Foods to avoid with eczema, (but is it necessary?)

"What are the foods to avoid with eczema?" or "Which foods cause eczema?" are two of the most common questions patients with eczema ask me. The theory that food sensitivities causes eczema is very popular. But is it valid?

In my experience - and I have treated hundreds of eczema patients at my Herbal Skin Clinic - the eczema and food allergies connection is only relevant to very young children, as the onset of such allergies is in the first couple of years of life. If you suspect your baby or child has food allergies, take him or her to a conventional allergist who does skin prick testing, to be sure, and by all means avoid any confirmed food allergies.

Still, this will not, unfortunately, make the eczema go away, but it will prevent dangerous reactions such as tingling and swelling of the lips and tongue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, hives, difficulty breathing, and anaphylactic shock.

However, many eczema sufferers pay for costly "food sensitivities" testing and receive a rather long print-out of foods that they need to avoid. They go on a difficult elimination diet, only to find, several months down the road, and with great disappointment, that it did not help their eczema at all. This is probably because food sensitivities are not true allergies, as they do not involve any immune system reaction such as the release of histamine.

So then, is there an eczema diet?

Yes. There is a certain logic in the idea that there are foods to avoid with eczema, as the experience of patients suggests that some foods may worsen symptoms, even if they are not a true cause.

Over thousands of years of treating skin diseases like eczema, Chinese herbalism recognizes that certain foods should be avoided with eczema, as they can be aggravating to red, inflamed, itchy skin.

Here is the Eczema Diet that I recommend:

Avoid these very "heating" foods, because eczema is already very "Hot" and inflamed:

- spicy food (includes ginger, fresh garlic, hot and black peppers, anything with a sharp, spicy "bite")

- red wine

- all shellfish and fatty fish (including salmon and fish oils)

- mango

- artificial colours, flavours and preservatives


- fresh, clean, food, cooked from scratch

- plenty of leafy greens

- small amounts of flax oil

and remember:

- Eczema and allergies to foods share a common root: the inflammatory reaction of the immune system. This is what needs to be treated for the eczema to disappear. Chinese herbs do this very well. Click here to read more about treatment