Despite its name, ringworm is not caused by a worm or other parasite; instead, it is caused by a fungal infection. It is characterized by red, circular patches on your skin, and can cause itching, blisters and temporary bald patches. Although diet cannot cure ringworm or replace medical treatment, certain foods may help treat or prevent this condition.
Check with your physician before changing your diet to address ringworm.
Vitamin A-Rich Foods
Vitamin A may help boost immune system function, helping your body produce leukocytes that attack and destroy fungi in your body, according to certified nutritional consultant Phyllis Balch, author of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." This may help eliminate skin fungi that contribute to ringworm. Vitamin A is also necessary for the repair of skin tissues, which may help prevent scarring as your skin heals. Vitamin A is found in beef and fish liver, eggs and dairy products. Your body can also produce vitamin A from carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, which is found in carrots, kale, apricots, mustard greens, parsley, spinach and hot peppers.
Add fresh garlic to main dishes, such as casseroles, curries, soups, pastas and stir fry dishes, or to steamed vegetables or dipping oils for breads. Allicin, a chemical found in fresh garlic cloves, may offer antifungal benefits, according to Michael Castleman, author of "The New Healing Herbs." Talk to your physician if you plan to use garlic to treat or prevent ringworm. This food may encourage thinning of your blood.
Vitamin E-Rich Foods
Like vitamin A, vitamin E is a natural immune system enhancer that may help your body fight ringworm-causing fungi, according to Balch. Vitamin E also plays a role in the production of skin tissue, potentially reducing scarring caused by ringworm outbreaks. Olive and sunflower oils, eggs, hazelnuts, lentils, spinach, almonds, sesame seeds and whole-grain breads are abundant sources of natural vitamin E.
Clove is a pungent, slightly sweet spice that is commonly used to flavor Indian dishes and Asian stir fry dishes. Chinese healers have used this spice for medicinal purposes for more than 2,000 years, according to Castleman. Eugenol, the active chemical compound in clove buds, may help destroy fungi that cause ringworm. Consult your physician before adding clove to your diet to address or prevent ringworm. Although side effects are uncommon, clove may cause diarrhea.
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C. et al.; 2010
- "The New Healing Herbs"; Michael Castleman; 2010