If you suffer from eczema, you're probably aware that common food allergens—like peanuts, dairy, and seafood—can trigger an eczema flare.
What Is Eczema?
Eczema is a condition where patches of skin become inflamed, itchy, red, cracked, and rough.
But food sensitivities can go beyond the obvious list to seemingly healthy diet staples you haven't yet given up. Nutritionist Karen Fischer, author of The Eczema Diet, who has spoken on the top food triggers for eczema, or "the itchy dozen," shares her list of foods to avoid on Eczema Life, and some of the food triggers are quite surprising. She cites Australian research identifying why "these foods could be the reason your skin is dry, flaky, and incredibly itchy." Fischer has used her particular list of no-no foods to help people who've suffered from eczema for 20 to 40 years finally achieve clear skin. We rounded up some of the top trigger foods for eczema, as well as eczema safe food to help you get some relief.
Eczema Trigger Foods
Before sharing her list on Eczema Life, Fischer notes that every person reacts differently. One of the food triggers above 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. Use Fischer's list as a guide, but listen to your body for the right eating plan for you.
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," says Fischer.
Broccoli: This superfood might come as a big surprise. "Broccoli, spinach, silverbeet, and kale can worsen eczema symptoms," says Fischer, due to the fact that they are rich sources of itch-promoting salicylates and amines. Instead, Fischer suggests getting your greens from celery and green beans.
Dried fruit: This snack hosts a range of "problematic chemicals," says Fischer, 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.
Eczema Safe Foods
There 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.
Beef or chicken broth: Make a soup or drink the broth plain, because both beef and chicken broth contain skin-repairing amino acid glycine.
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.
Red cabbage: Even if you don't like cabbage, try to learn to like it. Red cabbage is alkalizing and naturally anti-inflammatory.