Ever hear the saying you are what you eat? Of course you have. In this high speed age that often lacks patience, it can become convenient to grab food on the go rather than preparing more sensible meals at home.
When you have a health issue, such as eczema, there are several reasons why that lifestyle can become damaging and can even worsen the symptoms of your condition. Making it a matter of convenience for the moment but a lot more stressful and time consuming later.
Food Allergens & Common Reactions To Them
Research has suggested that there is a link between food allergens and eczema flares, although the relationship is complicated. While some may experience a worsening of symptoms by introducing a food allergen into their diet, it appears to really affect infants and children more than adults. However, more severe cases have documented flares in all age populations.
Before making any drastic changes to your diet or adopting an entirely new way of eating, speak to a physician. They will point you in the right direction. It doesn’t hurt to make yourself aware of the common food allergens and reactions, so that if you believe you are experiencing these complications you can make that appointment immediately.
Some common food allergens include:
- Tree Nuts
Peanuts are likely the most common allergen and has the most severe reaction, in some instances it can be fatal. People who sustain an allergen to wheat, are likely experiencing a gluten intolerance and should implement a gluten free diet, under their doctor’s advisement and supervision, to better manage their condition. Food allergy reactions vary but tend to happen within only a few hours of eating the food.
Some common allergic reactions include:
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Difficulty breathing/Anaphylaxis
- Swelling and/or itching of the mouth, throat, lips and tongue
If you are experiencing these types of reactions, it may be in your best interest to see an allergist. An allergist can help you to determine what foods may be triggering these types of reactions, so that you can avoid them in the future. Allergic reactions are not fun and can sometimes be life threatening; however, I want to stress that it is unlikely as an adult, food allergens pose a big threat to triggering your eczema flares.
Eczema Friendly Foods
There are however, several foods that are great for your skin. In an ironic twist, many of the known food allergens prove to be very beneficial when eating for eczema (unless of course you are allergic to them). Eczema is a condition plagued by inflammation; meaning, that a diet that includes anti-inflammatory foods can help in reducing flares.
Some anti-inflammatory foods include:
- Fatty fishes for omega-3 acids including: white albacore tuna, mackerel, salmon, lake trout, sardines and herring.
- Whole grains as opposed to white flours and starches will ensure a healthy fiber intake. Fiber reduces the C- reactive protein in the blood, which is a marker of inflammation.
- Dark, leafy greens.
- Nuts have been documented as reducing inflammation in as little as six weeks, particularly almonds.
- Soy products.
- Low fat dairy products including yogurt that contains probiotics that help reduce inflammation.
- Tomatoes that are a rich red color contain lycopene, which has been proven to reduce inflammation. There is more lycopene in cooked tomatoes than raw; however, it may benefit you to consume both. Tomato sauces and juices will suffice.
- Ginger and turmeric.
- Onions and garlic.
- Olive oil, although be advised this is better left on a salad than applied topically for eczema.
- Berries rich in antioxidants.
While you may experience benefits from eating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, it is important that you only implement this as part of your eczema skin care routine. Eating alone will not clear up this skin disorder. It is imperative that you speak with a licensed dermatologist, especially with cases of greater severity and find a moisturizing skin care regimen and stick with it.
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is an extremely itchy and dry skin disorder. Moisturizing is key in finding an effective treatment that will not only alleviate symptoms but keep them from flaring back up.