The first thing you should know is that diet does not cause your eczema, but it can make your symptoms worse or better.
Although the majority of people with eczema are children and teens, adults can have flare-ups too, so it’s important to know your personal triggers to keep your skin healthy and free of itchiness.
- 1 How does diet affect eczema?
- 2 What foods are good for eczema?
- 3 What foods should you avoid?
- 4 What about diets for eczema?
How does diet affect eczema?
This is an inflammatory skin condition that is triggered by environmental factors and may or may not be inherited.
Although there are many things that can cause an eczema flare-up, diet is one that receives a lot of attention. Breakouts can range from small patches of dry skin to itchy patches all over the body that can be intolerable. Outbreaks are different for each person, as are the triggers that can cause them.
The most important point when looking at the link between diet and eczema is the individuality of the trigger. That is, a food that affects one person may not cause a reaction in another, so it is often necessary to try and wrong to find a person’s particular triggers.
What foods are good for eczema?
Since it’s difficult to know which foods may be your personal triggers, one of the best things you can do is eat foods that are good for your overall skin health. This means that you should follow a diet that provides nutrients and hydration that will support the health of your skin and keep it looking its best.
As it is an inflammatory condition, an anti-inflammatory diet is recommended. Anti-inflammatory foods include:
- Olive oil
- Nuts and seeds, including almonds (as long as you are not allergic)
- Dark green leafy vegetables
Foods like salmon , mackerel, and flaxseed are recommended for extra Omega-3 fatty acids during the week. Eating a diet rich in Omega-3 is helpful due to the anti-inflammatory properties of these nutrients.
Other plant-based sources of Omega-3s include chia seeds, walnuts, and edamame .
Foods rich in vitamin C
Foods that contain vitamin C are notoriously good for the skin. Why? Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which means it belongs in the former category of anti-inflammatory foods.
Second, vitamin C is needed to form a healthy skin barrier, which helps retain moisture and prevent dryness and irritation. This study also indicates that people with eczema have lower levels of vitamin C, implying an association between these elements.
Most fruits and vegetables are typically high in vitamin C, including:
- Brussels sprouts
Does drinking water help eczema?
People with eczema have drier skin, but drinking enough water can help keep the skin hydrated.
What foods should you avoid?
When you or your child have eczema or a flare, you may be desperate to find out what the culprit was and get rid of it right away.
Foods you are sensitive to
Although the foods that trigger eczema flare-ups differ from person to person, there are some common culprits to be aware of. According to research from March 2016, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, these include:
The authors of this study caution that understanding the extent of the relationship between food and eczema is critical to treatment.
Minimizing dairy intake can be helpful for some people, as this can be a trigger for some with atopic eczema. And similarly, some patients with atopic dermatitis may have gluten sensitivity.
Eczema is an inflammatory condition, so it is best to cut down on foods that cause inflammation. These foods include:
- Red and processed meats
- Sugary foods, including cereals and beverages
- Fried food
- Elaborate desserts and pastries
Is coffee good for eczema?
Although you can find stories of people who gave up coffee and “cured” their eczema, there does not appear to be any current or credible published research that shows whether coffee or caffeine can help relieve eczema symptoms.
What about diets for eczema?
There is no cure, only treatments to help control symptoms. Diet is often the first option for treatment, and certain diet patterns can help calm inflammation and relieve itching.
The Mediterranean diet is packed with fruits and vegetables and has long been considered a suitable diet to help reduce inflammation.
By following the Mediterranean diet, you will eat fish at least twice a week and you will have a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and olive oil; The latter has been independently shown to reduce inflammation in the body, according to an August 2019 research in nutrients.
An elimination diet is an eating plan that eliminates certain foods or food groups from a person’s diet, with the goal of detecting any food intolerances.
Although this type of diet may seem like the best solution to help relieve eczema symptoms, do so with caution, especially when eliminating foods from a child’s diet. You run the risk of developing nutrient deficiencies if you can’t find an alternative food that contains those removed nutrients.
If you find the offending food that triggers your eczema symptoms and eliminate it from your diet, seek the help of a registered dietitian, who can review your diet and make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need for good health.
Diet for dyshidrotic eczema
Dyshidrotic eczema is a type that causes small, very itchy blisters on the hands and feet.
Because metals, particularly nickel , are a common trigger, people with dyshidrotic eczema may want to avoid or limit foods that contain nickel. These foods include:
- Whole grain
- Cocoa and chocolate
- baking powder
- Soy products
- Red beans
- Legumes (including peas, lentils, peanuts, and chickpeas)
- Dry fruits
- Canned food