Foods to Avoid When You Have Atopic Dermatitis

Psoriasis on the body
Eczema on skin. (Image: PAULandLARA/iStock/Getty Images)

Atopic dermatitis, also called eczema, is a condition that causes inflammation, itchy patches, fluid-filled bumps and scales on your skin. It affects roughly 1 to 10 percent of infants, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, and often dissipates during childhood or young adulthood. In addition to positive skin hygiene, avoiding potential triggers and irritants such as harsh soaps, eating a healthy diet and limiting certain foods may help reduce your symptoms.

Fatty Meats

Barbecued Sausages
Sausages are fatty meats. (Image: Joe Gough/iStock/Getty Images)

Fatty meats, such as beef, lamb and sausage, contribute rich amounts of saturated fats, which may promote inflammation. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends that people with atopic dermatitis consume fewer saturated fat sources, including red meat. Try replacing fatty meats in your diet with cold-water fish. The omega-3 fatty acids prevalent in fish such as salmon, tuna, herring and sardines may provide anti-inflammatory properties.

Dairy Products

close-up of a young woman drinking a glass of milk
Milk is a dairy product. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Dairy products, though valuable sources of protein, calcium and vitamin D, may trigger or worsen atopic dermatitis symptoms in some people. According to a report published in "Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics" in January 2008, 20 percent of people with lactose intolerance -- a relatively common food sensitivity -- experience non-digestive symptoms, such as eczema. Like fatty meats, whole milk and high-fat cheeses contribute rich amounts of saturated fat. Try replacing dairy products with soy-based or other nondairy equivalents.

Enriched Flour

Close-up of dry pasta
Pasta has enriched flour. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Enriched flour products, such as white bread and enriched pasta, digest less efficiently and contain fewer nutrients than whole-grain foods. As a result, choosing whole grains over enriched foods may strengthen your immune system and digestive health. Refined foods also contribute to inflammation, according to the UMMC, and may increase dermatitis symptoms. Before purchasing bread, bagels, tortillas, pasta and breakfast cereals, check ingredient lists to ensure that whole grains are listed as main ingredients.

Sugary Sweets

Hard candy, full frame
Candy is a sugary sweet. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Added sugars, such as cane sugar, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, honey and corn syrup, add calories and sweet flavor but few dietary benefits to foods. The UMMC recommends limiting your sugar intake for reduced dermatitis symptoms. To cut back on sugar, drink water, herbal tea or pure juices instead of sugary soft drinks. Add less sugar to your coffee, tea and cereals, or replace sugar with stevia--a plant-based, noncaloric sweetener that provides antioxidant benefits. Other common sources of added sugars include candy, milk chocolate, pancake syrup, frosting, ice cream, jelly and commercially prepared cookies, cakes, pie and pastries.

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