Atopic dermatitis, or otherwise known as eczema, is a dermatological condition characterized by dryness and itching as a result of inflammation. According to reports, about 15-30% of children and 2-10% of adults will develop atopic dermatitis. Despite its frequency, the exact causes of atopic dermatitis have not been found.
Moisturizing creams, special detergents, and cosmetic products are the only way to reduce the intensity of the symptoms. Although diet is not a cause of dermatitis, many foods can sometimes aggravate or even relieve symptoms.
What is the role of nutrition in treating eczema?
Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory condition. When the body is threatened, a series of substances and antigens are secreted in order to shield its defense (T-lymphocytes, IgE, etc.). Studies suggest that certain foods, such as nuts, milk, and wheat, may trigger inflammation and thus exacerbate symptoms.
Which foods to avoid
The exacerbation of dermatitis due to food usually occurs within the next 6-24 hours. It is difficult to identify which food is responsible for the exacerbation of the symptoms. However, there are certain foods that are “common suspects”, such as:
- dairy products
- certain nuts
- citrus fruits
- some spices and herbs (vanilla, cinnamon or clove)
Avoiding a certain ingredient, it may improve dermatitis but it is not considered as a cure. You should be aware of any nutritional deficiency that may occur, especially if you stop eating a group of foods, like dairy products. It is advisable to do so, with the help of a specialist and examine a food at a time. The exclusion concerns the removal of an ingredient for 4-6 weeks and then the gradual reintegration into the diet.
Which foods to choose
Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory dermatopathy, that is why people with eczema should incorporate into their diet food with anti-inflammatory effects, in order to compensate for the symptoms of dermatitis.
Omega 3 fatty acids
They are a group of fatty acids that have proven strong anti-inflammatory properties. They are mainly found in oily fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines, as also in plant sources such as flaxseed.
Many times the inflammation is triggered by the intestine. Probiotics-rich foods help restore and maintain bowel health. Many studies have shown that probiotics help reduce systemic inflammation due to certain anti-inflammatory substances they secrete. They are found in foods that have been fermented, such as yogurt, kefir, fermented yeast bread and pickles.
Foods rich in flavonoids
They are a group of compounds found primarily in plant foods, such as berries, blueberries, broccoli, cherries, spinach, and kale, and they are responsible for their intense color. They have strong anti-inflammatory effects and help reduce inflammation.
In conclusion, diet can be an ally towards eczema. Emphasize into foods that strengthen your body’s defense and help you cope with inflammation.