Eczema is a skin condition caused by an overactive immune system. The skin gets patches of itchy, red inflammation. The patches can get rough, flaky and even blistery.
Many people who have eczema also have food allergies and/or sensitivities. (Learn more about the difference here.)
About 30% of children below 5 years old who are suffering from eczema have at least one food allergy. Interestingly, having eczema also increases your risk of developing food allergies. How does this happen? Researchers aren’t totally sure, but I believe that it is through the gut-skin connection. Everything links back to the health of your gut because of the diversity of bacteria we have there and because it is where both the immune response and inflammatory response largely reside.
Even if you don’t have food allergies, there are foods that worsen eczema and lead to outbreaks.
If you have eczema, the food that you eat might just be the key to either healing you or intensifying your symptoms.
So what are the foods that you should be including in your meals?
Now you’ve heard me say a million times that one-size-doesn’t-fit-all! So I’m going to share some examples with you of some foods that can be great for managing inflammation, but that doesn’t mean that they will be a magic fix for YOU. I’m a proponent of testing & customizing! That being said, here are some great places to start.1. Fatty fish — What’s in fatty fish? Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Salmon, sardines, and mackerel are good choices.
2. Quercetin-rich foods — Quercetin is one of the most common antioxidants found in plants. It is a natural pigment classified as flavanoids that gives plants their vibrant color. Its antioxidant properties can combat inflammation and symptoms of allergies.
Foods that contain quercetin are as follows:
- Citrus Fruits
3. Foods with probiotics — Eczema is linked to a dysfunction of the immune system and characterized by inflammation. Some researchers say that eczema starts in the gut. Your gut is home to millions of helpful microorganisms that keep your gut healthy, and the gut is an extension of the immune system. Thus, when your microbiome in the gut is out of balance, your immune system also starts to behave abnormally.
According to research, people with eczema have less diverse bacteria in their gut microbiome than people who don’t have the condition. That’s likely why probiotics are able to help!
Probiotics are live microorganisms found in foods like yogurt, kefir, fermented foods like sauerkraut and fermented pickles, etc. When ingested, they are added to the microorganisms in your gut and help it function optimally (but they don’t live forever and need to be replaced regularly).
On the other side, here are some foods that are likely to make your symptoms worse:
- Food high in preservatives — Since eczema can be triggered with chemical substances, it is best to avoid eating processed foods and fast food. These are full of preservatives, artificial ingredients, and trans fats that flare up the inflammatory response.
- Sugar-rich foods — Eating lots of sweets can cause your insulin level to go up and this leads to inflammation. If you are craving sweets, that’s a big clue that something needs adjusting in your meal (often, we need more protein to balance our mood and level out cravings, but stress and other feelings can lead to cravings as well).
- Dairy products and other foods that commonly cause allergy — In addition to dairy products, wheat, gluten, eggs, soy, nuts, and citrus (and foods with these ingredients) are common triggers. You can avoid them and see if it helps your skin clear up or there are testing options available if you’d rather go that route.
Overall, what you eat is important on all levels! Today we looked at the link between diet and eczema and some things that you can apply to reduce your inflammatory response.
It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).
Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!~Rebecca