If you suffer from eczema, you're probably aware that common food allergens—like peanuts, dairy, and seafood—can trigger an eczema flare. But food sensitivities can go beyond the obvious list to seemingly healthy diet staples you haven't yet given up. For the top food triggers for eczema, or "the itchy dozen," there’s a list of foods to avoid, and some of the food triggers are quite surprising.
We rounded up some of the top trigger foods for eczema, as well as dietitian-recommended, eczema-safe foods to help you get some relief. Keep reading to find out more below.
How Does Diet Affect Eczema?
If you've ever been recovering from a weekend of alcohol, fast food, and sugary treats, you may know just how important diet is for not just overall health, but your skin as well. Diet can play a significant role in the overall health of our skin. Identifying any food triggers and minimizing inflammation may help minimize eczema symptoms.
Eating more whole foods and consuming less processed foods can aid in reducing inflammation in the body and promote a healthy gut. Eating a healthy diet reduces inflammation and promotes a healthy immune system.
Foods That Can Prevent Flare-Ups
Below are also foods that can help fight eczema, though you should always make sure to listen to your body, as what works for one person may not work for you.
Banana: Because bananas are high in potassium, they can be helpful for those suffering from eczema.
Seeds: Sunflower seeds and almonds are good sources of Vitamin E. Vitamin E has antioxidant properties and may help boost the immune system and reduce swelling.
Beef or Chicken Broth: Make a soup or drink the broth plain, because both beef and chicken broth contain skin-repairing amino acid glycine.
Bell Peppers, Strawberries, and Cauliflower: These ingredients are great because they're rich in Vitamin C. Vitamin C aids in the synthesis of collagen for healthy skin.
Flaxseed Oil: Eczema is dry skin, so moisturize your skin from the inside out with flaxseed oil.
Oats: Oats contain vitamin E, zinc, and silica, which combine to help strengthen your skin.
Salmon: Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation.
Red Cabbage: Even if you don't like cabbage, try to learn to like it. Red cabbage is alkalizing and naturally anti-inflammatory.
Turmeric: This ingredient is recommended as it's known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Try implementing turmeric into your diet by sprinkling it over your meats or vegetables or even mixing it into a tea. Be sure to mix it with black pepper because the active ingredient piperine increases the bioavailability of curcumin.
Oatmeal: Make sure you’re getting in your daily dose of fiber. Fiber can help promote a healthy gut and is mainly found in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Try adding oatmeal to your morning routine as it is a great source of fiber. Boosting gut health can boost your immunity and in return decrease inflammation.
Blueberries: These berries have a high source of quercetin, which is a plant flavonol with antioxidant properties, which may reduce inflammation.
Foods That Can Trigger Flare-Ups
Before sharing the food trigger list, it’s important to note that every person reacts differently. One of the food triggers could cause a bout of itching in one person, yet leave another entirely fine. Tune into your body's signals to take note of particular ingredients you begin to associate with setting off your skin's discomfort. Keeping a food journal could help you identify areas of your diet that could use a tweak.
Potential food triggers for one person may differ for another person and it can be very individualized. There could be food exacerbated eczema in which ingestion of certain foods may cause flare ups. Consult with a health care provider or allergist to inquire about food allergy testing or if a food is an intolerance or causing flare ups. Elimination diets should be used with caution to prevent any nutritional deficiencies.
Of course, avoiding highly processed foods like potato chips, foods high in sugar like cookies and candy bars, as well as fried foods that are rich in trans fat since these can promote inflammation in the body.
Avocado: If eczema is a problem for you, you may want to hold off on that avocado toast. While avocado is a healthy addition to your diet when you don't have eczema, avocado is one of the richest sources of amines and itch-promoting salicylates.
Broccoli: This superfood might come as a big surprise. Broccoli, spinach, silver beet, and kale can worsen eczema symptoms, due to the fact that they are rich sources of itch-promoting salicylates and amines. Instead, try getting your greens from celery and green beans.
Dried Fruit: This snack hosts a range of problematic chemicals, including salicylates, amines, MSG, and sulfites.
Oranges: Both oranges and orange juice are strongly acidic and contain salicylates and amines, which cause itching.
Tomatoes: Like dried fruit, tomatoes contain salicylates, amines, and natural MSG, which are a recipe for itchiness.
Do Any Specific Diet Plans Work for Eczema?
The important thing to note about your diet and eczema is that there really isn't a one-size-fits-all blueprint. Maintaining an overall healthy diet can aid in reducing inflammation. Minimize highly processed foods and focus on eating more whole foods However, if you are looking for a specific diet to try, the Mediterranean diet is recommended.
The Mediterranean diet consists of whole fruits and vegetables, which are good sources of antioxidants, and foods high in omega-3 fats, such as salmon and walnuts, which may aid in anti-inflammation. Diet may influence the inflammation associated with eczema flare-ups so it can be helpful to eat more anti-inflammatory foods and monitor any food triggers.
The Final Takeaway
If you've been dealing with eczema flare-ups and haven't been able to find relief, it might be worth it to take a look at your diet. Consult your doctor before making any major changes to your diet or if you're dealing with severe cases of eczema. And for external skin issues from eczema, Wild Naturals line is formulated specifically for this skin condition, as well as psoriasis.