diet, sugary desserts and red meat can be consumed in limited amounts or totally avoided.
This diet focuses on avoiding meals that cause inflammation and consuming foods that are high in fiber. The following are the foods that can be consumed:
- Whole grains
- Olive oil and other healthy fats
- Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in fish.
Processed foods that are high in chemicals are not advised to include in this diet.
What do you mean by dyshidrotic and elimination diets?
The two diets to be considered apart from the above-mentioned diets are dyshidrotic and elimination diets. The dyshidrotic diet is designed for people who suffer from dyshidrotic eczema. The elimination diet is considered for people who are unsure of their eczema triggers.
Dyshidrotic eczema is a type of eczema that causes tiny blisters on the hands and feet. The cause of this eczema is still unknown. Allergies, such as dietary allergens, may have a role in flare-ups. Nickel and cobalt may aggravate dyshidrotic eczema symptoms. To help decrease outbreaks, the dyshidrotic diet entails eliminating meals that contain certain ingredients.
Nickel and cobalt are found in the following foods:
- Whole wheat and grain
- Baking powder
- Dry fruits
- Canned foods
Vitamin C-rich foods can help minimize absorption of these components, thus a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables may also be beneficial.
For patients who have been diagnosed with food allergies, the elimination diet is suggested. If an individual is not sure what causes eczema flare-ups, try an elimination diet to see if it helps.
Eczema can be triggered by various factors, including stress, topical creams, and the environment. This could make figuring out what’s triggering outbreaks more difficult.
The elimination diet can be started by avoiding certain foods or food groups from the diet for at least three days to check if the flare-ups go away. Remove one specific food or food group at a time for optimal results.
Is it true that consuming gluten-free foods can help?
Celiac disease and eczema seem to go hand in hand for certain people. This is due to the fact that both illnesses share a genetic relationship. Gluten is removed from the diet to treat Celiac disease. If an individual has celiac disease or gluten sensitivity in addition to eczema, eliminating gluten may help the skin condition improve.
Gluten-free food is very popular, and many foods now bear the gluten-free label. Gluten-free alternatives are available for most wheat, rye, and barley items. For example, instead of bread crumbs, potato flakes can be used to coat chicken cutlets, and almond flour can be used instead of wheat flour while baking.
Eczema symptoms can be triggered by a variety of factors, including what we consume. Although there is no single diet that will cure eczema for everyone, a good thumb rule helps to avoid any items that make the symptoms worse. Concentrate on a nutritious diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and lean protein. This could help avoid some, if not all, of the eczema flare-ups.