What are the Most Important Foods to Avoid with Eczema?
If you’re living with atopic dermatitis, diet restrictions are an effective way to manage eczema flares. Probiotics and anti-inflammatory foods such as fatty fish support the immune system, which can help minimize symptoms. There are also several foods to avoid with eczema.
The challenge is that different foods cause flare-ups in different patients. You may experience a strong reaction to dairy while someone else can eat a tub of ice cream without aggravating their symptoms.
To determine which foods to choose and which to avoid, talk to your doctor first and foremost. Your doctor knows your medical history and can guide you safely through an elimination diet.
An elimination diet is a technique for determining which foods to avoid with eczema. The process involves a highly strategic method of adding and eliminating foods gradually. With each new adjustment, you monitor your symptoms for up to six weeks. Any food that triggers a flare-up when added to your diet is a food to avoid. It is also worth noting if eliminating a food causes a reduction in your symptoms.
So, suppose your doctor does encourage you to follow an elimination diet. Which foods will he or she ask you to eliminate?
Again, it depends on the individual. But here are the most common foods to avoid with eczema.
Allergenic Foods to Avoid with Eczema
Many of the most common eczema triggers are also typical food allergies. In fact, while your doctor works to determine which foods cause your flare-ups, he or she may order allergy testing. An allergy test can determine whether you have a definite allergy or sensitivity to specific foods. It’s a fairly easy way to figure out which foods to avoid with eczema.
Common culprits include:
- Citrus fruits
- Cloves or cinnamon
Foods to Avoid with Eczema and Oral Allergy Syndrome
Sometimes eczema coincides with oral allergy syndrome, or OAS. This is a seasonal food allergy that manifests in the throat and mouth. Also known as pollen-food allergy, OAS is not caused by the food itself, but by the remnants of pollen remaining on fruits and vegetables.
If you have both oral allergy syndrome and eczema, the same foods that cause an OAS reaction may trigger an eczema flare as well. You should avoid foods such as:
Consider Avoiding Foods High in Nickel
If you have dyshidrotic eczema, you may be especially vulnerable to foods containing nickel. This type of eczema results in itchy blisters on the hands and feet. Many individuals who suffer from dyshidrotic eczema experience worse flare-ups after consuming nickel-containing foods such as:
- Black tea
- Canned meats
Stay Away from Foods that Promote Inflammation
Dry, itchy skin is—in the simplest terms—a consequence of inflammation in the body. It follows then that some of the most important foods to avoid with eczema are those that promote inflammation. Processed foods and refined sugars are among the worst culprits. You should also stay away from:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Artificial sweeteners
- Artificial colorant
- Trans fats
It will take some experimentation to determine which diet is best for soothing your own eczema. Each body is different, and each condition is different. But with a little patience and some medical guidance, you can begin to cut out some of the triggers you never knew were there.