13 Good Foods for Eczema Sufferers
Today I wanted to have a look at 13 good foods that can help treat eczema naturally.
Eczema, or Atopic Dermatitis, is a condition which causes the skin to become inflamed and irritated. While extremely common in children, still affects around 10% of the adult population totaling over 30 million people in the United States alone.
Sadly, the first line of defense when one displays signs of eczema is the prescription of steroid creams. While temporarily helpful, this medication, like all medication, comes with many potential side effects with prolonged use linked to skin atrophy, adrenal suppression, stunted growth, immune suppression, Cushing syndrome, and addiction to name a few.
The significant role of diet and health is widely known, however is often overlooked when it comes to naturally treating conditions such as eczema.
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Why are organic foods better than non-organic for eczema?
Certified organic food is the term used for the standard of farmed food produced under very strict guidelines. These methods include using only natural substances and other physical or mechanical assistance to raise animals, control weeds and pests, and manage soil quality in the most ethical, natural and healthy way possible.
By comparison, non-organic foods can be produced with the assistance of synthetics such as chemical pesticides, fertilizers, solvents, hormones, antibiotics and so on, with less emphasis on the ethics surrounding the animal, pollution to the local area, and the environment at large.
While there is still some debate over the severity and impact of low doses of pesticides in our food, this idea becomes a little unstuck for those with eczema who are often already overburdened with toxicity.
Our bodies are under constant attack by pathogens, from the air we breathe to the food we eat. This daily bombardment is unfairly taxing for the eczema sufferer as the defunct skin barrier absorbs more allergens than healthy skin, often exacerbating the issue.
This effect is compounding, placing added strain on the body’s filtration and detoxing systems. The key is to eliminate as many environmental toxins as possible and eating organic food is one way to decrease the likelihood of adding to this already toxic overload on the eczema body.
That said, the nutrient content of non-organic fresh produce is still far healthier and superior to processed and refined foods - so if the choice is between eating a piece of cake or eating a non-organic salad to help heal your eczema, the salad will always win!
The Eczema Super Foods
Said to be up to four times as nutrient dense as normal honey, this good quality medicinal honey has superior healing and anti-inflammatory effects on wounds, including those of eczema sufferers.
Manuka honey contains much higher enzyme levels than that of normal honey which create an amazingly strong antibacterial agent known as non-hydrogen peroxide. This property is especially helpful to those suffering from irritation and bacterial infections to help reduce itch and severity of these eczema symptoms when applied topically.
Found in all types of honey, another antibacterial agent called methylglyoxal is also found in substantial proportions in Manuka honey. The higher the strength, the stronger the antibiotic effect and thus when applied topically, can reduce the itching associated with bacterial infected eczema.
Full of B Vitamins, minerals, and amino acids; Manuka honey offers superior and unique internal and external medicinal and nutritional content than that of its standard honey counterparts.
It’s important to understand that sourcing the highest quality animal for your broth is crucial. Choosing only grass fed, (proper) free range, organic, and non-synthetically raised animals means that the broth you make will be of the highest standard whilst not introducing more toxins, hormones, or antibiotics into your system.
Bone broth is very good healing food for the digestive system and eczema due to its plethora of easily absorbed minerals, amino acids, and collagen which work together to help repair the often inflamed and damaged digestive system, as well as reduce systemic inflammation.
When cooking your bone/meat broth, the longer it simmers, the better the quality. Start by adding an organic Apple Cider Vinegar to the cold filtered water to help leach out as much of the goodness from the bones, then let it sit for half an hour before slowly bringing up the heat.
This includes the likes of broccoli, celery, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, watercress, cabbage, arugula, and so on.
Full of antioxidants and a diversity of key inflammation-fighting vitamins, minerals, Omega fatty acids, phytonutrients, carotenoids, and flavonoids to help lower oxidative stress and battle eczema, the cruciferous family of vegetables have shown great results in helping reduce inflammation, as demonstrated in this study.
The good amount of high fiber content found in the cruciferous food family is important in helping eczema by expelling toxins from the system. When the body becomes constipated or is not moving food through quick enough, then toxins can be discharged from the body through other avenues such as the skin.
The active ingredient in this herb is called curcumin, which possesses antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason, Turmeric has been used extensively for treating an array of ailments, including inflammation associated with eczema.
Also packed with beneficial minerals, fiber and Vitamin B6, this medicinal plant can be used not only as a curative food source, but also externally to help heal wounds and reduce the immune response of eczema.
Sauerkraut is the end result of fermenting raw cabbage over a period of weeks, producing strong antioxidants, digestive enzymes, and the favorable probiotic strains needed to help restore your beneficial flora and help heal your body from the inside.
The link between digestive health, food intolerance and inflammation is common in those with eczema, with the resulting imbalance of gut bacteria further exacerbating these issues, requiring replenishment with beneficially restorative food.
Other leafy greens
Inclusive of Alfalfa Sprouts, parsley, chard, amaranth, oregano, and so on.
Leafy greens are a great food for eczema sufferers as they are packed with flavonoids, vitamins, minerals, and are extremely alkalizing, restorative, and beneficial in reducing inflammation.
These nutrient dense plants offer potent, enzyme rich content to help with digestion and nutrient absorption, providing the ability to transform the overall health of the individual, improve the immune system, and nourish the body on a cellular level thus improving skin health.
While purchasing organic leafy greens can be expensive, there are certain types of this good food which are very easy to grow from home.
For example, organic non-cruciferous vegetable seeds are relatively inexpensive (compared to buying the mature plant) and can be grown easily on the windowsill with just water and some cotton wool. Although there are many different types of sprouts, some of the more popular sprouts grown for optimum health include alfalfa and mung bean.
Helps repair cellular damage, produce red blood cells, restore vital anti-inflammatory minerals, carotenoids, and specific enzymes to stimulate glutathione production, which is very restorative for inflammatory skin conditions.
Beets are also jam packed with fiber, folate, Vitamin C, and phytonutrients called betalains which are very unique to the humble beet.
The two most studied betalains, betanin and vulgaxanthin, are richer in beets than other plant source and said to provide superior detox, antioxidant, and importantly, anti-inflammatory support to the body.
One study demonstrates a reduction of tumor growth through inhibiting certain pro-inflammatory enzymes, specifically for colon cancer.
Full of potassium, manganese, Vitamin B1, Vitamin C, and phytonutrients, pineapple offers some strong healing powers which are being employed by many people suffering from inflammatory conditions.
The strong oral enzyme, Bromelain, is the real secret ingredient to pineapple which among many other health advantages, is a known anti-inflammatory and has even been linked to halting the growth of cancer cells.
According to one study, bromelain increased the cytotoxicity of cancer cells, meaning the significant die-off of cancer cells in a rare malignant cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
Bromelain has been used to also treat other illnesses including asthma and allergies, which are closely linked with, and often accompanied by eczema.
While offering significant anti-inflammatory benefits, bromelain also assists in good food digestion and nutrient absorption, which is highly beneficial for the often poorly functioning digestive systems of eczema sufferers.
Including cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, and so on.
This delicious array of fruit is full of the flavonoid quercetin, an antioxidant responsible for helping prevent and delay disease and cell damage within our bodies.
The variation of colors found in berries carry with them various nutritional components, beneficial for healing and reducing inflammation.
Whilst berries offer many advantages for the skin, this good food for eczema sufferers also brings with it a myriad of vitamins and minerals to positively nourish the system while also providing high amounts of fiber to support healthy gut-flora and toxin removal.
The old adage, 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away' is apt when it comes to organic eczema super-foods.
Usually placed first on the dirty dozen list; organic apples are one of the best foods, and lines of defense against illness and inflammatory conditions such as eczema.
Apples contain a tonne of beneficial nutrients including vitamins, minerals, boron, quercetin, pectin, and phytochemicals which all help strengthen the immune system, detoxify the overloaded eczema body, help reduce inflammation, and speed recovery.
One of the lower sugar-content fruits, papaya contains both lycopene and papain which together provide a very powerful antioxidant and digestive aid.
Papaya helps boost skin cell regeneration, immune strength, as well as provide loads of vitamins, minerals, and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Not only can the flesh of this amazing food be consumed for its eczema benefits, but the seeds and skin are also said to offer various medicinal and nutritional support including the treatment of digestive and parasitic issues both internally as well as topically.
Naturally high in antioxidants, protein, Vitamin E, Omega 3, healthy fats, phytonutrients, plant sterols, fiber, vitamins and minerals; walnuts provide wide-spread benefits to the body, immune system, neurology, as well as offering a powerhouse of eczema-fighting advantages to support a healthy functioning skin barrier.
The phenols in walnuts were found to display protective antimicrobial activity as well as possess strong antioxidant capacity. With 90% of this phenol content being located in the waxy outer most part of the shelled nut, it is better to retain and consume this rather than discard.
The anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, quinone juglone, tannin tellimagrandin, and the flavonoid morin are reportedly rare finds in the edible-plant kingdom, yet are bestowed by this good food to help those suffering from eczema.
Due to its high protein and Omega-3 content, walnuts are also an excellent source of nutrition for those utilizing a non-meat diet, and thankfully are easily sourced year-round.
Also known as linseed oil, Flaxseed Oil is comprised of the richest amount of Omega-3 than any other known plant based food source and has been utilized in treating a wide range of skin and body ailments from lupus to eczema.
Omega-3 is unfortunately lacking in western diets, only to be outbalanced by Omega-6 which is beneficial in small amounts, however has been found to exacerbate inflammatory conditions when consumed in high doses. These high doses are unfortunately the common modern-diet standard.
Flaxseed oil contains approximately 50% omega-3, which helps balance out this ratio. The body then readily converts this nutrient into anti-inflammatory prostaglandins, beneficial for eczema.
Classed as an oil, but considered one of many good foods for eczema sufferers.
Dealing with eczema is not always straightforward, and often requires a more holistic approach. That said, changing the diet to better support the body and immune system without feeding inflammation through incorrect dietary choices has provided a huge leap forward for many long-term eczema sufferers.
The good foods for eczema sufferers which I have listed in this article are a general guide for what can help improve eczema symptoms, but they are in no way a definitive list and cannot take into consideration food allergies, intolerance's or the like.
Always research and speak to a medical professional before making any changes to your diet, exercise safety and caution if you are unsure about a new food, and remember to shop ethically and responsibly.
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