Healing Eczema

Posted on Monday, December 15th, 2008
Written by: Angela, Nutritionist

Clickeats.com is a locally owned website offering a quick and convenient way to search for local cuisine and view the restaurant’s menus, all in one easy location. The advanced search option allows people with food sensitivities to narrow their search results to restaurants who offer sensitivity specific cuisine. The owner, Julia May, contacted me to write a series of articles, focusing on conditions affected by food sensitivities. You can visit the Clickeats.com blog by following this link.  The first article is on Eczema.

Eczema is an inflammatory disease of the skin characterized by redness, itching and small blisters that may weep and crust. Reducing inflammation is the primary goal to healing eczema. About 70% of your immune system surrounds your digestive track. Healing the digestive system should be the first level of treatment for eczema.

To heal the digestive system:

  1. Identify Food Sensitivities: Work with a nutritionist to determine which foods you are sensitive to and need to remove from your diet and more importantly, which foods you can eat and still maintain and improve your nutritional status.

  2. Wheat and Dairy: Remove or greatly reduce wheat and dairy (even if not found to be sensitive, wheat and dairy are known inflammatory foods). Remove other foods that cause inflammation, such as: meat, hot sauces, spicy, fried, fatty or salty foods, alcohol, coffee, and teas or colas that contain caffeine.

  3. A vegan based diet is ideal. You will not have to do this for the rest of your life. This protocol is used to heal the digestive tract and to reduce or remove eczema symptoms. Then you can slowly begin to incorporate a variety of foods into your diet, which may be loosely based on a rotation diet. It is important to do this slowly and to keep a food diary. Record any symptoms that may pop up. Then you can easily identify the culprit and remove it from your diet. Each person will be different. Some may be able to incorporate wheat and dairy again, and some may only be able to bring back dairy, sometimes.

  4. Supplement with omega three. Find a good quality omega 3 (only, no other omegas listed) and take daily with food. This is a fat soluble supplement and will absorb better when taken with food.

  5. Whole foods diet: Replace processed foods with whole foods. If you can picture it growing or if your grandmother would recognize it as food, it is most likely a whole food.

  6. Correct low stomach acid. Even though only 2% of Americans suffer from producing too much acid in the stomach, prescription acid reducers are a 7 billion dollar market.  Contact your doctor to inquire about a Heidelberg Test, which will tell you whether you produce too much, or more likely, if you produce too little stomach acid. Supplementation to correct this problem is inexpensive. Once corrected your digestive system will properly break down food, which will lessen the impact on your intestines, thereby decreasing inflammation in and around your intestines.

  7. Stress management . How we think affects our body and how it processes food. Reducing stress through meditation, walking or yoga/ Pilates will help to reduce inflammation.

  8. Improve sleep cycle: Humans need 8-9 hours of restful sleep a night. If you scoff at this, you are probably in denial. Try to slowly increase the amount of time you sleep each night, in increments of thirty minutes. Even if you are only able to increase your sleep time by thirty minutes overall, this will add up over time. Set a gentle alarm to remind yourself to go to bed thirty minutes earlier. Turn off all electronics one-two hours before you go to bed. A hot bath or shower before bed will also help.

These are just a few ways you can reduce inflammation in your life. To alleviate your eczema symptoms, diet is the first place to focus and will have the greatest long term impact on your symptoms.

Angela Pifer is a Certified Nutritionist, with a MS in nutrition from Bastyr University, in private practice, specializing in food sensitivities, emotional eating, digestive conditions, sports nutrition & weight loss. She founded Nutrition Northwest Co in 2005; the premier provider of sound nutrition and wellness advice in the Northwest with offices in Seattle and Kirkland. Angela has a unique approach to helping her patients create new healthier habits: offering customized nutrition programs that inspire & educate along with a high degree of support & accountability to help them become fit & fabulous from the inside out. 

Categories: Food Sensitivities

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