Nutritional Support for Dermatitis and Eczema

Dermatitis and eczema are common skin conditions that cause flaking, redness and irritation, especially on the hands, neck and face. They tend to occur on areas of the skin where there are oil producing sebaceous glands and/or hair follicles. The problem is made worse by stress, hormonal imbalance or a build-up of toxins. Eczema can worsen if you scratch affected areas. Chronic eczema leads to patches of unsightly red, hardened skin. People who are susceptible to eczema often have a personal or family history of allergic reactions to foods, pollen, animal fur or other substances.

Many eczema sufferers have (or develop) hay fever or asthma, and their bodies often contain above-normal amounts of histamine, the chemical that triggers an allergic reaction in the skin. Foods containing beta carotene and vitamins C and E help calm the skin, reduce inflammation and itching and counteract histamine.

Tips for Eczema Diet

  • Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant considered by many physicians and nutritionists to aid the treatment of eczema, possibly by enhancing the effects of vitamin A. To help reduce dryness and itchiness, eat plenty of carrots, avocado, spinach, sweet potato, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, herring and anchovies, which all contain beta carotene and vitamin E.
  • Zinc promotes healing and enhances immune-system functioning; it is also needed for the utilization of essential fatty acids (EFAs). Eczema sufferers may benefit from eating foods high in immune-boosting zinc, such as beans, pulses, nuts, pumpkin seeds, beef, lamb and sardines. If you feel your diet does not include some of these foods most days, you may wish to take a daily 15 mg supplement. Do not exceed this dose as high zinc levels make your body more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections.
  • Vitamin C, a natural antihistamine, helps block the inflammatory response to allergens, such as pollen and pet dander that can trigger the intensely itchy rashes associated with eczema. Ensure you get enough histamine-fighting Vitamin C, by eating kiwi fruit, green peppers, cabbage and cauliflower.
  • Try to identify foods that cause allergic reactions. Common culprits include milk, eggs, shellfish, wheat, chocolate, nuts and strawberries. A food elimination diet may help determine what is bothering you. Simply avoid suspect foods for a while and then reintroduce them one by one to see if the problem returns.
  • Eczema sufferers may need to try several supplements before they find one (or more, in combination) that works well for them. Evening primrose oil (capsules, gels or liquid) contains essential fatty acids (EFAs) to revitalize skin and relieve itching and inflammation. Linseed oil contains omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs. Both help alleviate chronic allergic conditions, such as eczema. Fish oil capsules help reduce the inflammation of eczema. Vitamin A helps relieve skin dryness and itchiness. (Pregnant women, or women considering starting a family, shouldn’t exceed 5,000 iu (international units) of vitamin A per day).
  • If zinc is used for longer than a month, take copper supplements too, as zinc supplements can deplete the body’s own store of copper. Grape seed extract is rich in flavonoids, which can inhibit allergic responses, and so helps prevent or relieve itchy eczema flare-ups.
  • If your eczema is made worse by stress, learn a relaxation technique, such as meditation.
A good Cod Liver Oil supplement is essential for all, as it supplies the best, most natural source of vitamins A and D, which are also crucial for immune system support and healthy skin.

Eczema can be reversed by changing the diet you are eating.

Recipe for Treating Eczema and Dermatitis

To help the skin retain moisture, you should include essential fatty acids (EFAs) in your diet. By plumping up the skin with moisture, you will help to combat the dryness caused by conditions such as eczema or dermatitis. There has been some research that suggests people with eczema may have an inability to process EFAs. A lack of EFAs may result in a deficiency of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Speak to your nutritionist or doctor about supplementing your diet with GLA, for example, with evening primrose oil.

EFA Food Recipe. SUNDRIED TOMATOES AND QUINOA Serves 4. Ingredients:25 g/1 oz sundried tomatoes (not oil-packed)225 ml/8 fl oz boiling water2 tbsp olive oil1 medium red onion, finely chopped2 cloves garlic, minced800 g/28 oz shredded Swiss chard˝ tsp salt350 g/11 oz quinoa, rinsed and drained˝ tsp pepper100 g/3 oz salted dry-roasted sunflower seeds60 g/2 oz golden raisins30 g/1 oz Parmesan cheese, gratedInstruction:In a small bowl, combine the sundried tomatoes and boiling water. Let stand until the tomatoes are softened. When softened, thinly slice. In a large non-stick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until the onion is lightly browned. Add the Swiss chard, sprinkle with Ľ teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring.
 Frequently, for 5-7 minutes until the chard is tender. Meanwhile, in a large non-stick frying pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over a medium heat. Add the drained quinoa and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until lightly golden. Add 900 ml/32 fl oz water, the pepper, and remaining Ľ teaspoon of salt and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 12-15 minutes or unit quinoa is tender. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Stir in sunflower seeds, raisins, Parmesan, Swiss chard mixture and sundried tomatoes. Toss with a fork to combine. 


The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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