Eczema, also referred to as atopic dermatitis, is a group of skin conditions that develop due to inflammation. Symptoms develop on the surface of the skin, causing irritation, itching, and redness, among other issues. The condition has no cure, but one can manage eczema by making healthy lifestyle choices and undergoing appropriate treatment. This includes adding and limiting certain foods and beverages to prevent flare-ups of eczema and improve overall health.

Best foods
Foods rich in omega-3s
Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, seabass, sardines, and herring are the best sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids that have excellent anti-inflammatory properties to counter eczema flare-ups. Omega-3s help fight and manage chronic inflammation, helping reduce the frequency of flare-ups. Vegetarians and vegans can get this nutrient from avocados, edamame, algae, fresh seaweed, assorted nuts, and seeds like chai, hemp, flax, and walnuts. Nutritionists might also recommend fish oil, cod liver oil, krill oil, or special plant-based ALA supplements for vegetarians and vegans. Doctors may recommend changes in meal plans depending on the severity of the inflammation that triggers eczema symptoms.

Fresh fruits and vegetables
Free radicals that damage healthy cells also increase the intensity of inflammatory responses when dealing with conditions like eczema. So, it is necessary to include fruits rich in a compound called quercetin, which has anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants to prevent and fight free radical damage. Apples, assorted berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, oranges, and grapes are all rich sources of quercetin. Free radical damage can also be countered by introducing potent flavonoids in daily nutrition. Flavonoids contain anti-inflammatory properties to fight a number of skin infections and prevent cell damage. Tomatoes, red peppers, soybeans, broccoli, kale, spinach, and cauliflower are all potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich veggies to add to daily meals.

Foods with probiotics
Gut health affects overall immunity and functions required for supporting metabolic activities that govern the body. An imbalance in healthy gut bacteria can trigger serious flare-ups associated with skin disorders like eczema. So, it is necessary to add foods with probiotics like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, kombucha, and kefir that naturally boost gut health. Probiotics counter inflammation and prevent flare-ups from worsening the symptoms of eczema. Those who are lactose intolerant can consider dairy-free probiotics like apple cider vinegar and fermented pickles or vegetables to boost gut bacteria.

Sources of vitamin-D
Vitamin deficiencies are also cited as one of the known triggers of skin inflammatory flare-ups. For example, vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and counter inflammation to boost skin healing for known disorders. Fortified snacks and breakfast cereals, orange juice, and egg yolks are also good sources of vitamin D. Additionally, controlled exposure to sunlight can help boost vitamin D levels in the body to prevent vitamin D deficiency.

Worst foods
Eliminating certain foods and beverages can also help lower the risk of eczema flare-ups. Here are foods to avoid when dealing with the skin condition:

Gluten-based products
Gluten is a protein found in whole grains that some may find difficult to digest. It is one of the top food intolerances diagnosed among children and adults and can further increase the risk of skin disorders like eczema. If one notices a reaction or rash on the skin after eating wheat-based products, it can be a sign of gluten intolerance, which can trigger symptoms of eczema.

Dairy and eggs
Those who are lactose intolerant or even sensitive to dairy should avoid products like milk, cheese, or yogurt simply as they will be unable to digest these items. Further, lactose intolerance increases the risk of inflammation linked to skin disorders like eczema. Some people may develop an allergic reaction to eggs in addition to being lactose intolerant.

Tree nuts
Tree nuts like peanuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, and even walnuts are common food allergens. Nut allergies can trigger a serious inflammatory response that worsens inflammation in those already dealing with a skin disorder like eczema. Visible rashes or hives that develop upon even just one single nut are signs of inflammation, indicating one is allergic or sensitive to nuts.

Soy-based foods
Soy or soy-based condiments are also common food allergens, and those with eczema may want to avoid such foods to prevent flare-ups. Normally, those who are lactose intolerant switch to soy-based foods and beverages. However, soy allergies are also common these days, and most store-bought foods, beverages, and condiments used in daily cooking are laced with some form of soy additive or preservative. Soy allergies develop early among young children and can worsen as one grows.

Citrus fruits
While fruits like oranges and grapefruit are healthy additions to daily meals due to their vitamin C content, one can develop an allergy to their peels or skins. Here, direct contact with the peels of limes, lemons, and oranges can trigger skin inflammation. Dryness, redness, itching, and a burning sensation are the immediate symptoms one may observe. So, when dealing with eczema, one should limit or avoid citrus fruits.

Major changes in daily nutrition should be discussed with a doctor or a certified nutritionist. Eczema is a sensitive skin disorder, so a doctor can recommend appropriate treatment and lifestyle changes to relieve symptoms and manage the condition.