So what is eczema?

Distressing, frustrating and (potentially) confidence-crushing, eczema is a skin condition that affects 334 million people globally. Also known as dermatitis, it can require a thorough investigation into all aspects of the patient’s lifestyle. Diet and nutritional deficiencies, stress, medication and family history can play a part in contributing to this condition; but with so many variables, it can be hard for sufferers to see a way through to a solution.

Eating to beat eczema

This article will concentrate on nutrition and the role it can play. We’ll look at foods which can help eczema sufferers, as well as foods to avoid. These foods won’t be accurate for everyone, but the aim is to provide general nutritional advice. Eczema sufferers generally find that certain foods trigger an attack, so a good way to identify trigger foods is to compile a food diary over a period of two weeks. Note down everything you’ve eaten (we mean everything!) and the effect each food had on your symptoms. Remember, the effect can be positive as well as negative.

Eczema No-No Foods

Dairy:

Studies have shown that eczema symptoms greatly improve when these foods are removed or greatly reduced. Foods that should be avoided or cut down on include cow’s milk, cheese, butter and cream.

Alcohol & caffeine:

You should aim to reduce your alcohol consumption, or cut out alcohol altogether, as well as caffeinated drinks such as coffee, regular tea and fizzy drinks.

Preservatives and food additives:

These have been found to trigger eczema attacks. Preservatives are found in ready meals, ready-made sauces, cakes and biscuits.

Sugar:

Sugar can deplete the immune system, so you should aim to cut down on sugary foods and drinks.

Red meat:

Red meat can also aggravate eczema symptoms. Fried and salty foods can cause dehydration, which isn’t good news for dry skin conditions such as eczema

Wheat:

Wheat has also been linked to aggravating eczema symptoms. Some nutritionists recommend following a gluten-free diet for a period of time, before gradually reintroducing gluten-containing foods to your diet.

 

Thumbs-up Eczema Foods:

Fresh fruit and vegetables:

A diet rich in the vitamins and minerals contained within fruits and vegetables will provide you with plenty of fibre and nutrients. You should aim for organic wherever possible, as the use of pesticides can aggravate eczema symptoms.

Water:

Aim to drink 1.5 to 2.0 litres of water a day. This will help to flush out toxins and keep the skin well-hydrated.

Good fats and oils:

Enjoy regular servings of oily fish and/or seeds such as sesame, pumpkin, flaxseeds, and nuts, such as almonds and walnuts. These foods are an excellent source of essential fatty acids, and they have an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin.

Foods high in vitamin E:

Food containing high levels of vitamin E will help to nourish the skin and reduce eczema symptoms. Avocados, nuts, seeds, whole grains and green leafy vegetables are great sources of vitamin E.

Beta-carotene:

This organic, strongly coloured red-orange pigment is an essential nutrient for skin health. This is the vegetable source of vitamin A, and is found in carrots, pumpkins, mangoes and apricots.

Cows’ milk alternatives:

As an alternative to cows’ milk, you can drink almond milk, rice, coconut or oat milk.

Good bacteria:

Research has shown that “good bacteria”, such as acidophilus, can help to reduce the symptoms of eczema. This can be taken as a supplement or by adding live yoghurt to your diet.

 

We hope you found our Eczema Diet article useful, and it gives you some ideas for simple dietary changes you can make to lessen the effects of eczema. Please let us know if you liked this article by rating it at the top of the page.