Eczema is a chronic skin condition that involves painful itching and scaling caused by inflammation. Following a special diet may help relieve your eczema symptoms, particularly if you are allergic to certain foods. Talk with your doctor about following an anti-eczema diet before you alter your normal diet.
Video of the Day
What is Eczema?
Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that most commonly affects infants and children but can also affect adults, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. You’re at a higher risk for developing eczema if you or your family members have allergies, if you live in a dry climate or if your skin is exposed to irritants. Stress, harsh soaps and detergents, and pollutants can worsen eczema.
Foods to Avoid
In addition to avoiding allergens and irritants, as well as taking certain anti-inflammatory steroid medications or using special creams, you can also alter your diet to help decrease eczema symptoms. Because allergens can trigger eczema flare-ups, an anti-eczema diet would avoid any common food allergens such as eggs, wheat, nuts, soy and cow’s milk, says the University of Michigan Health System. Citrus, fish, tomatoes and corn can also cause allergic reactions and cause or worsen eczema flare-ups, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. Also, high-sugar and refined or processed foods can stimulate inflammation, along with meats and dairy products containing saturated fats. Coffee may also worsen eczema, so eliminating coffee from your diet may help.
Foods to Add
If you avoid these types of foods and instead add whole grains and fresh vegetables to your diet, you can reduce your eczema symptoms, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Additionally, an anti-eczema diet includes an enrichment of essential fatty acids from nuts, seeds and fish, which can reduce inflammation. Eating yogurts containing the beneficial bacteria known as probiotics can suppress allergic reactions and inflammation, as well as help to support your immune system.
To help treat eczema, you might add certain dietary supplements such as borage oil, vitamin B-12, quercetin and zinc, says the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Like borage oil, evening primrose and fish oil supplements can supply you with additional gamma-linolenic acid, which could help treat eczema, explains the University of Michigan Health System. Other dietary supplements that you could add to your anti-eczema diet include vitamin C, galacto-oligosaccharides and fructo-oligosaccharides, as well as the flavonoids bromelain, catechin, hesperidin and rutin. Consult your doctor before taking any dietary supplement to help treat eczema.
Dietary Prevention Methods
You could help prevent eczema in your child by altering your diet during pregnancy or your infant’s diet postpartum. For example, you could help prevent your child from having eczema if you breastfeed exclusively and limit your baby’s exposure to infant formula, which can contain certain allergenic ingredients such as cow’s milk and other substances, says the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. If you must give your baby formula, choosing a formula that contains all whey protein can reduce the chances of eczema. In addition to breastfeeding, avoiding cow’s milk and certain other highly allergenic foods during pregnancy can reduce your child’s eczema risks, states the University of Maryland Medical Center. Before you alter your diet during pregnancy or change your baby’s diet, talk with your doctor or your child’s pediatrician.