Eczema is a common skin condition that refers to the inflammation of the skin. Also medically referred to as atopic dermatitis, eczema presents itself with red, irritated, and itchy rashes that can sometimes become fluid-filled sores.
While it is a condition that most commonly affects young children under the age of 2, older children, teens, and adults can also develop eczema. Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the development of eczema, but its root cause is still a mystery. Young children who suffer from eczema in infancy tend to outgrow the condition as they move into adulthood.
Interestingly, many individuals with eczema also have a food allergy. The most prevalent food allergies that are connected to eczema appear to be eggs, milk, gluten, shellfish, soy, and nuts.
While eating such foods does not necessarily lead to the development of eczema itself, they do play a role in inciting flare-ups and aggravating symptoms in people with the skin condition. Hence, adopting a diet that is eczema-friendly may be a highly effective preventative measure in controlling symptoms and outbreaks.
Foods to Add to Your Diet If You Have Eczema
Studies show that consuming foods that have natural anti-inflammatory properties can help in managing and easing symptoms of eczema. These are:
Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids
A large number of studies have concluded that fatty fish that contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids such as mackerel, tuna, herring, and salmon can reduce inflammation in the body. If you do not eat fish for any reason, you may also take fish oil supplements instead. For best results, your daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids should be at least 6 grams.
Fruits and vegetables high in quercetin
Quercetin is a flavonoid–an antioxidant–that produces the color of many fruits and vegetables. Also being a potent antioxidant and antihistamine, it is believed to lessen inflammation and lower histamine levels in the body, which is the hormone that triggers allergic reactions. Some of the produce that is rich in quercetin are berries, apples, cherries, and dark-green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale.
An adequate intake of probiotics can both promote healthy gut bacteria and boost immune system function. Moreover, foods high in probiotics such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, and sourdough bread can also lessen the frequency of outbreaks and prevent allergic reactions.
Foods to Keep Out of Your Diet If You Have Eczema
Although the foods you eat do not directly result in eczema, they can play a part in bringing on outbreaks and severe symptoms, which is even more common if you consume a food to which you are allergic or intolerant. Some of the most common food allergens that trigger eczema symptoms include eggs, foods containing dairy, nuts, and soy products.
In some people with eczema, foods that contain additives and artificial flavors can also aggravate symptoms, including processed and fast foods and all types of foods with a high content of trans fats. Foods that contain too much sugar can also lead to eczema outbreaks because sugar hikes up insulin levels, leading to inflammation.