Healthy eating is an important aspect of any eczema treatment. It is known that certain common foods can trigger a flare-up of eczema. Examples are peanuts, nuts, eggs, milk, soy and wheat. In fact, almost any food can trigger a reaction, which is why it is important to identify the culprits.
There have been many arguments about whether food and healthy eating have any role to play in the cause of eczema and its treatment. A recent theory is that the underlying causes of eczema are food intolerances, nutritional deficiencies, poor digestion and imbalanced micro flora in the gut. If this is the case, then it is important that the issue of healthy diet be addressed as part of eczema treatment.
Whilst we have discussed foods to avoid from your diet, it is important to know which foods should be included as part of a healthy eating plan. Poor digestive function has been suggested as a possible cause, then it is important to look at foods that can improve the digestive system and overall health.
Unrefined Carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole-meal bread, whole-wheat pasta, bran flakes, porridge oats, potatoes, and bananas are important to sustain energy and provide fiber. Fiber helps in the elimination process.
Fruits and Vegetables should be a large part of your healthy eating diet including plenty of green leafy vegetables. Fruit and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants which are important for healthy skin and strengthening the immune system. It may be worth thinking about buying organic produce to avoid potentially harmful insecticides and herbicides which could trigger eczema.
Protein in the diet is necessary for maintaining and repairing tissues and strengthening your immune system. Good sources of protein can be found in meat, fish, eggs, soy, nuts, seeds, beans and dairy products.
Essential fatty acids (Omega 3 and 6 oils) have been found to improve eczema and other skin conditions. This is because they make hormone-like substances called prostaglandins which regulate inflammation and swelling as well as improving digestion and maintaining healthy skin. Essential fatty acids can be found in oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, tuna and herring. Other good sources are fresh seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower, flaxseed oil and walnuts.
Probiotics contain live bacteria which are thought to be healthy for the digestive system. Their use increases the number of friendly bacteria in the intestines and may reduce allergic reactions by improving digestion. The overuse of antibiotics, exposure to pollution, poor diet and stress are some of the factors which can reduce the level of these beneficial bacteria. If you have poor gut micro flora, you may be prone to symptoms such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, yeast infections and constipation. Several studies have found that probiotics are effective in the treatment of atopic dermatitis. Many yogurt products have probiotics added to them and this could be a great way of taking them. However, if you are allergic to milk products, you can take probiotics in supplement form. Other foods that contain natural probiotics are fermented foods such as miso, tempeh and sauerkraut.
As you have probably noticed, some of the foods mentioned such as milk, eggs and wheat are potential triggers to a flare-up of eczema. If these foods or others cause you problems, then it is important to avoid them and find an alternative.
To sum up, it is important to include healthy eating as part of your eczema treatment. By changing your diet to include healthy foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables and foods rich in omega oils, you will find that healthy eating can be an effective eczema treatment.