Did you know your diet can affect your eczema?
Eczema is a tricky skin condition to conquer. The best results come from a holistic approach. External care means quality body care, regular observation and a daily routine that supports your skin’s ability to heal. Internal care includes managing stress, having a good sleep routine, and eating well. As winter approaches, eating might be a bit trickier than usual: celebrations, changes in appetite, and seasonal snacks might have you ditching your good habits.
We’re going to talk about foods to keep in your mealtimes to help with eczema and dry skin, and some anecdotal foods to avoid. Before we plunge into the tips, we acknowledge that while many have had great experiences with eliminating eczema through dietary changes, we don’t claim perfection with any method. It’s important to stay connected to your dermatologist and focus on what works for you. Changes take time, and your unique body deserves its own special approach.
Foods to Consider Avoiding
- Milk products. The protein component of dairy foods can affect the gut, both by causing an allergic reaction in some people, but also by causing non-allergic gut inflammation, which appears to be stronger with the type of protein found in most cows’ milk. However, some people have found that their eczema benefits from eating fermented dairy products that are high in probiotics, like yogurt and kefir. If you try to abstain from milk, do it consistently for at least a month, observing your skin continuously.
- Gluten. Gluten’s connection to eczema is primarily through the gut. Some research suggests that gluten intolerance (such as celiac disease or a wheat allergy) can trigger an immune response which aggravates the skin.
- Nightshade Vegetables. Nightshades are a group of vegetables that include tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes and peppers. They include small amounts of alkaloids, which can increase inflammation that is already present in the body.
- Highly sugary foods. An excess of sugar in the diet also leads to persistent inflammation, which spikes sensitivity and flare-ups. Consider whether you can wean off the sugar in your drinks, desserts, main meals, and snacks. That can mean drinking your coffee a little bit more bitter, and laying off the soft drinks or fast food. Sugar is a boost for us when we’re tired. The energy spike can keep us going during long hours. The most effective way to lose a sugar addiction is actually to make changes that allow you to get adequate rest and sustenance without resorting to a sweet pick-me-up.
Foods to Consider Adding
- Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids. Tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines—you name it. Fish are high in the essential fatty acids that help regulate the skin's oil production, improve balanced hydration, subdue breakouts and minimize signs of ageing.
- Vegetables high in flavonoids. Leafy vegetables, onions, apples, berries, cherries, soybeans, and citrus fruits all help. Phytonutrients like flavonoids have beneficial anti-inflammatory effects and they protect your cells from oxidative damage that can lead to disease.
- Whole grains. Ditch the white bread and go for the whole wheat option, and try to opt for a variety of different grains, until you settle on a mix that seems to leave your skin most rested.
Trust your Body
It’s important to remember that everyone is different. If cutting milk works for you, it may not work for someone else. Our guide is a start to helping you find your own ideal diet. In general, any foods that lead to excessive bloating after consumption or leave you feeling just a bit more irritated and itchy, are the wrong choice. Instead of seeing your skin irritation as a nasty side effect, consider linking it to other patterns in your life. As you build out this mental map of what your body is feeling and how it’s reacting to things, you’ll gain insight into how to make it work better for you.
Discover our eczema collection for effective Skinfood that puts your body in balance.
Brennan, D. (2021, April 8). Nightshade Vegetables: What They Are and Who Should Avoid Them. WebMD. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/diet/what-to-know-about-nightshade-vegetables
Petre, A., & Luo, E. K. (2021, August 12). What's the Relationship Between Gluten and Eczema? Healthline. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/gluten-and-eczema