What Foods Trigger Eczema Flare-Ups

eczema treatmentEczema (atopic dermatitis) is a fiery skin disease. It can cause itchy rashes, oozing blisters, and skin irritation. It can also cause leathery skin patches to appear on the skin.

Eczema is most prevalent in babies and toddlers, but it can also act on older children and adults. Environmental and hereditary triggers may play a role in developing the condition, but its cause is unknown.

Studies suggests that an infant may be less likely to develop eczema if their mother takes probiotics. Infants who only breastfeed during the first three months of their life are also less likely to develop the disease.

Most people who have eczema also have food allergies. But, everyone is different, and discovering your food needs is essential to cut issues with allergies and eczema. Not everyone will have problems with the foods listed below, but typical food allergies associated with atopic dermatitis include:

  • cow’s milk
  • eggs
  • fish
  • gluten
  • nuts
  • shellfish
  • soy products

Eating certain foods don’t appear to cause eczema, although it may trigger a flare-up if you already have the condition. Maintaining a diet is key to managing the condition. Each person with eczema will not have the same reactions or flare-ups to the same foods.

Consuming anti-inflammatory foods may help lessen or reduce eczema symptoms.

Oily Fish

You may be able to curtail your symptoms by eating oily fish, such as herring or salmon. Fish oil has significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. You may also take omega-3 supplements.

In general, you should get at least 250 mg of omega-3 fatty acids daily from food.

Foods with Quercetin

Quercetin is a flavonoid you get from plants. It gives many flowers, fruits, and vegetables their vibrant color. It is also a powerful antihistamine and antioxidant. It can diminish inflammation as well as levels of histamine in your body.

Foods high in quercetin include:

  • apples
  • blueberries
  • broccoli
  • cherries
  • kale
  • spinach

Foods with Probiotics

Probiotic foods contain live cultures that help support a robust immune system. It may help reduce flare-ups or allergic reactions.

Probiotic-rich foods include:

  • kefir
  • miso soup
  • naturally fermented pickles
  • soft cheeses, such as Gouda
  • sourdough bread
  • tempeh
  • unpasteurized sauerkraut
  • yogurt

Your best foods depend on any food allergies you may have. Foods considered safe for eczema may still trigger a flare-up in those who are allergic to them.

Foods to Avoid or Limit

What you eat may not cause eczema, but it can trigger an increase in symptoms. 

Common food allergies include:

  • dairy products
  • eggs
  • nuts
  • soy

Foods with artificial ingredients and preservatives may also exacerbate symptoms, including foods high in trans-fats, such as fast food, margarine, and processed food.

Sugary foods may also lead to flare-ups. Sugar brings about a spike in insulin levels, which can result in inflammation.

Items high in sugar include:

  • cakes
  • fast food items
  • some coffee drinks
  • some smoothies
  • some sodas

Diet Plan for Eczema

There is no one-size-fits-all eczema diet, though eating food rich in antioxidants may help reduce symptoms. Some eating plans follow principles that you may find helpful in reducing your symptoms:

Mediterranean Diet

This diet emphasizes eating of fish, fruits, healthy fats (olive oil), red wine, and vegetables.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

This diet focuses on eliminating foods that increase inflammation. It places a strong emphasis on fish, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Dyshidrotic Diet

Dyshidrotic eczema manifests through tiny blisters on your hands and feet. Like other forms of dermatitis, its origin is unexplained.

Cobalt and nickel may aggravate dyshidrotic eczema. The dyshidrotic diet includes avoiding foods that contain these elements.

Cobalt and nickel are present in:

  • baking powder
  • canned foods
  • chickpeas
  • cocoa
  • dried fruits
  • oat
  • rye
  • soy products
  • whole grain
  • whole wheat

Vitamin C-rich foods can help reduce the absorption of these elements, so eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables may also help.

Elimination Diet

The elimination diet is ideal for people who have food allergies. If you are not sure of your eczema triggers, the elimination diet may help lessen the outbreaks.

There are copious triggers for eczema outside of what you eat, including the environment, stress, and topical products. These factors may make it more difficult to discover the cause of your flare-ups.

If you choose to try the elimination diet, start by removing specific foods from your diet and observe if your flare-ups subside. For best results, try removing one particular food or food group at a time.

Gluten-Free Foods

Celiac disease and eczema seem to be closely associated, which may be due to the genetic link that both disorders have. Treatment for celiac disease includes the removal of gluten from the diet. If you also have celiac disease, you may see a real improvement in your skin if you remove gluten from your diet.

Gluten-free food has become well-known, and many foods are now gluten-free. Most barley, rye, and wheat products now have gluten-free substitutes that you can purchase.


Photo by Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash


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