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Got Eczema? 10 Foods to Lower Inflammation
Change your diet, change your skin & body
Do you suffer from eczema? Are you having trouble determining the cause of your skin irritation?
If you haven't tried my top 4 suggestions to eliminate eczema, I recommend trying those tips out first. These tips have helped me tremendously in getting rid of the rashes on my body.
If you've found that those tips don't help your skin, or if you find that you still have inflammation, try modifying your diet to lower that inflammation.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation occurs when your immune system is out of control. Inflammation is the activation of the immune system in response to infection, irritation, or injury. It is characterized by an incursion of white blood cells, redness, heat, swelling, pain, and dysfunction of the organs involved.
Besides your eczema, do you also suffer from intestinal bloating, frequent bouts of diarrhea or constipation, gas and pain, heartburn and acid reflux? Those are early signs of an inflamed digestive tract. Chronic inflammation has its roots in the digestive system — its purpose is to eliminate viruses and bacteria in the foods you eat before they infect your body.
If you've identified your allergens, be sure to avoid them as they will definitely be a factor in inflammation. Also take steps to avoid the following foods that have been shown to cause inflammation:
- Polyunsaturated vegetable oils: safflower, sunflower, corn, peanut and soy
- Foods with refined sugars
- Meat including lunch meats, hot dogs and sausages
- Some dairy
- Fried foods, such as french fries
- Processed foods, such as cookies and candy
- "Nightshade" family of plants: tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant
So what can you eat? Try adding the following anti-inflammatory foods to your diet:
- Olive oil
- Flax seed
- Green leafy vegetables
- Berries, especially blueberries and strawberries, which are packed with anti-inflammatory phytochemicals and antioxidants
- Whole grains
It's better to eat fresh foods than processed foods. Stay away from deep fried foods; try baking your food instead. Stop buying boxed meals from the frozen section of the grocery store.
Do you have a farmers market you can visit? I prefer our local farmers market because the food is local, organic and fresh. Make a list of items you want to purchase ahead of time. Consider making a meal for the family made entirely of healthy foods from the market.
Stop and think about what you're eating. Do you really know what's in that meal you're digesting? Do you read labels like I do? It's important to do so because that "all natural" one-minute meal in a box usually has a lot of preservatives which may cause inflammation.
The most important thing is to pay attention to your body to see what causes inflammation and what does not. Of course, if you're allergic to any of the anti-inflammatory foods mentioned on this list, stay away from them. Every person is different, so I suggest tracking the foods you eat as well as how inflamed your skin is after eating.
I recommend using an online food diary such as My Food Diary. Then, once you know foods what causes your skin irritations, avoid them.
You'll probably notice that you'll feel better mentally as well as physically. Why would you want to ever go back to eating inflammatory foods?
I follow the advice of Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
For More Information
To learn more on how to reduce inflammation, read this article from Women to Women.com by Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP.
To learn more about anti-inflammatory foods, read this About.com: Nutrition article by Shereen Jegtvig.
To learn more about me and my struggles with eczema, read my blog, The SKINny Girl.