Let’s be honest. Everyone’s been on some sort of diet at some point in their life. Maybe you ate cabbage soup for two weeks in hopes of losing weight. Or maybe you drank cayenne pepper smoothies for breakfast because you heard it was a great way to detox. Whatever the reason, diets have a way of slipping into our lives. But have you ever thought about changing your diet for the sake of your eczema? Did you even know that eczema and gut health could be connected?
Let’s Take a Look at the Gut
Your gut – or your gastrointestinal tract, if you want to be fancy – is the long passage that begins at the mouth and goes all the way down to the anus.1 (Why do I feel weird typing that word out in a post about eczema?) It includes parts like your stomach, your small intestine and large intestine and your rectum. Once we chew and swallow food, it travels through our gastrointestinal tract where our body digests the food, absorbing what it wants or needs from it. Anything that isn’t needed is passed out as waste.1
So what does all this have to do with treating eczema? Well, as it turns out there are studies that have found a link between our gut health and the cause and treatment of eczema.2 So much so that it’s been found that what kids eat could actually affect their chances of developing eczema in childhood.2 But don’t start panicking every time you feed your kid a hot dog.
Even though there is still much more research that needs to be done, as a start, the gut microbiome could play an important role in the development of atopic dermatitis because of its effect on our immune system.3
Okay, So What Should I Eat?
If you’re thinking about what to eat in terms of your eczema, as you might have guessed, there isn’t really a simple answer to this question. (Insert frustrated sigh here!) Everyone’s body and skin comes with its own ‘owner’s manual’ and reacts differently to foods. The good news is that there are some common suggestions of what to try. These are things that have worked for other people in improving their gut health which can possibly improve symptoms of eczema.2 What’s even better is that lots of these tips are also good for other health reasons so they are well worth a try.
- Cut out refined sugar where you can2 (this one is the hardest, I promise!)
- Eat more vegetables and a bigger variety of them2
- Eat more fermented foods2
- Limit your intake of alcohol2
- Eat more whole foods and grains2
- Get enough vitamins and nutrients that support the health of your skin
It’s All About Balance
Whether we want to admit it or not, what happens on the inside of our bodies often shows up in some form on the outside. Eat too many carrots and your skin will start to turn orange. Smoke too many cigarettes and your skin will age faster and become saggier. (Never the look we’re going for!) Drink too much alcohol and your skin can become inflamed and dehydrated. It’s no different with eczema. If you’re eating lots of foods that aren’t good for your body or gut, it’s no surprise that you might start to see some consequences of it showing up through your skin.
Play around with introducing healthier options into your diet and see what your skin thinks about it. Don’t forget to keep putting on your Gloves In A Bottle or Skin MD Natural while you’re experimenting with food because your eczema won’t go away in a day. It will still need that hydration and that protection that only a shielding lotion will provide.
And remember, the key word is balance. If you or your kid can’t live without a hot dog on the weekend, then don’t. But try to balance it out with other healthy food choices during the week and hopefully you might experience first hand the link between your eczema and gut health.