Fish and seafood: Oily fish like salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel and sardines have all been implicated in causing eczema flare-ups. While oily fish is generally extremely good for you because it contains the essential omega-3 fatty acids (which have been shown to help to combat depression, cancer and heart disease), these fatty acids can sometimes cause problems for eczema sufferers.
However, there are no hard and fast rules about what particular foods will cause an eczema sufferer problems and which will help them. This is particularly true of omega-3 fatty acids, because in many cases, they can help reduce inflammation in every area of the body rather than causing a problem. As eczema is a condition of skin inflammation, it might indeed be that some people will actually benefit from including omega-3 in their diet, rather than suffer adverse side-effects.
Given the degree of uncertainty, if you want to try including fish oil in your diet to increase the levels of omega-3, you must keep a very close record of your results (remember the elimination diet notion).
I would also recommend that you use supplements rather than trying to eat lots of oily fish. This is because many predator oily fish (those that get the omega-3 from eating other fish, like salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna) also tend to eat lots of toxins at the same time.
As an example, it is increasingly common for salmon and tuna to be very high in mercury and dioxins, so if you want to include larger amounts of omega-3 in your diet, use provably safe supplements to do so.
In this same group, it is also believed that crustaceans such as lobster, crab, prawns and crayfish as well as mollusks (clams, oysters, mussels etc) might be foodstuffs to avoid. In fact, while the jury is probably out on whether eating oily fish is good for someone who suffers from eczema, there can be little doubt that shellfish and crustaceans are almost always a problem for people who have eczema.
Acidic fruits: Research has indicated that including acidic fruits such as cranberries, blueberries and currants will cause an increased level of eczema affected skin production in many sufferers.
Canned or glazed fruits will often cause problems as well, primarily because in the canning or glazing process, artificial preservatives are very commonly used.
Nuts: All ‘true’ nuts like almonds, pistachios, cushion nuts, hazelnuts and walnuts have the ability to make eczema far worse if they are included in your diet.
Peanuts are often believed to cause problems for anyone who has eczema, despite the fact that a peanut is not in fact a nut at all (it’s a legume, similar to beans and peas).
For people who find themselves particularly susceptible to peanuts as a cause of eczema, it is essential that you check processed or pre-packed foods for peanut traces. While the practice of including peanut extract or traces in processed or pre-packed foods has significantly decreased in the past few years, you should still check to make sure anything you eat does not contain peanut residue if peanuts are a big problem.
Eggs: Eggs and other foodstuffs that are either based on or use eggs in the creation or manufacturing process should be avoided as well. As an example, cakes often contain eggs, so cakes should be avoided.
Egg allergies are common, with some sources suggesting that an allergy to eggs and egg materials is one of the most common causes of atopic eczema in children.
Don’t forget the idea of the elimination diet. If you suspect that eggs are causing a problem, cut them out of your diet for a period of time, before reintroducing them a little further down the line. If your eczema problems reappear, you have a much clearer picture of what is causing you difficulties.
Many of the better-known and more commonly used food additives, colorings and preservatives can also cause your eczema to flare-up. It is a fact of modern life that the majority of foods we eat and beverages we drink include preservatives or additives of some description, but as far as possible, you should try to avoid consuming foods or drinks that are laden with chemical additives.
As an example, substances like tartrazine, monosodium glutamate and sodium benzoate are all known to be capable of irritating your system to the extent that you suffer a flare-up of eczema. None of these chemical-based food additives could ever be considered to be natural. It therefore follows that if you are trying to get rid of your eczema problem completely naturally, you should avoid foods with these preservatives or colorings in them.