Eczema, otherwise known as atopic dermatitis, is one of the most common skin conditions found in both adults and children. The primary symptoms of eczema are dry and itchy skin, often accompanied by small bumps or redness. While this is not a life-threatening or contagious condition, it can still be uncomfortable.
Fortunately, those who have eczema can take steps to help their skin. Many people have reported improvements in their skin's health just by altering their nutrition. This brief article provides six tips that will help individuals struggling with eczema to fight the condition with their diets.
Tip #1: Stay Hydrated
This first tip might seem like a small one, but adding enough water to your diet can have major benefits for your skin. Although hydrating throughout the day may not directly serve to moisturize dry skin like lotion might, drinking enough water has the potential to help keep your skin smooth from the inside out. Hydration helps your skin retain its flexibility and can work against lasting blemishes that can come from eczema scabs. While the right amount of water varies from person to person, most people require between 11 and 16 cups per day
Tip #2: Check Common Food Allergens
While eczema is not always caused by allergies, food sensitivities can still play a large role in the health of one’s skin. Many eczema sufferers report that their condition worsens when eating common foods such as peanuts, tomatoes, dairy, and soy-based products. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) reports that between 33 and 63 percent of children with eczema also test positive for common food allergies. It may be worth your time to isolate food groups from your regular habits, one at a time so that you can track any changes you notice. In addition, receiving food allergy testing with a medical health professional is often helpful.
Tip #3: Omega-3 Fatty Acids are Your Friend
Because eczema is a type of skin inflammation, foods that have rich anti-inflammatory properties can go a long way towards limiting the condition’s effects. Omega-3 is one substance that is particularly useful in this regard, working to seal moisture in your skin. The compound is naturally occurring in many tasty kinds of seafood such as salmon, shrimp, trout, and oysters. Some people prefer to get their Omega-3 in capsule or liquid form as a supplement. Cod liver oil is one such popular product.
Tip #4: Don't Forget About Probiotics
Probiotics can benefit your skin in the fight against eczema by detoxing and healing damaged areas. But what exactly is this substance, and how do you include it in your diet? Probiotics are living microorganisms that consist of beneficial bacteria. You can find probiotics in foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and cottage cheese. There are even certain beverages that can help you get more of these beneficial cultures as well, such as kombucha and milk kefir.
Tip #5: Enjoy Fruits and Vegetables Rich in Quercetin
The National Eczema Foundation affirms that people who struggle with eczema often have overactive immune systems. Having an overactive system means that when the body comes in contact with certain substances, histamines are reduced which can contribute to eczema breakouts. To combat this, foods that have high levels of quercetin can help. Quercetin works as an antihistamine, controlling your body’s reaction to various substances and thereby reducing eczema flares. Foods such as apples, kale, broccoli, and berries have high quantities of quercetin. Quercetin supplements are also available in capsule form.
Tip #6: Be Careful About Processed, Sugary Foods
If you suffer from eczema and have a sweet tooth, be careful: some people find eliminating sugar to be an effective way of controlling their outbreaks. After enjoying a sweet treat, the sugar in that food enters your bloodstream directly and turns to insulin. Insulin, in turn, damages a substance called collagen that works to keep skin soft. To fight against eczema, then, try eliminating sugar from your diet, or at least reducing the amount of sugar that you consume. When you do this, your skin will be better able to handle eczema because your collagen levels will be natural.
Hopefully, these dietary tips will provide helpful, practical information to those struggling with eczema. Although it may not be possible to eliminate, this condition may be controllable when the proper steps are taken. As always, always consult with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your skin or diet.